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DAYE tampons
via Instagram (@meetdaye)

Cannabis tampons are fighting period pain and changing the femcare industry

Daye is part of a new wave of sanitary products bringing period care to heady new heights

Nine out of ten women are affected by period pain, and the industry surrounding our TOMs has, for some time, been trying to do something about it, from electric shocks to psychadelics, and a new femcare company named Daye is exploring pain-relieving menstruation products that use CBD. People have questioned whether CBD oil really helps anxiety, and CBD comes in everything from skincare to bathbombs, peanut butter, and mascara, so why not infuse the V with the C? 

About 80 per cent of people who menstruate suffer from period pains, while 20 per cent experience ovulation pains. Daye’s CBD tampons are on the super-strength side of femcare products already on the market, using 30 per cent full-spectrum CBD to fight off cramps and pains, what they’re claiming is the strongest out there, in the UK at least. Regular over-the-counter painkillers might give some mild relief from period discomfort, but using CBD could be arguably both safer and easier. As your vaginal canal has the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors, it is the fastest way to absorb CBD into the bloodstream. Goodbye paracetamol and a whole bar of Milka, and hello CBD it seems. Daye are the first tampon company to conduct ongoing clinical studies and lab tests.

We spoke with Valentina Milanova, the founder and CEO from Daye, to find out more about the ever-evolving femcare industry and period technology.

What is the mission behind Daye?

Valentina Milanova: We seek to fulfil the needs and values of our key target audience – women and girls. This includes working women, generation Z girls who are having their first periods, and generation Z mothers. We want to be a well balanced, direct-to-consumer brand that also does research on female health.

I think there is something powerful about building a profitable business and then turning those profits into further research. That is particularly true when it comes to combining products for female wellness and female health research. The female health space is under researched and not paid enough attention. That is why we are pushing the boundaries further on everything from STI screenings to vaginal microbiome sequencing to personalised contraceptives. Now we have started making therapeutic tampons that help to stop period discomfort.

How did you come to CBD as a solution for period pain?

Valentina Milanova: The vaginal canal has the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors in the human body are what is used to produce and break down cannabinoids. The human body naturally produces CBD everyday and CBD can be used to help cramping. By applying CBD directly to the area that is cramping means that you can effectively deliver pain-relief.

Do you use Daye tampons like regular tampons?

Valentina Milanova: Yes, you would use the tampons like any regular tampon. It is not that different apart from the fact that it has CBD on top of it. The CBD covers the protective sock over the tampon, which is there to prevent fibre loss. Fibre loss is a really common issue with tampons. It happens from the friction of removing a tampon, where little bits of fibre get left behind in your vaginal canal. The best way to check whether your tampons have fibre loss or not is to soak it for a few seconds in a glass of water. Then you can see the amount of fibre that sheds and gets separated from the body of the tampon.

How do you manufacture your products to make sure they are safe to use?

Valentina Milanova: Everything that you have inside your vagina – plastic or not – will enter your bloodstream eventually, so it is very important to make sure that any fibres used in tampons are sustainable and safe. It might sound very strange but tampons are not sanitised, even though they go inside the human body. We produce our tampons to the same standards as pharmaceuticals so there are no small dust or particles in the air. We also sanitise all our products.

You use patented technology to extract the fibres and CBD, which is exclusive to Daye. What are the benefits of this new technology?

Valentina Milanova: We use patented technology to administer our therapeutic agent. The vaginal canal is the most absorbent part of the human body and through the tampon, this therapeutic agent is constantly pushing against the vaginal canal so that you have continuous relief.

