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If you’re looking for a natural way to spice things up in your sex life

Michele Harrington from Foria and Viola

Source: April Johnston / Courtesy

AND help with women’s wellness around any painful menstrual cramps or other symptoms, there may be a plant-based solution for you.
BOSSIP recently chatted it up with Michele Harrington, who describes herself as a change agent in the cannabis industry, committed to educating the Black community about the medicinal and sexual wellness benefits of CBD products. As an investor and the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Foria Wellness, Michele leads multicultural marketing, influencer brand campaigns and hosts educational events focused on destigmatizing CBD usage for sexual health, wellness, and intimacy. Before joining Foria, Michele was involved in the cannabis industry for almost a decade as the co-owner of Viola Brands, the nation’s first and largest Black-owned multinational cannabis company.

Check out our Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden’s conversation with Michele below:

BOSSIP: Let’s start with what Foria is.

Michele Harrington: We were established in 2014. It’s the first cannabis and hemp brand in the sexual wellness space, so we’ve kind of pioneered there. All organic, plant-based formulas for quality of life – in the bedroom with our intimacy and outside the bedroom with our wellness and our relief, and I think it encompasses every woman in every part of her life because we have, you know as early as when you get your menstrual period to as far back as when you’re going through menopause. These products kind of grow with you, so I think that’s a really big part, that everyone can use them.

Michele Harrington from Foria and Viola

Source: Foria / Courtesy

BOSSIP: I was looking at the salve. Is that a new product?

MH: The salve is amazing, it’s 100% organic. It’s got kava in it, eucalyptus, it’s organic hemp and the full spectrum, and it’s coconut oil-based, so it absorbs into your body really quickly. You can use it on your abdomen to relieve cramps. You can use it after you’ve worked out. That’s the good thing about our CBD, and I always say this. Not every CBD is created equally. Ours is lab tested for purity, for potency, for contaminants. Just so you’re more relaxed to want to try it, because there’s no chemicals in it.

BOSSIP: That’s good to know for the people who may be using, meds for their cramps. I just know I personally would rather use something natural as opposed to meds.

MH: Motrin was created in 1911, and it was one of the first things they created, and it was originally for hiccups and then we started using it for menstruals. We all know that doesn’t work. That in 1911 was the last time something was developed for us, I mean, that’s crazy.

BOSSIP: Absolutely so OK. So I know Foria was created in 2014, but you came on board more recently, right?

MH: I came on board last year and it’s a funny story how I got involved.

My husband came home from a convention and he brought home Foria and he was like, ‘Let’s try this, it’s supposed to like get you all wet,’ and then I’m like — okay, you know I was like, ‘Is it gonna change my pH? Is it gonna get me high?’ I wasn’t as knowledgeable back then on the effects that CBD had, right? So you know, naturally, I was curious. I did my research, and upon finding you know the testimonies on Foria — the testimonies alone will want you to try will have you wanting to try. I tried it, loved it and that’s pretty much it. I fell in love with it and I was like this is a product that needs to be on everyone’s bedside essential. Or in their medicine cabinets. It’s for everyone and I was so passionate about wanting to spread the word you know, on Foria because people don’t know, but more specifically, black and Brown people don’t know that even exists. That there’s relief.

Definitely one of the main reasons I wanted to be a part of Foria is because so many women are living with endometriosis, vaginismus all these different ailments, that they’re living in a perpetual cycle of pain and they don’t know that these products exist. Just last year 75% of women were still experiencing painful sex at some point and 80% of them were experiencing painful menstrual cramps.

When I think about that, I’m like you just gotta use Foria to get you some sort of relief. You can insert our suppositories vaginally or anally depending on where your pain is.

Some people may ask why is it a suppository? Why not take an oral form? When it has to go through your digestive system you’re only getting limited amounts of CBD into your body to where it actually needs to go. If you insert it rectally or vaginally you’re getting whatever dosage, if it’s a 50-milligram suppository versus 100-milligram suppository, you’re getting localized direct relief in those particular areas where you’re having those muscle spasms. I just think that everybody needs to know about it, and I want to shout it from the rooftops.

BOSSIP: No, I absolutely understand, and I’m now that I know that you know there are so many different ways to use it, I’m definitely going to try it this cycle and see how it helps with my period.

MH: There’s such a stigma around CBD and the consumption of it, ’cause people think you’re going to get high or it’s going to dull your senses, but by law, your CBD has to contain less than .03% THC, and in some instances when you have that third-party testing as we do, there’s non-detectable amounts of THC in it. So I just want to put it out there that you’re not going to get high by using these products.

