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Passing a rolled joint of marijuana flower may soon be replaced with passing an eye-dropper full of THC liquid. Cannabis-infused sublingual and tincture products, drops, tablets and strips placed under the tongue to dissolve, were the fastest growing cannabis product categories last year according to cannabis wholesale ordering platform LeafLink. The cannabis research analytics company Headset, reported that Washington and Colorado – the two most mature markets in cannabis – experienced a 69% increase in tincture and sublingual sales from $21.7 million to $36.7 million in 2018. Sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington for tincture and sublingual products totaled $89.5 million in 2018 according to Headset.
One of the industry’s entrepreneurs, Steven Addis, believes there is a large, untapped audience that wants to use sublingual cannabis products for energy, focus, calm, pain relief or sleep, without getting high. Addis wants to serve that market as the co-founder of the Colorado-based SUM Microdose, a maker of low-THC tablets. SUM is a “functional cannabis” product he said, one that is used for a purpose, without disrupting everyday function. SUM (Superior Uptake Microdose) tablets are infused with small amounts of THC and CBD, and dissolve quickly under the tongue.
Like many others in the emerging industry, SUM is naming its products based on their desired effects, rather than a particular strain of marijuana. SUM comes in four formulae called Focus, Calm, Relief, and Energy.
“Sublinguals” are becoming more popular among cannabis users because those products offer precise dosing and a quick delivery time according to Michelle Magallon, vice president of sales at Calyx Peak Companies, a multi-state cannabis grower and processor. “Sublinguals deliver cannabis via the mucous membranes in the mouth, generally underneath the tongue or between the upper lip and gum,” said Magallon. “This delivery method bypasses the digestive system, delivering cannabis within 5-15 minutes.” In contrast, smoking cannabis offers users a quick effect, but the THC dosage is hard to manage, and cannabis-infused edibles offer a more precise THC dose, but because they work their way through the digestive system, take 30-90 minutes to have an effect.
While California and some other state’s laws consider a single dose of THC to be 10mg, each SUM sublingual tablet contains a maximum of 2.5mg THC. Consuming only 25% (or less) of what a typical psychoactive dose would feel like, lets consumers go about their day without feeling high according to the company. Low dosage also means product consistency is critical. “It’s important to get as much as possible of that dose into the bloodstream,” a company spokesperson said.
Some makers eschew THC altogether. Curaleaf for example, makes Relax and Revive, two CBD sublingual tinctures made from hemp.
Magallon said she’d expects this delivery system to continue to gain popularity as more brands to develop precise dosing sublinguals. “We’re seeing a range of formats for sublinguals – from lozenges to sprays,” she said. She expects innovation to grow as more consumers gravitate towards this consumption method.
As legalization spreads, many consumers are learning about cannabis and taking the age-old dosage advice of “start low and go slow” when it comes to edibles, sublinguals and other forms of cannabis. Websites like Weediom offer articles on the potential positive and negative effects of cannabis.
April 1, 2019 at 08:58AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs