CanChew Cannabinoid chewing gum is coming

Marijuana is an incredibly important and often life-changing medication for people who suffer a variety of ailments, from pain, nausea and vomiting, to anxiety, migraines, menstrual cramps, glaucoma, cancer, anorexia, and for just plain relaxation.

Marijuana is one of the most versatile medications on the planet, effective without needing to be chemically altered like most plant-derived medications. However, for the sickest patients, smoking marijuana, or even eating cannabis-filled foods, may be difficult or impossible. There are also a number of patients who do not wish to receive the “high” that comes along with consumption of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Some strains of marijuana contain lower levels of THC and higher levels of the other main “active” ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD), but what if there was a product that contained just the CBD without the THC? Patients who wish to receive relief from the previously-mentioned conditions but do not wish to get “high” may want to pay attention to a new product set to be launched worldwide in early 2013: CanChew(TM) CBD chewing gum, made entirely from concentrated hemp oil rather than marijuana, and containing enough CBD to provide relief from a variety of symptoms.

Chewing gum medication can be especially effective; studies have shown that oral/mucosal delivery is one of the most effective ways to take medication. When you swallow a pill, the medication is absorbed by the intestinal lining, and goes through several bodily “filters” before getting to your brain, where it can effect you. Oral/mucosal delivery of medications bypasses most of these filters, so bioavailability of active ingredients in chewing gum, dissolvable pills, tinctures is much higher than in swallowed pills — up to 90 percent.

While often (wrongly) associated with THC-rich marijuana, hemp is an ecologically-friendly, sustainable, versatile plant which can be used for everything from clothing to food. The oil that hemp produces is an incredibly valuable food/supplement and is considered a “complete protein,” containing all 21 of the amino acids, and containing almost as much protein as soy, but without the genetically-modified ingredients.

Hemp contains less than 0.3 percent THC, certain strains of hemp can have as much as 15 to 20 percent CBD. While both chemicals both occur naturally in marijuana, with percentages of each depending on the strain and growing method, they have very different properties, and in many ways THC and CBD can actually counteract one another.

While some patients find that THC, in high levels, can cause anxiety (though rare), CBD typically shows strong anti-anxiety effects, similar in high concentrations to medications like diazepam, alprazolam, and other benzodiazepines, which are often prescribed for anxiety and panic conditions.

In fact, recent scientific studies have shown that CBD can work as an antagonist (meaning that it negates the effects) of THC. CBD can be given in massive doses without any negative side effects, and in those high doses it has been shown to have anti-psychotic effects and can actually shrink tumors. Paying attention, yet?

According to the American Hemp Association, “CBD shows no psychotropic effects, but some clinically-relevant effects have been found. Among them are anticonvulsant effects in epileptics [those with chronic seizures] and anti-dystonic effects in movement disorder patients [like those with Parkinson’s Disease]. Some properties resemble those of THC (e.g. some effects on the immune system), while other properties differ from THC.”

Knowing the positive effects of CBD has inspired companies like San Diego-based Medical Marijuana Inc., which has contracted with two of its portfolio companies, PhytoSPHERE Systems and Red Dice Holdings, to produce and market the CanChew CBD chewing gum.

PhytoSPHERE is using its pharmaceutical-grade hemp production facilities and European microclimate hemp farms to produce two thousand kilograms of high-quality hemp oil for production of super-concentrated CBD to create the CanChew gum.

CanChew will be marketed by Red Dice Holdings, who will distribute the product, along with their other hemp oil products, throughout retail locations in California, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, then branching out to other locations worldwide. It will also be available online.

By using hemp oil rather than marijuana, CanChew gum also avoids the legal challenges that would accompany a THC/marijuana gum, which would still be Federally illegal, despite the state laws which have legalized medicinal and/or recreational marijuana use. For patients looking for relief from the many symptoms that are alleviated by CBD, this gum may be an amazing new product, and certainly is a more convenient and socially acceptable method of medicating.

However, for those patients who enjoy those “extra” effects brought on by the THC in medical (and, where legal, recreational) marijuana, CanChew will not replace our mind-expanding green buds. Either way, the fact that companies are looking to cannabis as a viable medication is certainly a move in the right direction.