Expert Voices: Wana Brands VP on How to Build a Better Cannabis Gummy
Editor’s note: To help recognize the emerging cannabis gummy category, Colorado-based Wana Brands has created a national awareness day celebrating the popular infused confection.
Taking place on Nov. 19, 2020, the first-ever “National Cannabis Gummie Day” aims to highlight the popularity of the infused edible and remind consumers about the versatility of the cannabis plant.
According to cannabis research firm BDSA, gummies made up 84% of candy ingestible sales across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon through July 2020.
In an effort to learn more about the challenges of delivering a high-quality and consistent gummy product, and to understand best production practices, THCnet asked Wana Brands’ vice president of Innovation, Mike Hennesy, to share his insights into ingredient selection, flavoring, infusion and packaging.
This year’s “National Cannabis Gummie Day” is the perfect occasion to think about the many benefits of this popular form of cannabis consumption. From their ease of use and dosing, to their flavorful variety and diversity of ratios, today’s cannabis gummies are increasingly seen by many consumers as a go-to form of consumption.
But not all cannabis gummies are made the same way and with the same exacting standards consumers should expect. For manufacturers in multiple legal markets, it can be challenging to maintain consistency across borders. It is important to develop a set of standard operating procedures that allow you to easily source and infuse products in new markets without losing quality.
Here are some considerations to make when creating your cannabis gummies.
Ingredients: Many low-grade cannabis gummies on the market today are made from gelatin, a protein that comes from animal skin, hair and connected tissue. Premium gummies use a higher-quality ingredient called pectin. Wana Brands has used this all-natural, fruit-based ingredient in its gummies for more than a decade. Pectin is a water-soluble fiber found in the cellular walls of fruit, which allows you to create vegan-friendly and gluten-free gummies.
Texture and flavor: Pectin does more than improve gummies’ health-friendly attributes. It also makes gummies more enjoyable to consume because it creates the perfect texture. Gelatin-based gummies produce infused edibles that are more rubbery and less appealing to the tongue. Pectin also allows the delicious fruit flavors of gummies to shine through, unlike gelatin-based gummies which often have an unappealing medicinal flavor. The use of fruit-based pectins also means a greater variety of fruit flavors are possible from premium, innovative brands using this ingredient.
Technology: Innovative cannabinoid delivery technology provides an opportunity for manufacturers to stand out. However, developing that technology internally can be costly and make it more difficult to experiment with different infusion methods as new third-party technologies are developed.
That’s why Wana’s R&D team tapped bioavailability technology experts for leading edge IP to supercharge its line of products. For example, Wana gummies use a technology that encapsulates the cannabinoid molecules, creating small water-friendly particles that are better for absorption, allowing THC to take a shortcut straight to the bloodstream.
Melting point: Gummies made from lower-quality animal-based ingredients such as gelatin melt at a much lower temperature than gummies made from pectin. For example, gelatin-based gummies can melt at Fahrenheit temperatures in the mid-90 degrees. Wana Brands’ gummies and other premium-branded offerings that use fruit pectin can withstand temperatures as hot as 175 degrees Fahrenheit before melting.
The other advantage of pectin’s higher melting point is more accurate dosage regulation. While consumers could let melted gummies cool and solidify before consuming, there’s no true way to accurately control THC dosing from such compromised products.
Packaging: Cannabis gummies also need protection from other factors. Lower-quality brands will often look to cut costs by using inferior packaging materials. Only high-grade packaging can best protect the form and usability of cannabis gummies. Wana Brands always uses packaging that is both UV light-resistant and waterproof, two forms of product protection that is not always considered by other cannabis edibles manufacturers.
In addition to selling our gummies in child-safe packages, we also use materials that are aesthetically pleasing and sustainable. We recommend using packaging that is recyclable and can break down faster in landfills than ordinary plastics.
Ultimately, providing consumers with gummies made from premium cannabis and safe ingredients is just as important as selling products in packages that are better for the environment.
Innovative variety: It is important to note that consumers today use cannabis gummies for a variety of recreational and health-focused reasons. That means cannabis gummies are not a one-size-fits-all kind of product, and it’s why premium brands typically offer a range of THC:CBD ratios best suited to customers’ specific needs. Wana Brands offers a variety of THC:CBD ratios to complement its vegan, non-GMO, all-natural and kosher gummies, and it also continues to innovate with new fast-acting varieties.
Branding: At the end of the day, brands matter. Premium cannabis gummy producers will not only offer higher-quality edibles with better ingredients, but they will also have more transparent labels.
Wana’s commitment to brand consistency is confirmed throughout nine U.S. cannabis markets and Canada, where our trustworthy and capable licensees align with our brand’s values and goals. Before selecting licensees or any brand partner, it is important to develop an in-depth vetting process. You should prioritize companies that are transparent, provide assurance in what they deliver, and don’t hesitate to share proper COAs and QA measures for an additional stamp of approval.
These are just some of the best practices premium cannabis companies deploy, and as more consumers turn to cannabis gummies, it is important to ensure they can easily spot the differences between standard and premium products on the market. Doing so means they will have a better chance at consuming cannabis gummies more safely and more effectively.
About the author: Mike Hennesy is VP of Innovation at Wana Brands, North America’s largest infused-edibles producer. Wana Brands leads the infused-edibles industry in quality, consistency and potency, providing a range of different options that enable customers to create the specific cannabis experience they want.