Americans have entered a historic, golden age for medical cannabis formulations and modalities. Medical laws and recreational legalization have accelerated innovation to seemingly light speed, and dispensary shelves are filled with products unrecognizable from past years. Lowly cannabis cigarettes now rival the fashionable Cohiba cigars, medical cannabis topicals are ready to take on the billion-dollar mainstream body products market. New batches of healthy, high-design, low-dose edibles are attracting a different, Whole Foods-caliber shopper. And a controversial medical cannabis modality—suppositories—has escaped from the lab to help women with their most personal health issues.
Just say, ‘no, thank you’ to dry, trim-filled, flat-smelling pre-rolls! Say ‘yes’ to glass tips, gold-leaf, functional dosages and celebrity blends.
Industry data show pre-rolls are among the fastest growing part of dispensary sales. You just can’t beat the form factor, versatility, flavor, and big effects of a pre-rolled cannabis cone. Pre-roll sales grew 68 percent in 2015 in Washington, BDS Analytics reports.
Just in time for this new gilded age, The Green Solution in Denver has 24K Gold Caviar Cones—gold-leafed pre-rolls with flower, or an optional hash-fortified flower, called Caviar.
Over in Michigan, Ann Arbor Wellness Collective joins the mini-pre-roll market this April with Slow Rollers—a pack of pre-rolls custom-sized for more functional dosing.
Spotted in California, Hepburn’s Jumbo pre-roll is turning heads this year with its chic, glass tips, mega-size, and high-quality flower bud—not trim—fortified with bubble hash.
Cannabinoid-specific, strain-specific, and custom blends like Medi-Cone’s Ed Rosenthal Selects Sativa or Indica Blends are also on the rise this year, said George Bianchini, co-founder of leading pre-roll brand Medi-Cone. “We see the acceptance and quality of pre-rolls going up.”
Last year, Foria Pleasure blew the lid off the best-kept secret in cannabis—it works through the skin without getting you stoned. This Spring, the small Los Angeles company seeks a $1.6 million investment to expand from Colorado and California to Washington and beyond. In its wake, a whole slew of skin treatments have come out of the cannabis closet to seek mainstream fans.
California’s all-organic, boutique, high-end Herbabuena line of topicals are clicking with a whole new cannabis customer this year. Their “Quiver” Sensual Cannabis Lubricant is made from organic, whole-flower, strain-specific source material, plus cold water hash, and micro extract of cinnamon and clove.
“It’s not warming lube,” Herbabuena cofounder Alicia Rose said. “I hate warming lubes. You are not feeling that hot sensation. It’s all about increasing the blood flow, which in turn sends signals to the brain that you’re getting turned on.”
Longtime topicals brand Xternal announced this March that it is now in six states, just in time for MMA fighter and Xternal user Nick Diaz to defeat Conor McGregor. Xternal solidifies its national offerings with its line of Rub/Spray, Cream, Balm, Mud and Soak products, plus animal line K9 Relief Dog Wash and Lame Away Equine Therapy.
Like New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, San Francisco surfer Nick tripped out on too-strong an edible, and saw a problem: he took a 100 milligram bar and was groggy the next day. “I think everyone has had that experience and it’s turned them off to edibles.”
So he’s hit on the future with Outset—a Northern California line of low-dose, organic, veganic, THC-infused dried fruit that pairs with a hike or yoga, as opposed to watching Deadpool or playing The Division on Playstation 4.
“We wanted to create something extremely low-dose, healthy, and organic, where you would feel comfortable eating one and not having a fear of eating too much,” Nick said.
Outset is aiming not for the high-tolerance patient that’s the traditional core of the cannabis business, but the vast throngs of newcomers from the mainstream with far lower tolerances.
“People like me are coming in and creating a whole new market,” he said.
Outset’s organic, vegan dried Apple Crisps or Pineapple Crisps evoke Whole Foods-level quality—with 10mg per pineapple crisp and 5mg per apple crisp, for 100mg per bag. Lab testing reduces crisp potency variance to five percent or less, he said. Cannabinoids come from a hand-picked blend of sativa hybrids washed in ethyl alcohol to capture full spectrum cannabinoids and terpenes, and purged to 0 ppm.
Other Whole Foods-ready lineups include Dixie’s California affiliate Altai and their line of Ducle de Leche and Sea Salt Caramel Bon Bons. They come in either 10mg or 25mg THC doses. Also, their 25mg Chocolate Coins are on the money.
SUPPOSITORIES’ DAY IN THE SUN
Little known fact—the U.S. government awarded a patent on cannabis up the pooper. It’s held by the country’s only federally licensed cannabis farmer, who works out of University of Mississippi.
UMiss’ Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly will tell you—suppositories are the most efficient route of administering cannabinoids for vomiting, pain relief, muscle spasms, and appetite, as well as depression and anxiety. But while federal prohibition stymies profiting from his patent—the suppository concept is out of the bag.
Celebrity entertainer Tommy Chong reportedly treated his colon cancer with cannabis suppositories. Internal formulations have been spotted at outlets in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado this Spring.
[Sidebar: Suppository Makers: California—PPH OrganiCanna, Deep Healers, Endoca CBD; Washington— CPC Suppositories, Oregon—Genesis Farms.]
California-based Foria rolls out Foria Relief vaginal suppositories in California and Colorado. Developed with a Los Angeles urologist and Foria volunteers, the 60 mg THC / 10 mg CBD suppository treats PMA pain and cramping like no other 21st century product, said Foria co-founder Matthew Gerson.
“Women with pelvic pain were reporting the ability to have pleasurable sex again,” he said. Patient reviews support the medical history, as well cell, animal trials and patient self-reports on cannabinoids for menstrual issues.
“Not only did my cramps ease up, but I felt good. Really good. There was no heady effect, but I felt serene. It was like if Ativan made a baby with Tylenol,” stated one reviewer.
The local-acting THC and CBD does not cause euphoria, Gerson said, so doctors are vetting Foria Relief for use in double-blind placebo-controlled trials.
If you can get past the taboo, taking Foria Relief rectally can help manage intractable lower back pain and spasms, and be an effective way to administer cannabinoids for anti-cancer regimens. Plus, rectal application can relax the sphincter, making anal sex more pleasurable, Gerson reports. “A lot of women have a G-spot that’s more posterior-oriented, but often there’s a discomfort that gets in the way of that pleasure.”
Just a head’s up—both Foria product products are made with coconut oil—which is not compatible with condoms.