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CBD Gum May Be The Next Big Trend But Can It Actually Medicate?

Jessica McKeil
cbd gum in hand of dental professional

All of the big names in the CBD consumer market are launching CBD gum products. Should patients buy in?

Brands like Endoca, Elixinol, and CBD American Shaman are all in the game now. As patients, there are a few points to note about this new CBD gum trend. Largely, the benefits of bubble gum medicine aren’t that clear.

With CBD quickly becoming the hottest trending ingredient in the health and wellness sector, it’s found its way into just about every consumer product imaginable. CBD oils and capsules are one thing, but CBD bath bombs and Cannabidiol water? The market is flooded with products that might not make the cut should the Food and Drug Administration put their claims to the test.

Does CBD chewing gum fall under this category? Can quality ingredients have therapeutic value, no matter the mode of delivery? While there is a basis for ‘bubble gum medicine’ within the scientific literature, it’s not yet totally understood how this information applies to CBD and other cannabinoids.

What is CBD Gum and Why is it (Supposedly) the Next Big Thing?

With several CBD chewing gum patents already filed with the U.S. Patent Office, CBD gum is nothing new. CBD gum differs only slightly from non-medicated chewing gums because it contains some measure of Cannabidiol. And each product will vary in CBD content, depending on the manufacturer.

According to one U.S. Patent, “The present invention relates to a chewing gum composition comprising 0.01 to 15% by weight a cannabinoid or a derivative thereof, based on the total weight of the chewing gum composition.” Other brands contain upwards of 40 to 50 percent Cannabidiol per piece. Most products available today come in a candy-coated gum format, dispensed from a blister pack, presumably to preserve freshness.

As most patients interested in Cannabidiol already prefer natural foods, many of the most popular CBD brands stick with organic ingredients. CBD gums often contain ingredients such as chicle, erythritol, xylitol, and all-natural flavors and sweeteners. Again, each brand will vary.

Why are CBD oil manufacturers focused on the potential of bubble gum medicine? While it offers consumers a discreet and innovative way to try CBD products, it also comes down to a matter of numbers. According to Statista, the global chewing gum market is expected to hit $32.63 billion in 2019. The CBD oil market will reach $813.2 million in the U.S. in the same year. The intersection of these two products has massive potential, and CBD companies are banking on it.

cbd gum strips

What Should Patients Know About Benefits of Medicated Gum?

First and foremost, patients need to know that there are no proven benefits to the CBD gum format. Theoretically, gum containing cannabinoids may release those compounds once chewed, but there is no publically available research supporting the effectiveness of this delivery method (so far).

Medicated chewing gums have been around for nearly a century, and there is some science supporting their effectiveness. This is mostly for the delivery of medications and botanicals, such as Aspirin, caffeine, aloe vera, and nicotine. But the literature has yet to replicate these results with cannabinoids.

Although chewed, CBD gum is technically not an edible. The gum delivers the benefits of Cannabidiol through a sublingual delivery system, similar to an oral spray or CBD tincture allowed to pool under the tongue. Established cannabinoid pharmaceuticals (ex: Sativex) already rely on sublingual absorption through the mucous membrane as a way to ensure fast acting delivery of the botanical compounds. Logically, any CBD released through a gum would work in a similar manner.

While there are no controlled studies on CBD gum, CanChew Bio-Technologies (a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc.) announced in 2012, it had begun clinical development. Research was being conducted  in the European Union. Specifically, the company was exploring the best format for nausea related to chemotherapy, and muscular spasticity associated with Multiple-Sclerosis. To date, there have been no updates about these clinical investigations.

Can Patients Benefit From CBD Gum?

Researchers are exploring CBD for dozens of medical applications, including  anxiety, inflammation, pain-relief and more. These studies are still in the early phases of development, but the FDA recently approved a pharmaceutical preparation of CBD for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Presumably, Cannabidiol gum brands are hoping to benefit from these ongoing scientific studies.

There are a few issues with Cannabidiol gum which patients should be aware of before purchase. Studies on the bioavailability of CBD contained in CBD gum are not yet available. The amount of CBD within most brands of CBD gum is minimal – technically, the size of a microdose (CanChew is the exception). Great for CBD daily dosing, but perhaps not suitable for more chronic conditions.

Finally, it isn’t clear if chewing gum releases CBD slowly, how much Cannabidiol remains trapped in the gum after chewing, and how much the patient can lose to swallowing. Taken altogether, the actual medicinal benefits of this format are very uncertain.

How to Best Use CBD Gum

Because there are still many questions about the true benefits of Cannabidiol gum, patients may want to use it as a supplement to other cannabinoid products. With typically less than 10 mg per serving, most Cannabidiol gums can only be considered a microdose.

cbd gum with cannabis leaves

Patients treating chronic conditions may likely get more benefits from other products, higher potency products like concentrates, edibles, and capsules.

Still, Cannabidiol gum does offer discretion and easy dosing. Each piece contains a predetermined measure of CBD and comes in a portable, easy to carry format. Tucked into a desk drawer or purse pocket, patients can keep their Cannabidiol daily readily available, but out of sight.

With the market potential of Cannabidiol gum and the insatiable demand by consumers for these products, a gum delivery format is likely here to stay. Where there is consumer demand, the market will inevitably fill it. However, until there is robust clinical research to back up the hype around CBD gum, patients may want to use it to supplement rather than treat.

Jessica McKeil
Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She is lucky enough to live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where the cannabis industry is exploding. When not writing, she spends much of her time exploring in the coastal forests.

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