A new cannabis chewing gum developed under a Southern California marijuana company is expected to hit the market in the next few weeks, its makers announced. Unlike most of the candy and edibles at your local dispensary, it doesn't make you high.
In fact, anyone can purchase it — even kids.
At a time when California is preparing for legal recreational pot sales next year under Proposition 64, and when Los Angeles is voting Tuesday on the possible expansion of the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in town, why would anyone want a pot-related product that won't get them baked?
CanChew Plus features cannabidiol or CBD, an active ingredient in cannabis that reportedly has shown promise for treating epileptic seizures, inflammation and psychosis. CanChew gets its CBD from industrial hemp.
"This is not coming from marijuana," the gum's lead scientist, Dr. George E. Anastassov, says. "This has very little or no THC — 11 parts per million. It definitely will not get anybody high, even if you take 10 at once."
As the nation increasingly moves toward legalization of recreational marijuana, as California did in November, Anastassov says his medically oriented product won't become outdated. He argues that the legalization wave will be good for products like his. "Individuals will develop more knowledge about CBD," he says. "These products will be much more desirable."
Troy Meadows, a founding member of the Legion of Bloom, a cannabis product company in the Bay Area, says, "Chewing CBD as a gum would be a good way to deliver fast-acting cannabinoids. There's increased demand for CBD products."
CanChew Plus is the second iteration of Anastassov's CBD gum. The original, CanChew, was unveiled three years ago. Anastassov says the product has undergone 14 years of research and development. Though it's made in the Netherlands, its parent company is San Diego-based Medical Marijuana Inc.
The latest, spearmint-flavored version releases more CBD, Anastassov says. After hours of chewing the original version, 50 percent of the CBD remained in it, he says, while users now will get 80 percent of the compound within 30 minutes of chewing.
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"It's hard to release cannabinoid from a chewing gum base," Anastassov says. "These compounds are very tricky to work with because they're not water-soluble. They bind to the gum base, and it's difficult to release them. It takes quite a bit of sophisticated technology."
There are other cannabis chewing gum products on the market, but Anastassov says his are "the only ones with a patent on CBD in chewing gum."
There's a lot of competition in the CBD market. Other cannabidiol products include water infused with CBD, hemp grown specifically to harvest CBD, and topicals with CBD. Some are available at health and natural food stores like Erewhon.
"CBD helps with stress and helps you relax," says Meadows of the Legion of Bloom. "There's a nice mellowness to the cannabinoid experience."