A fresh way to consume cannabis is gaining fans in California.
Pot-laced mints that contain as little as 2.5 milligrams of THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that makes users high, began cropping up on dispensary shelves last fall and are gaining favor among users who want to avoid smoking or over-dosing on edibles.
"People who quote-unquote 'don't smoke weed' will definitely eat a cannabis-infused mint," Jim Patterson, CEO of marijuana delivery service Eaze (also known as the "Uber for weed"), tells Business Insider.
Eaze introduced mints by Breez, which are made with oil derived from the marijuana plant, sugar, and peppermint oil, two months ago and have seen positive user feedback. Each mint has five milligrams of THC, the rough equivalent of smoking one-fifth of a joint or less.
It's a conservative dose for adults who don't know their tolerance or are consuming for recreational (rather than medical) purposes. Plus, the five-milligram increments make it easy to scale bit by bit and customize your dose depending on the occasion, Patterson explains.
Mints are a natural form-factor for microdosed products because of their size.
Kiva Confections, an edibles maker based in Oakland, branched out from chocolates into mints last November. Kristi Knoblich, cofounder and COO of Kiva, tells Business Insider the Petra mints were specifically created with the cannabis-sensitive consumer in mind. Each mint contains 2.5 milligrams of THC, and a box of 42 pieces retails for about $15.
Nailing the minty flavor wasn't easy, according to Knoblich. "The Kiva team put their heart and soul into creating an invigorating taste without a 'hashy' aftertaste," she said. "More than a year after we started, we ended up with an entirely new extraction method and a mint expert on staff, proving the point that sometimes in order to get it right you have to go to great lengths."
Patients can find Petra in about 300 dispensaries across California.
Another reason for the popularity of weed-laced mints might be their ingestion method.
When eaten, THC undergoes a transformation in the liver that turns it into a different substance that's twice as strong and lasts twice as long as when it's inhaled. A user's high might not peak until one to three hours after eating. Because it takes so long to process, people often overdo it by going in for a second helping too soon.
When you suck on a marijuana-infused mint, however, most of the THC gets absorbed sublingually, or through the cheeks and under the tongue. The effects take hold in minutes, not hours, which means medical marijuana patients might find relief from their ailments sooner.
As an added bonus, mints don't melt in your pocket like chocolate. They're also not quite as addicting as the other sugary products on dispensary shelves.
"Mints work so well, because, you don't want to like chow down on mint. It actually makes sense to have one mint an hour. Chocolate-covered stuff? You just want more," Patterson said. "So for all those reasons, in my opinion, mints are the perfect product."
More From Business Insider