Chewing gums are not “gums” and have a long history of successful use in controlled delivery formulations of many substances.
Among the advantages they offer are:
- Gradual release, stable blood levels – Like nicotine gums, the release of the active ingredients is gradual and continuous as the gum is chewed. Some of the absorption is through the oral (buccal) membranes and some results from swallowed saliva. Most other methods of delivery create a spike in blood levels with possible unwanted side effects. This is particularly problematic for medical marijuana users. Unlike recreational users, for medical users the psychoactive effect of THC (“the high”) is often an unwanted side effect which interferes with patients’ daily functioning ability.
- Social acceptance – Chewing gum is socially accepted and discreet for use in a workspace, compared to smoking, vaping, and other inhalant routes.
- Dose titration – The patient can easily control dosing simply by chewing more to raise blood levels or stopping chewing to halt the rise in blood levels. Once the desired therapeutic effect—such as pain control or anxiety control—is achieved, one can simply stop chewing. In contrast, once edibles (such as gummies) are swallowed, there is no way of decreasing blood levels except to wait.
- Medical acceptance – Chewing gums (such as nicotine gum) are well-accepted in medical practice and are seen as a medical product by physicians and patients.
- Efficient delivery – Chewing a medicinal gum allows the portion that is absorbed through the buccal membranes to avoid the first pass through the liver.
- Popular appeal – Gum will be a preferred choice for many patients. Flavoring and coloring are easily added to improve user experience.
- Ease of Use – Chewing gum is portable, efficient, convenient, quick and easy to administer.
- Safety – Chewing gums are intrinsically safer than other oral (edible) forms. Gums release only as they are chewed, and release from swallowed gum is extremely slow.