Studies have shown that cannabis is useful in the treatment of all sorts of medical condition. Anybody not wishing to smoke a J will soon be able to choose cannabis-infused chewing gum instead.

Cannabis-infused chewing gum will soon be available. Photo: Elise Dicharry

Cannabis-infused chewing gum will soon be available. Photo: Elise Dicharry

AXIM Biotechnologies has striven to bring medicinal cannabis gum to the market since 2007. It first produced MedChew Rx in 2018. This will be the first medical cannabis chewing gum to receive the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration. It contains equal amounts (0.000176 oz, which is perhaps better expressed as the metric value of 5 mg) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, which gets you stoned) and cannabidiol (CBD, which has no psychoactive effects).

How it works

Chewing gum bypasses the liver, so it takes effect sooner – as soon as it makes contact with saliva. It provides pain relief without arousing the ire of those around you as smoking would. Its most oft-cited potential use is the treatment of fibromyalgia. It takes only 15 minutes for an effect to be apparent. This lasts for four hours; a J will last you for two. George E Anastassov MD, MBA, AXIM’s CEO, described MedChew RX as having “improved bioavailability and better dosing control.”

Just chewing’s pretty good

Anastassov added that just chewing “has therapeutic effects”, including neurogenesis, the growth of nervous system cells, ie neurons; hypothalamic-hypophiseal-adrenal axis attenuation, ie communication between the brain and the pituitary and adrenal glands; cardiovascular stimulation; stress relief; and improved oral hygiene. Chewing also sees off the loss of cognition that comes from ageing. Scientists at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit proved that medicine has a greater effect when chewed, particularly to treat pain.

Hey! There’s a patent!

CanChew Biotechnologies LLC has a patent for chewing gum compositions comprising cannabinoids in the United States. Applications have also been made in Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, India, Australia, Japan and Singapore, to name but a few. AXIM is the only licensed producer. The cannabis employed by AXIM is grown at the burgeoning facility Bedrocan BV, overseen by the Dutch Government’s Bureau of Medicinal Cannabis.

When will it be on the market?

AXIM is working with universities in the United States and Europe to test MedChew RX. Clinical trials are underway, and it’s hoped that the product will eventually come to market in 2020. Anastassov spoke of how the product had “industry-leading stability in THC, which is a notoriously unstable molecule”, influenced by room temperature and light. A new technology for the extraction of high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade THC has been developed and patented. It’s envisaged that MedChew RX will see use in the treatment of drug-related psychosis, dementia, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome.

Well, you could give the THC a miss if you really insisted

Another AXIM chewing gum product, CanChew, contains CBD but no THC. While less interesting, it is available in all 50 of these United States without a prescription. It has been featured by Dr Oz’s The Good Life magazine, the magazines Healthy Living, Readers Digest and Newsweek and Yahoo Finance. It’s marketed as a drug for the pain and spasms that result from multiple sclerosis.

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