Whoopi Goldberg, the actress and co-host of daytime talk show The View, is launching a new company to sell a centuries-old remedy for women's menstrual pain: marijuana.
Based in San Francisco, Whoopi & Maya is positioned as a by-women, for-women pot edibles business. Goldberg is teaming with cannabis grower and edibles maker Maya Elisabeth, herbalist Alexis Gandara, and pot industry PR company founder Evan Nison on the venture, which will begin selling products in marijuana dispensaries in its home city in April.
"I see cannabis as a step in the direction of new forms of medicine, but it also has its place in history and goes back to Queen Victoria," Goldberg tells Inc. "There are many people trying to get you high. We're just trying to get you comfortable."
The company's products, which are all infused with THC and medicinal herbs such as elderberry, red raspberry leaf, and Guelder-rose, include raw sipping cacao for hot chocolate, a bath salt soak, a body balm for use as a local anesthetic, and a tincture to add to liquids or drop under the tongue. All of the products were developed specifically to relieve menstrual discomfort.
Only a handful of dispensaries will sell Whoopi & Maya products at launch but the founders expect to expand to other stores and new regions over the course of the next year. It will sell non-psychoactive versions of its products made with CBD, a chemical in cannabis that helps reduce inflammation and acts as an anti-convulsant, in states without a legal marijuana market.
Goldberg says she was speaking to her daughter when she came up with the idea for a woman-focused edibles company last year. "We were trying to figure out a product [for menstrual pain] that wasn't full of ingredients with names we couldn't pronounce, and then it hit me." She says she had been using a vape pen with THC oil for her glaucoma, but the more research she did the more she read about THC topical rubs and tinctures.
The founders raised $650,000 from friends and family over the last year to launch the company. All of the pot comes from an all-female-run medical marijuana farm in northern California, which Elisabeth has been involved with since 2008. Goldberg says the company is open to expanding its market beyond solely women, especially as pot sales become legal in more states and the U.S. dispels what she calls "the lie of marijuana being a Schedule I drug" that's as harmful as harder substances such as heroin.
Eventually, Whoopi & Maya also could look to broaden its product lines to other medicinal applications. "Marijuana is like penicillin, Goldberg says. "The amount of things cannabis seems to help is like the amount of things penicillin seems to help."