Whoopi Goldberg has a new title to add to her EGOT: ganjapreneur.
The comedian and host of The View announced her own official medical marijuana business Tuesday, a joint partnership with award-winning edibles maker Maya Elisabeth. Aptly named “Whoopi & Maya,” the company will sell pot-infused salves and edibles aimed at helping relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
Goldberg, who publicly supports marijuana, was motivated into action by the more than 50 percent of women who experience painful cramps each month—herself included. “When I asked whether there was medicinal cannabis out there to give relief to women with cramps, I was told that would be a ‘niche’ product,” Goldberg told The Daily Beast. “We’re here for that niche, which is made up of half the population.”
The company’s first four products will be available in April, including a “raw sipping chocolate” infused with CBD or THC, a tincture (liquid extract) for “serious discomfort,” a THC-infused bath soak, and a topical rub for localized pain. “Every month women experiences pain and discomfort associated with their period. Cannabis is a wonderful remedy and, combined with other superfoods and medicinal herbs, can provide the type of relief many women need,” said Elisabeth, founder of Om Edibles.
Goldberg isn’t the first celebrity to launch her own cannabis line. Bob Marley’s family made waves in early 2015 when they announced that they would be launching the first ever “luxury cannabis brand,” Marley Natural. Robert “Raffa” Marley, Bob’s son, launched the brand at a star-studded party last month in Los Angeles.
Pot aficionado Snoop Dogg in November launched his brand Merry Jane, which has been dubbed a “pot-flavored lifestyle media platform,” and Willie Nelson is set to open a store this spring in Colorado called Willie’s Reserve. But unlike those ventures, which play to the same recreational market the stars’ music caters to, Goldberg’s company is aimed at those in pain. It’s something the 60-year-old knows all too well.
As a columnist for the The Denver Post’s weed blog The Cannabist, Goldberg has detailed her journey to appreciating marijuana. In her first post, she revealed her struggles with glaucoma, which include splitting headaches. After years of taking Advil daily, she was introduced to vaping, which helped like nothing had before. "I took a sip. It was beautiful. And my pen and I have been together ever since,” she wrote in the column, sweetly headlined “My Vape Pen and I, a Love Story.”
Goldberg said she nicknamed her vape pen “sippy” because of the tiny sips she takes near daily to help with pain. “The vape pen has changed my life. No, I’m not exaggerating,” she wrote. “With each sip comes relief—from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort.” That same relief led Goldberg to found a company that revolved around helping others find the same.
The comedian told The Daily Beast that the female-focused business was inspired by a “lifetime of difficult periods” and the fact that the only products available were “filled with ingredients [I] couldn’t pronounce.” Her goal, she said, is to make Whoopi & Maya the “gold standard” for the medical cannabis industry,” which provides not only therapeutic relief but education to the public.
News of her company comes on the heels of cannabis brand Floria’s launch of a pot-infused vaginal suppository called “Floria Relief.” The company, which gained notoriety for its sexual lubricant (“Floria Pleasure”), was initially praised for the product, aimed at treating menstrual cramps. But as word of the suppository spread, the science community expressed concerns.
In a piece on Live Science, two doctors argued that marijuana products should not be used to treat cramps, stating that aside from one study in the 1800s, there is no proof of its efficacy. “You don’t know what these products contain,” Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, told Live Science. “It’s a mistake to market this, until these agents are studied further.”
Goldberg, who has no plans to explore the vaginal suppository track, took issue with the idea that cannabis shouldn’t be used simply because there is no evidence. “How can you have a male expert tell any woman what works for HER period? Just because they haven’t done the studies does not mean women haven’t been finding relief wherever they can,” she told The Daily Beast. “I can’t say that EVERY woman will find relief from our product, BUT the ones that do will be better for it.”
Cannabis is a Schedule I substance federally, so getting the approval to test it on humans is extremely difficult. But while it may be years before there is science to back up Goldberg’s claims, she says women should be the ones to decide whether to try it. “If you or someone you love has difficult, painful periods, you may find that this helps,” she said. “I want women to know that there might be a solution that will change their lives in a positive way.”