If you’ve ever taken a cannabis edible—and since you’re reading this magazine the odds are pretty good that you have—you know that waiting feeling.
“The medium was super discreet, and there was technology there to make it happen.”
“It’s been an hour, and I don’t feel anything. Should I eat more?” Every cannabis consumer has a story about when they or a friend chose unwisely to eat more and found themselves way too strongly affected by cannabis.
At Arcata, California-based Cannadips, Co-founders Case Mandel and Cliff Sammet say they’ve found the solution—lip pouches, similar to chewing tobacco, that deliver tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from your saliva to your brain in about 10 minutes, instead of nicotine. The container even looks like a tin of tobacco.
“We wanted to solve the problems of edibles—unreliability and the amount of time they take,” said Mandel.
Clearly, it’s a concept that cannabis consumers are embracing. After debuting in August, you can already find Cannadips in some 100 California medical cannabis dispensaries.
Mandel and Sammet went to high school together in Santa Cruz, California and later followed different career paths—Mandel in cannabis and Sammet in corporate health care.
Over a decade ago, Sammet and a friend were heading to a football game and the friend lit up a joint. Sammet, who doesn’t smoke cannabis, wondered aloud his friend would sustain the buzz during the game. There was a tin of Copenhagen in the car.
“I look over at my buddy and I tell him, ‘Gosh, we’re going to have to put the damn pot and mix it with the chewing tobacco so you can go in the game and get nice and high, and it’s on your time. It’s more mellow, casual,” he recalled.
After calling Mandel about it, the two decided there might be something to the idea. There is a burgeoning scientific effort to find new ways to deliver THC, and through mutual friends the two met Chemist Leslie Norris.
The main barrier to such a product had always been the difficulty of making THC water-soluble. Most edibles use fat or oil for the transmission of THC, which is then absorbed by the liver and is why the THC takes so long to reach the brain.
But in a pouch, said Sammet, “the medium was super discreet, and there was technology there to make it happen.” And the chemist had a way.
When you put a Cannadips pouch in your lip, you don’t need to spit out the saliva like with chewing tobacco—you begin to feel the effects within about 15 minutes. Some of the THC is absorbed by the liver, as with regular edibles, but the THC is absorbed sublingually also.
The person can then throw the packet away, and nobody around is any wiser. The effect lasts about two hours, and Cannadips says it is different from the effect with edibles, which tends to produce a “couch-lock” effect.
It doesn’t taste or smell like cannabis. Flavors include citrus, mint and coffee bourbon with maple syrup.
“It’s perfect for people who need something throughout the day, which isn’t going to create a disassociation,” Sammet said. “It’s going to give them a lucid, upbeat, very high-functioning experience. They don’t have the obstacles to trying to get a dose in while they’re out there on a daily basis.” Cannadips currently comes in 10mg doses, though there are plans for a stronger version. The company is also developing a CBD version, which could be available in multiple states. They’re working with a national distributor that provides tobacco to convenience stores and shops “to begin bringing CBD products to mainstream America.”
There are also uncertainties going forward, as California works to enact regulations on the cannabis industry. Cannadips hopes to help convince regulators and lawmakers that it shouldn’t be held to the same standards as edibles, because there’s no danger of eating too much.
Said Mandel, “This is a medically-infused product, and it’s in a category of its own.”