We spend a lot of time choosing our suppliers. Our partner is called PPG Global and they have developed a technology that allows for an extraction of full-spectrum CBD without the THC. First, you have the choice between CBD isolate or full-spectrum. The problem with CBD isolate is that you don’t have the entourage effect, which comes with having CBD combined with CBN, TBG, TB1, and TB2 – these are all of the other cannabinoids found in the hemp flower extract. The thing with full-spectrum is that it comes with small levels of THC – between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent THC. The issue with having THC with your CBD is that it limits the number of people who can use it. Some people have negative reactions to THC, or might have to take drug tests at work, or have cultural apprehension towards THC, or might be under 18 years-old. We didn’t want our product to be limited to certain user categories, which is why we signed an exclusivity agreement with our partner which holds the IP for extracting full-spectrum CBD without THC.

Your tampons have 30 per cent full-spectrum CBD compared to other products on the market which might have only 5 per cent – can you tell me why that is necessary?

Valentina Milanova: We are conducting our research in collaboration with a university in London who test a bunch of the CBD products that you find on the shelves in Boots and Holland & Barret. A lot of them show higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD than what it says on the box. Because we use pharma-grade CBD, we have full control over the quantity of CBD and other cannabinoids. We also have two independent lab tests that are conducted on every single batch of CBD that gets delivered to our facility, implementing safety and precautionary measures.

Because CBD is still a really expensive compound, most companies choose to introduce a negligible trace amount of CBD into their product. We use 30 per cent CBD, which is more than 95 per cent of the products that you are going to find on the UK market today. That ensures that our products are effective and actually have a therapeutic effect.

How do you try to be more environmentally conscious and champion sustainability with your products?

Valentina Milanova: We spent a lot of time choosing the materials that we use in our packaging and we only use bioplastic, compostable plastic, or recycled paper material. We make sure that we know the life cycle of all our packaging materials and that they are as environmentally sustainable as possible. We have a Director of Sustainability that is part of the company full time and we are constantly innovating materials so that we can continuously push out the most environmentally sustainable packaging possible.

We want to make sure that the burden of being environmentally sustainable is not only placed on the consumer but that the brand plays their role too. We also offset the Co2 impact from the manufacturing and delivery of our products through planting trees. Everyone wants to be environmentally sustainable but if you have to make a compromise on the effectiveness of the product or the ease of the consumer experience, it makes it much more difficult. The onus should really be on brands to really stand up and make it easy for consumers to make the right choice.

”We want to make sure that the burden of being environmentally sustainable is not only placed on the consumer but that the brand plays their role too” – Valentina Milanova

How much will the tampons cost, and what is included?

Valentina Milanova: We did a calculation that if you were to purchase CBD from Boots at the lowest price that they offer, you would have to pay £8 per tampon if you were using the same amount of CBD that we use per tampon. We haven’t decided on a price yet because we are launching in October but it will be between £14 and £18 per month. That also includes access to our period tracking app.

Can you tell us more about this app?

Valentina Milanova: It is an educational app and instead of only being focused on when your period and ovulation starts, we also focus on all of the other days in your menstrual cycle. We wanted the app to syncronise your tampon delivery to the first day of your period and allow women to purchase their tampons through the app so they’re never caught short. We also wanted to give them really helpful lifestyle tips on how to make small changes to their day-to-day life, based on where they are in their menstrual cycle. Many people experience hormonal changes but are not very open about them. For example, in the pre-luteal phase, your immune system drops and you may experience feeling less sociable. Usually, women don’t have that kind of information so could become self-derogatory or ask why their bodies feel weak. If you know it is because of a hormonal change that is happening, you are much more informed about your own health and have the tools to look after yourself.

You also have a content platform called Vitals. Could you talk more about this?

Valentina Milanova: The idea behind Vitals is for us to publish information on female health and CBD. We want to educate our consumers about the products we are making but also to spark conversation with OB-GYNs (female health doctors). Those who go on our platform can see regular Q&A sessions with doctors from our network. The whole idea behind Vitals is to democratise good quality research and articles on female health that are written in a way that is understandable, clear, and friendly for the average consumer who doesn’t have a medical degree.

Daye will be on the market in the UK from October 2019