Maybe it just had to happen. This October, a cannabis-based chewing gum will hit marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, California, Arizona and Washington, D.C. This roll-out will follow on the heels of a dizzying array of home-made pot-based candies, baked goods, honeys, and elixirs – most of which are produced in the local areas where the cannabis shops conduct business. The gum, called Can Chew, is a collaboration of San Diego-based Medical Marijuana Inc., and Can Chew Technologies, a San Diego chewing gum technology company headquartered in the Netherlands.
Can Chew has developed a cannabis chewing gum containing Dronabinol, or THC, for people suffering from Alzheimer’s, appetite loss, multiple sclerosis and nausea. Through their technology, they are able to produce a gum that when chewed, releases fine particles of THC into the oral mucosa – the lining of the mouth – allowing for rapid absorption of the cannabis compound. According to the company, this allows for speedy relief from pain, nausea, tension and loss of appetite. According to Dr. Philip Van Damme of Can Chew, chronic pain sufferers, early and late-stage cancer patients and even anorexics can experience relief with the gum.
Cannabis has steadily emerged as a medicine for the treatment of nausea, glaucoma, pain, and a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cannabis contains potent antioxidant compounds that demonstrate benefits in cases of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV and dementia.
Medical Marijuana Inc., the first publicly held company (MJNA) devoted to cannabis, is positioning itself as the leading corporate innovator in the burgeoning cannabis product marketplace. The alliance with Can Chew is one of five strategic partnerships with entities in the cannabis medicine category. The company is also involved with cannabis cultivation, cannabis-based elixirs, cannabis dispensary retail stores, and additional cannabis medicines in other forms.
However, cannabis is illegal, and even in states where medical marijuana is state-approved, it flies in the face of federal laws regulating pot. Stepping around federal regulations with a mass-market, publicly traded product could prove very tricky. Also, cannabis is not suitable for everybody. Psychotic episodes have been reported among some cannabis users. And a recent study shows that adolescents who smoke pot and continue to do so throughout adulthood actually lose IQ points. So how do you keep Can Chew gum away from minors?
Over time, the public will have access to a broader array of cannabis-based products for various health needs. As with alcohol and prescription drugs, there are thorny issues to sort out about who should, and should not, be chewing pot gum. As local and state enforcement of anti-cannabis laws potentially continue to soften, more numbers of cannabis retail stores and more types of cannabis-based products will hit the U.S. market.
Can Chew is the first retail pot product that isn’t home-grown. Who knows what’s next after cannabis chewing gum. Could Cannabis Cola be far behind?
Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at www.MedicineHunter.com.