Nice try, THC Living.
The cannabis industry in America has grown rapidly. It was estimated to be worth approximately $61 billion at the end of 2021, and that growth is expected to continue thanks to the growing legalization movement is currently “illegal” states.
The market is dominated more and more by big cannabis companies. The 27 largest companies have a combined market cap of $38 billion dollars, with consolidation in the industry occurring rapidly.
What’s a small weed operation to do?
One small California company came up with what they thought was a cool new approach. In mid-2021, THC Living released a brand-new product which had never been offered before in legal dispensaries: Canna Bumps.
The weed powder was designed to look just like cocaine — and was sold complete with a small spoon.
It’s not around anymore, though. In fact, it didn’t last a week on the market.
Let’s find out why.
What Is THC Living?
There are lots of small cannabis producers in California, and THC Living is one of them. The company has been around for quite some time and sells edibles, beverages, oils, and topical products through California dispensaries.
Several years ago, THC Living was only selling weak, cannabis-infused tea — a product that certainly wasn’t going to make anyone rich. However, the company thought it had found a groundbreaking approach that would make some noise in the California market.
Without warning, it released a new product to its retailers: Canna Bumps. The company expected to create a sensation in the West Coast marijuana market with this innovative product.
And it did. It just wasn’t the type of sensation that THC Living expected.
What Were Canna Bumps?
You don’t have to have tried coke to know what a “bump” is. And the company didn’t shy away from the apparent allusion to snorting cocaine, even though they didn’t explicitly use the word “snort.”
Here’s what THC Living said in marketing blurbs:
“Have a great time with your cannabis with our novel cannabis concentrate. Canna Bumps are exactly what they sound like — cannabis concentrate intended to be devoured through the nose ingested straightforwardly or added to your number one food.”
For a moment, put aside the matter of “devouring weed through the nose” (which would seem to describe Tony Montana, not a medical marijuana patient or recreational user). THC Living’s statement was already a legal problem for the company.
Canna Bumps contained 600 milligrams of THC concentrate per package of powder. On its face that appears to be OK under California law, which allows the sale of up to 1000mg of cannabis concentrate per package.
Here’s the issue, though. Edible products sold in the state can only contain 100mg per package. By publicly positioning Canna Bumps as an edible product, THC Living was already violating California law.
And that wasn’t the only problem the company faced.
Public Blowback Against Canna Bumps
If THC Living expected the cannabis world to welcome this new product with open arms, they miscalculated badly.
A number of industry thought leaders immediately inveighed against Canna Bumps, saying that invoking the image of users snorting coke was exactly the image that legal weed did not need.
And major industry partners like Leafly immediately dropped all associations with THC Living.
As for public reaction? Many on social media thought the entire idea of snorting pot was ridiculous; others thought the whole thing had to be a hoax.
There was another question raised in the weed world, too.
The product’s packaging information said that each 10mg bump of Canna Bumps contained 2mg of THC. What was in the other eight milligrams of powder that you would “devour through the nose?” The company didn’t say.
In short, THC Living’s rollout of Canna Bumps was a mess. And there’s a well-deserved conclusion to this cautionary tale.
RIP Canna Bumps
It didn’t take long. In just a few days, THC Living withdrew Canna Bumps from the market.
It did so with a statement from the company’s legal counsel, implying that the company had only been testing the market for snortable weed.
“A few months ago, our client was approached by a third party that sought to utilize our client’s proprietary formulations in the creation of the Canna Bumps product. As soon as our client learned more about the product, it took the temperature of its customers and those in the industry to gauge how they felt about Canna Bumps. Because of its own concerns, those expressed by consumers, and the misgivings of those in the industry, our client made the decision to terminate any license granted to any third party that would use its proprietary information to produce or market a product; like Canna Bumps.”
And that was that for Canna Bumps; it was withdrawn from the market immediately. Today you can only find it sold by a few renegade cannabis providers, and there are no indications that any other major company plans on reviving the idea of snortable weed.
There’s one question remaining, though: can you even get high by snorting marijuana?
What Happens If You Snort Weed?
There are not much scientific data on the subject.
One study found that rats were affected by THC that was administered nasally, and another concluded that 34%-46% of the CBD delivered nasally to rats and guinea pigs were successfully absorbed.
CBD nasal sprays like Nasadol and Rhinodol are already on the market, and a few cannabis companies have marketed sprays that contain a combination of THC and CBD.
Spraying CBD is very different than snorting weed, though.
Medical marijuana expert Dr. David Casarett tells Vice News that the bioavailability of cannabis is difficult to predict when it’s inhaled through the nose. He says nasal membranes contain enzymes that CBD can deactivate, preventing the metabolization of THC.
He adds that something as simple as a cold or allergies could make it impossible for any THC to make it into the bloodstream.
Bottom line: It’s unlikely that anything except cannabis concentrate would have much impact when snorted. And the difficulty of dosing would make a bloody nose much more likely than a powerful high.
Canna Bumps FAQ
Q: If the company had sold Canna Bumps as a concentrate instead of mentioning its potential use as an edible, would there have been a problem?
A: Legally, it’s impossible to say. The bigger problem from the start was with the cannabis community, though. It was pretty clear that their goal was to make THC Living a pariah unless the product was withdrawn from the market and the pressure was effective. If major industry players had permanently withdrawn recognition from the company, it would have been impossible for them to continue selling any weed products at all.
Q: Will THC nose spray become more available as an alternative?
A: So far, it hasn’t; its future largely depends on whether customers accept the product and word of mouth creates demand. But Dr. Casarett says that in the best case, he sees it as a possible additional option for weed users — not as a game-changer.
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