Innovations in Edibles
By Marijuana Venture Staff
From the traditional, homemade canna-butter brownie to the modern, varied marketplace of candies, chocolates, chips and beverages, the edibles segment has always been one of the most innovative and exciting markets in the cannabis industry.
And as technology becomes cheaper and research becomes more prevalent, the sector continues to change in new and innovative ways. From options in product form and flavor to innovations in dosing and ingredients, processors and manufacturers continue to push the bounds of what is possible, providing new and exciting products for consumers of every experience level and interest.
Marijuana Venture rounds out our first edibles special section with a look at the following companies at the cutting edge of the edibles marketplace.
With a focus on quality, fair trade and sustainability, Coda Signature edibles continuously bring new, high-end flavors to edibles shelves around the county.
Chef, co-founder and chief innovation officer Lauren Gockley, a French-trained chocolatier who was named one of Dessert Professional’s Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America, uses cacao beans sourced from specific areas of South America and creates every recipe herself with an eye on highlighting each region’s special flavors.
The Colorado-based brand recently moved into the Massachusetts market with four unique, high-end flavors of infused chocolate, including milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate and the newly introduced blonde chocolate in the Toffee & Sea Salt bar.
The company also produces its gummy-like Fruit Notes with the same focus on high quality ingredients like real fruit that can be eaten on their own or paired with savory options recommended by Gockley on the company’s website.
Coda Signature edibles are available in Colorado and Massachusetts with plans for expansion into Ohio and other markets later this year.
Sometimes, what is old is new again, and that’s clearly the case with CQ.
One of California’s original cannabis beverage brands, Cannabis Quencher, has relaunched as CQ and expanded its presence into Massachusetts in 2022 and Illinois in 2023.
CQ has more than a decade of experience manufacturing cannabis beverages and has kept its line of product fresh with flavors like Wildberry Guava, Old Fashioned Lemonade, Watermelon Cucumber and Strawberry Lemonade and beverage forms that range from the potent 2-ounce shots or refreshing, low-dose seltzers.
Curēous is a line of teas from Spoke Sciences that uses a cutting-edge form of CBD that doesn’t require use of detergents and flavor-masking additives. The company’s IsoCaps CBD presents a new approach to solubility that can deliver up to 100 milligrams of CBD in a single milliliter of liquid.
All Curēous teas contain 25 milligrams of CBD and are available in three flavors – Cherry Hibiscus Black Tea, Tangerine Mint Green Tea and Blueberry Lavender Chamomile.
Curēous is brewed by the same beverage makers who developed the popular Tazo and Whole Foods 365 lines of teas.
Massachusetts brewery Harpoon is launching its first venture in the growing market for THC beverages with Rec. Weed, a 12-ounce, non-alcoholic beverage made with passionfruit puree, green tea and hops and containing 5 milligrams of THC.
Rec. Weed is made in a similar fashion to session ales, starting with a base of green tea and sugar, then cold steeping Citra and West Coast hops and passionfruit puree. The brewers then add THC, which is minimally flavored and near odorless, to the liquid and carbonate it without fermentation so it remains nonalcoholic.
Rec. Weed is the first THC-infused beverage from the employee-owned brewery and currently available only in its home market of Massachusetts.
Journeyman edibles are vegan, gluten-free and are made with all-natural ingredients, like actual fruit instead of just fruit favoring.
The company has three lines of 100-milligram-infused THC lemonades: Tropical Lemonade, Tart Lemonade and Berry Lemonade. Journeyman also makes three lines of infused Jellies, all with 10 milligrams of THC and CBD each per serving. The Jellies come in variety packs featuring three different flavors: Tropical (pineapple, mango and passion fruit), Berry (strawberry, raspberry and blackberry) and the Sour (watermelon, green apple and raspberry).
Journeyman’s lemonades are available at Washington retailers. The company’s lines of Jellies are available in Oregon and Washington.
Following their success with JoyGum, Colorado-based Joyibles’ new Joy Bombs are a micro-dose, candy-coated fruit chew infused with 2.5 milligrams of THC.
Designed to create a “fun, familiar candy experience” for adults, the Joy Bombs look to move the edible beyond the traditional gummy or chocolate bar.
Available in 100-milligram packs of 40, the new Joy Bombs come in three flavor packs: Original Fruit (strawberry, lemon, grape and fruit punch), Sour Fruit (green apple, pink lemonade, blue raspberry and watermelon) and Tropical Haze (passionfruit, mango, strawberry banana and pina colada).
All three are available in Colorado, and the company’s Original Fruit Joy Bombs are now available in Massachusetts through Root & Bloom.
With a goal of creating the kind of infused treats that make you feel like “a kid in a candy store,” Joyibles is pushing the edibles boundary in Colorado beyond the typical gummies and chocolates, including JoyGum, the only infused chewing gum on the market.
