THC Gummy Bears: A Primer

Gummy bears with THC and their benefits.

THC gummy bears are wildly popular among those who consume legal cannabis. Image Credit: By Surasak Klinmontha on shutterstock.

Search around the internet for information on marijuana-infused gummy bears, and you’ll be treated to some peak Reefer Madness-esque hysteria.

Most reporting on the subject focuses on the child-friendly nature of the cannabis gummy, highlighting lawmakers’ worst-fear scenarios, which tend to involve kids accidentally ingesting these appealing edibles. In Florida in 2018, a 12-year-old handed out gummy bears with THC in them to his middle-school classmates, sending five to the hospital with symptoms like stomach pain, dizziness, and nausea, and prompting a Fox & Friends TV show segment to claim (without evidence) that THC gummies are “ruining families and killing people every day across the United States.”

Around Halloween time, cannabis-infused gummy candies have become the new apple-with-a-razor-blade bogeyman, generating warnings in both the media and from government sources, warning about a danger that’s never been substantiated by so much as one actual case.

And of course, there are news reports of the packaging and labeling restrictions that lawmakers and regulators in some states have put on the more appealingly-shaped gummies. In California you can’t call them “candy” — those with a sweet tooth have to check the packaging to ensure their gummies have the requisite sugar. And in both that state and Colorado, the cannabis industry is prohibited from making gummies in the shape of “humans, animals, or fruit.” Washington state is taking their restrictions a step further, limiting both the shapes and colors that gummies can take, requiring THC gummy manufacturers to select from a Pantone-type guide of unstimulating approved colors.

On the other side of things are the growing number of consumers who value THC gummies for non-child-endangering reasons. Some like their modest 5–10 mg portions of THC, others use them for medical marijuana applications, and others seem to be principally motivated by nostalgia for the candies of their youth.

While the numbers for THC gummies are hard to pin down, a look at the CBD gummy market should be instructive. Green Entrepreneur put the growth of the CBD gummy market at 925 percent for 2018, with no signs of slowing down. A number of industry experts have connected the THC and CBD gummy trends, which makes sense when considering the evolution of THC’s medical applications, and the growing recognition that this oft-maligned cannabinoid is good for more than just getting high.

5 Quick Facts About THC Gummy Bears

THC gummy bears are incredibly popular — in fact, some might argue that they’re too appealing for their own good. They’ve been banned in places like Colorado and Washington, and it’s widely assumed that Canada will pass similar restrictions when announcing its national policy on cannabis edibles later this year.

Here are a few other interesting facts about THC gummy bears:

  1. They’re great for microdosing. In the Los Angeles Times, dispensary owner Nick Danias said that THC gummies and other edibles have proved particularly popular with new cannabis users who might be reluctant to use cannabis in less precise ways, like smoking or vaping. “Edibles companies have been able to offer consumers microdosing that allows for a controlled amount of THC to be ingested,” he said. Gummies are ideally suited for such purposes, since their straightforward dosages — ex. 5 mg of THC per gummy — allow users to calculate their intake with more precision than other edibles like cookies or brownies.
  2. They’re often branded with the letters ‘THC’. Required by law in many states, this is a child-safety measure which is often accompanied by a vague directive to not make them look too “appealing to children.” It’s worth keeping this in mind if you’re the type of person who likes to bring cannabis edibles with you when you fly.
  3. You can make them at home. If you’re in California, Colorado, Washington, or one of the other states with a ban against making THC gummies in that familiar shape, you should be comforted by the knowledge that cannabis-infused gummy bears are very easy to make. YouTube cooking personalities such as Jeff the 420 Chef and Gaia 5D both have recipes, and if these aren’t to your liking, there’s no shortage of alternatives elsewhere on the internet.
  4. Some are healthy, but others have sky-high calorie counts. One 10-pack of Edipure’s 10 mg THC Sour Gummi Bears contains 1,110 calories — the same as two McDonald’s Big Macs. On the other hand, gluten-free Sour Bhotz gummies pack in 75 mg of THC along with only 20 calories per piece.
  5. Older people love them. Despite the steep price tag, they’re proven exceptionally popular with older customers. For example, when the Ohio Cannabis Company first introduced THC gummies to the state in May 2019, they retailed at $80 for a pack of 11 — and they sold out in a matter of days. “We have a lot of patients with a lung condition,” as dispensary employee Missy Bethel told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We have older patients who have never smoked before so they’re not interested in vaping.”
Ed Weinberg
Ed Weinberg
Ed Weinberg is an American journalist who’s written stories on everything from cannabis to textiles, architecture, urban exploration, and culture in Vietnam, where he spent seven years. Previous to freelance writing, he held senior editorial positions at Word Vietnam and the Vietnam Investment Review.

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