As the fight to legalize marijuana continues in the United States, one of its cannabinoids, cannabidiol (better known as CBD), has managed to make its way into the mainstream. CBD has gained international attention because it is non-intoxicating. In other words, it potentially offers all the medicinal benefits of THC and other weed compounds without the high. As a result, CBD’s popularity as medicine has skyrocketed.
The 2018 Hemp Farming Act will legalize hemp and guarantee the legal sale of CBD to all 50 states, as it will remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. If it passes into law, the CBD industry will receive an enormous boost. As things stand, a report from the Brightfield Group suggests the hemp CBD market will exceed $22 billion by 2022. Its findings assume that the Hemp Farming Act is passed into law because, at present, the CBD industry is worth around $600 million a year.
There’s no question that the industry is growing exponentially, as can be seen by the influx of new products. While CBD oil and capsules remain industry standard offerings, there are plenty of interesting additions such as edibles and topicals. One of the most intriguing is CBD chewing gum, because of its convenience and penchant for discretion.
Jumping on the Bandwagon
A quick search for CBD chewing gum reveals 288,000 searches on Google with brands such as Endoca dominating the search results. According to Endoca, its CBD chewing gum is ideal for first-time users because it is possible to ‘microdose.’ The site maintains that the process of microdosing aids the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by activating the receptors that keep the body in equilibrium.
Certainly, CBD chewing gum is a discreet and easy way to get your daily CBD intake. Endoca says its gum quickly releases CBD through the bloodstream via the mucus membranes in the mouth and throat. A pack of 10 pieces costs €12 (approx. $14), and there is 15mg of CBD per piece. Furthermore, the peppermint flavored gum contains 100 mg of hemp oil per piece. Other ingredients include Xylitol, Chicle gum, and sunflower lecithin from sunflower seeds. Most importantly, the gum is completely organic.
Endoca faces stiff competition in the market. Bhang Hemp Products has released its own version of fresh, mint flavored CBD gum. Each pack contains four pieces of CBD gum, and each piece has 25mg of CBD. At $7.50 per packet, Bhang offers better ‘bang for your buck’ than Endoca.
Chill Gum is yet another option, although it’s significantly more expensive than Endoca or Bhang. You get eight pieces of gum at 10mg of CBD apiece, but a pack costs a whopping $24.95.
How Does CBD Chewing Gum Work?
Endoca is correct in its assertion that CBD gum works by releasing the cannabinoid through the sublingual pathway. However, a lot depends on the gum’s composition and whether the cannabidiol is multi-layered, because layers would result in a more prolonged release. As a consequence, the bioavailability of the gum is controlled by you. If you swallow your saliva, the gum provides the same bioavailability as edibles or other forms of oral administration. If you keep the saliva in your mouth, you benefit from sublingual bioavailability which is better than its oral counterpart. Therefore, you will get the most benefit from CBD chewing gum if you abstain from swallowing saliva for as long as possible.
Is CBD Chewing Gum Effective?
Manufacturers face a variety of issues when trying to create an effective CBD gum. According to Dr. George E. Anastassov, the lead scientist behind the development of CanChew Plus, a popular CBD chewing gum, it is tough to release any cannabinoids from a chewing gum base. He said that the compounds are hard to work with due to a lack of water solubility. CBD binds to the gum base, which makes it difficult to release it.
Anastassov admitted that the company’s first attempt at CBD gum, CanChew, which was released in 2014, was not as effective as he had hoped, despite 14 years of research and development. The problems in releasing CBD from a gum base meant that 50% of the cannabinoid remained in CanChew gum after hours of chewing. CanChew Plus is a significant improvement because it offers 80% of the compound within half an hour of chewing.
Each piece of CanChew Plus gum contains 50 mg of full-spectrum hemp oil and 10mg of CBD. It is also relatively expensive at $69.99 for a 30-piece pack. For individuals suffering from conditions such as anorexia, anxiety, chronic pain, and migraines, the cost isn’t really an issue as long as the product works.
If you consume CBD via capsules or oil, it has to pass through the liver at first before it reaches the bloodstream. A fraction of the cannabidiol is metabolized there which means you immediately lose part of the medication. In theory, CBD chewing gum should enable the cannabinoid to reach the bloodstream without passing through the liver.
Assuming other companies have followed CanChew’s lead and found a way for CBD to be released from its gum base, CBD chewing gum should be even more effective than oils and capsules. If you purchase a premium quality brand, the CBD will get to work within minutes and ensure you feel more relaxed. Typically, the gum will retain its consistency for up to 40 minutes. As a result, you should receive the majority of CBD in each piece.
If you already enjoy chewing gum, purchasing a CBD-infused version makes sense. Most brands sell it in a tasty mint flavor, so you will find it hard to differentiate it from ‘normal’ gum. There isn’t an enormous difference in price between CBD gum and oil these days. CanChew Plus works out at around $23.33 per 100 mg of CBD. For reference, PureKana’s Natural CBD oil costs approximately $18 per 100 mg of CBD. When you account for the better bioavailability in the gum, there is little difference in price point. Bhang’s gum is far cheaper, at $7.50 per 100 mg of CBD.