Currently available only in Colorado, JoyGum comes in three varieties: the bubble gum flavor contains 10 milligrams of THC per piece; the mango pieces each contain 5 milligrams of THC; and each piece of the blueberry is infused with 5 milligrams of THC and 5 milligrams of CBD.
One of the most popular flower and concentrate brands in California has leapt into the edibles market with the launch of their multi-flavor, 20-packs of gummies.
Raw Garden’s take on the ubiquitous cannabis-infused gummy includes 100% all-natural vegan ingredients and five fruity flavors: Watermelon, White Peach, Wild Strawberry, Bing Cherry and Meyer Lemon. Each package contains all five flavors, and pieces are scored down the middle to easily split the 5-milligram THC pieces into two.
The cannabis in the gummies is all single-source, coming straight from the Raw Garden farm.
With a promise to boost libido, lower inhibition and invite a “deeper connection,” Sixty-Nine is a new, cannabis-infused sparkling beverage from House of LDLR, which bills itself as a “woman-owned cannabis and sexual wellness company” from Oakland, California.
Billed as the first “cannpagne,” Sixty-Nine is a carbonated, pink beverage with hints of chardonnay grapes, cranberries, apples and citrus, according to the company. Each 6.3-ounce bottle contains 69 milligrams of THC.
Sixty-Nine was launched in February in several shops in the San Francisco Bay Area with plans to expand to other stores in California and to direct-to-consumer sales and delivery though the company’s website.
Stay Asleep is a berry-flavored gummy from Wana Brands with 20 milligrams of CBD, 10 milligrams of THC, 5 milligrams of CBG and 5 milligrams of CBN. The gummy was designed to help people fall asleep and stay asleep and is part of Wana’s new line of daily wellness products, Wana Optimals.
The CBD in each serving provides calming and relaxing effects, while promoting REM sleep. The CBN is believed to help lower stress and tension and relieve physical discomfort. The CBG is also said to aid relaxation and provides anti-inflammatory effects. And the THC works with the other cannabinoids and helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
Stay Asleep gummies are vegan, kosher and organically sweetened.
The Source in Nevada recently expanded its CAMP line of solventless edibles with two new additions to its chocolate line, Coconut Toffee Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Hibiscus Milk Chocolate, crafted by the company’s classically trained chefs.
Like the Coffee Caramel and Ruby Red bars introduced in late 2022, the bars are made with premium Belgian chocolate and hand-crafted in small, strain-specific batches using sustainably sourced cocoa. The Coconut Toffee bar is infused exclusively with the Dark Rainbow strain, an indica-dominant hybrid, while the Strawberry Hibiscus bar exclusively uses the hybrid La Bomba strain.
The CAMP line of solventless edibles includes three different gummies, also introduced in 2019.
Edibles producer 1906 and cannabinoid ingredient manufacturer Day Three Labs unveiled their new line of two-ingredient edibles in January. The Unlokt line of products only use protein and cannabis and what the two companies are calling “novel protein-based delivery technology” to provide a cleaner, safer and more reliable edibles experience.
The natural proteins in the product reportedly bypass first-pass metabolism in the liver, protecting the cannabinoids and terpenes and allowing them to be better absorbed in the bloodstream. The first two products featuring Unlokt technology, Toci Treats and Olio Live Edibles, are currently available at California retailers.
Unlike the vast majority of THC-infused edibles and beverages, Seattle-based Cycling Frog’s products are available throughout the country because they are not made with cannabis from state-licensed producers.
“We are federally legal. And what that means is we are 100% hemp-derived,” says Jason Peterson, Cycling Frog’s head of brand, noting that the company’s products are all compliant with the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. “The THC that is in our products is real THC. It’s delta-9 THC derived from hemp.”
Made with hemp-derived CBD and delta-9 THC extracted from plants that meet the hemp threshold of less than 0.3% THC, the company’s beverages, gummies and mints are available in 25 states and are designed to give those who might not find their way into a dispensary the opportunity to experiment. The company’s beverages are available in two different versions, one with 5 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of CBD, and a “light” option with 2 milligrams of THC and 4 milligrams of CBD. Cycling Frog does not use delta-8 THC in its products.
Spun off from a parent CBD company in 2021, Peterson says the plan for Cycling Frog was to focus on the THC extracted from hemp, instead of “hiding it” like most full-spectrum CBD products try to do, based on a belief that consumers were looking for a mild, low-dose THC effect.
“Most CBD brands that are selling full-spectrum products are really trying to hide the THC,” Peterson says. “But we’re calling it out and saying no, that’s part of the benefit of this plant.”
Peterson says the most difficult aspect of the business is convincing distributors that the product is legal, so Cycling Frog often comes “pretty heavily armed” with legal research, but with retailers in states like New York and Texas now selling its products, Cycling Frog is poised to become a fully national cannabis brand.
“We believe there’s a lot of people in the U.S. that would consume our products, or that are new to cannabis or cannabis-curious,” Peterson says. “We want to give them products that they can enjoy that are approachable, that aren’t overwhelming and allow them to experience cannabis more regularly.”