Jelly beans were certainly mentioned in print in the Chicago Daily News in 1905 but might date back to 1861. The best known brand is Jelly Belly. David Klein, “the Candyman”, invented it in 1976 one Thursday at 8:15pm as he watched Happy Days. It was “the Rolls Royce of jelly beans”.

Klein sold the rights in 1980 for $10,000 a month for 20 years, a decision he now regards as one of the worst he ever made: the Jelly Belly Company makes $190 million a year. President Reagan popularised Jelly Belly jelly beans, eating them when he quit smoking. Sales doubled.

Jelly Belly jelly beans. Photo: sylvar

Jelly Belly jelly beans. Photo: sylvar

Jelly beans now come with added cannabis

Klein continued to make sweeties. Now, his recently created company, Spectrum Confections, is making cannabis-infused jelly beans. A patent application has been made for the special process that accomplishes the infusing.

These jelly beans contain cannabidiol, (CBD) one of the leading ingredients of cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the foremost ingredient, it doesn’t get you stoned, but it benefits health in manifold ways, most notably relieving pain and reducing anxiety. When Klein heard of it, he asked himself whether anybody made jelly beans that contained CBD. When he realised that nobody did, he elected to fill this market niche himself.

There are 38 flavours, including cinnamon, mango, pina colada, spicy liquorice, strawberry cheesecake and toasted marshmallow. Klein insists that the mango flavour “tastes more like mango than mango does.” Strawberry cheesecake is one of his favourites. The beans can be original, sugar free or sour. They even contain a little fruit juice to make them “as healthy as possible.”

How to mask the taste of CBD

As the Spectrum Confections website acknowledges, “CBD isn’t always the best taste”, so the beans are dusted with sugar. James Howler, who devised the popular cannabis-infused Cheeba Chews and Dabba mint chocolate bars, remarked, “We tried a lot of different recipes, but nothing came close to covering the taste of cannabis like mint.”

Perfect for the proper dosage

Each bean contains 0.000352oz of CBD, which is a nice, round 10 milligrams if you go metric. But who only eats one jelly bean?

As Klein declared, “The jelly bean is perfect for the proper dosage.” It’s harder to get the right dosage with vape oil or skin cream. Eating CBD takes longer to have an effect than smoking it or applying it to the skin.

It takes two weeks to process an order. There is a minimum of 800 beans. At present, these products are sold out: “Due to recent media attention, our inventory has been depleted.”

Yes, you can get jelly beans with THC

Other companies provide CBD-infused beverages with beer being one, brownies, chewing gum, chocolates, gummy bears, pies and rice krispies treats. Jelly beans containing THC are available.

In the United States, the market for CBD products is currently between $1 and $2 billion, but the investment bank Cowen recently predicted that this might rise to $16bn by 2025.

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