BOSSIP: Are there any plans to make products with higher concentrations of THC?

MH: We initially started with Pleasure, which was like an arousal oil. We started with that, but that has THC in it. But that’s only sold in just in the dispensaries. So when we thought of globally taking over the market, you had to eliminate the THC so that you could ship state to state. For me, I felt like the CBD works better for me as far as the inflammation goes. But in California you can go into the dispensary and get pleasure and try it.

BOSSIP: Do you ever experience any stigma or have people try to shame you? I understand that part of the message of the brand is that we do need to break out of the shaming in our community, but sometimes people are quick to be like, ‘Don’t you have kids, like should you really be talking about sexual wellness?’

MH: I had kids. That’s one of the reasons that I should be talking about it. I mean, should I not talk about sex when I have four children? How did they get here? Absolutely. Like it’s taboo.

The important conversations that we’re supposed to have around sex, we don’t have. I’ve already had to start talking to my daughter who is 11. She got her period at 10. We did something unconventional. It was during COVID, so I set up a Zoom of all my first cousins, my aunts, grandparents, godparents. We had about 15 women on Zoom for her. Everyone talked about their first period experience. It’s such a community. I do things sometimes unconventionally. She was embarrassed at first, but she learned so much in that Zoom call because I had 15 women explaining to her why we do what we do, and how this is supposed to feel, and why we feel these things and she was so more knowledgeable coming out of that Zoom than she was if I just avoided the conversation with her.

BOSSIP: That’s great, especially to be so young, because I remember my first period like yesterday and just the embarrassment…

MH: For me, I feel like my goal with Foria is trying to help uplift the black and Brown community with these products. I’m so passionate about helping educate them on what exactly CBD is and how this plant-based medicine is so beneficial for our health. Helping us stay in homeostasis, you know alleviating stress. My partnership involves onboarding multicultural women as brand ambassadors, offering them an opportunity to invest in Foria, because I think knowledge is so powerful, it’s such a powerful tool, and the best thing you can do is to continuously educate others about the realities of CBD.

Each person we educate is a catalyst, an access catalyst to be able to help change the entire society as a whole over time. The more you know, the better you do, and I just think if we continue to educate people on the benefits and trying to destigmatize what cannabis has become since the early 1900s, when it was criminalized, you know it’s just kind of trying to transform that way of thinking. If we do that, this market has a trajectory of reaching $123 billion by 2027. As long as we continue to change that narrative.

BOSSIP: OK, so I’m not going to hold you for much longer, but I did want to ask you just about working with your husband. What’s it like working together?

MH: It’s funny. We don’t see eye to eye on certain things, sometimes we may need that third-party mediation to come in because sometimes we’re saying the same exact thing, but we’re saying them differently and we can’t get out of each other’s way. But for the most part, it’s been amazing, because we’ve been together since we were 19. Neither one of us knew what lay ahead, that we would be together 22 years later and have four children together. But I just think as a couple, as long as you continue to grow and keep holding that other person accountable and lifting that other person up, you’re going to have success, and with us, we work well together because I know him so well, that I know when to apply pressure and I know when to pull back.

BOSSIP: How does it compare to when he was playing basketball? I’m sure that was harder because you guys were away from each other more.

MH: What’s surprising is, that this business has been so much more demanding, more so than basketball even was he was gone. You know — 82 games, he may be gone for a week at a time, but it’s a set schedule. With this business, he’s a multistate operator so he has to fly to other locations when something’s going on. He has to fly to Detroit. He may have to fly to Portland. He may have to go back to Denver. So he’s constantly flying around.

Right now it’s been two weeks he’s been gone because something came up in Detroit and he had to fly out there, make store visits, retrain some of the staff. I tell him all the time, when we were in basketball, you know we decided to wait towards the end of his career to have children so that he could be present. And then you only get a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time with basketball, and I think that’s what people forget. They think, ‘Oh, you’re making all these millions of dollars,’ but you have to have that money last you the rest of your life. And if you are used to living a certain lifestyle, you can’t keep depleting from your account. You have to continue to add to it too. So it was only natural that we started these businesses. So I can’t complain because it’s our breadwinner, but at the same time, you know, now we’ve just started incorporating trips together and trips with the kids when he does have to take those trips to Detroit or Portland, or Atlanta. When he has to take those trips, sometimes the family just comes along now.

For more information about Foria visit Michele’s blog HERE


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