Blow Bubbles with Ganja Gum

When a young Betty Hess got sick, her grandmother created a holistic concoction and fed it to her with a spoon. “Just drink that, it’ll do ya,” Hess’ grandmother would say. “I never knew what it was,” Hess said. “But whatever it was made me feel better.” This memory of her grandmother inspired the logo for Cannabis Comforts, a small spoon with green liquid pouring off of it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 12.43.34 PMCannabis Comforts is a medicinal cannabis company that produces Ganja Gum – a chewable tincture. The classic bubblegum flavored edible produces more of a body high than a psychoactive effect because of its sublingual delivery.

Hess got into the edible industry years ago when she lived in Washington. After being diagnosed with diverticulitis and osteoporosis she found herself taking more pills than she could count. “At that point I had to find a better way,” Hess said. She used other botanicals for holistic medicine her whole life and decided to turn to cannabis.

Hess created Ganja Gum in her father’s memory. On Dec. 6, 2006, her father passed away at 88 years old. His last few days in the hospital he was unable to eat or drink. He could, however, chew gum. As a last chance to give her father what he wanted, Hess went to the grocery store and bought every kind of gum she saw.

Years later in 2011, Hess was cleaning out her garaged. She moved a box and found a bag. It was her father’s belongings from the hospital five years prior. “I pulled out his pjs and in the bottom there were all these packs of gum,” she recalled. As she looked at the gum, she realized only certain ones were missing – the old fashioned bubble gum.

“It was an epiphany,” Hess said. She went to the computer and researched gum for hours. After being horrified about what gum was made of, she was set on figuring out how to make organic, non-GMO, vegan gum. It just so happened that the only place she could get the products to make this gum was the small town her father was born in. “It was meant to be,” Hess said. “I honestly give credit to the Holy Spirit.”

This happened soon after Hess got into the edible cannabis industry, and from her research Ganja Gum was born. Initially it was called Cannabis Comforts chewing gum. It wasn’t until earlier this year that Hess decided to rebrand and call it Ganja Gum.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 12.43.40 PMA problem Hess saw with edibles was that their large size. “When you’re sick, you don’t have an appetite,” she said. She wanted something that delivered the medicine in one or two bites and something that tastes good. “My medicinals are small but strong,” she said. “Just like me.”

One thing that makes Cannabis Comforts different, Hess said, is she makes the candy from scratch. She is currently working on patenting her recipe. Hess also said that she never takes anything to market without testing it. “When you read my dosage it is accurate and it’s all activated,” she said. As of right now, the only product Cannabis Comforts has is Ganja Gum. More is to come, though. Within two months the company will be coming out with a candy line including: sea salt caramel, watermelon chew, apple chew, vanilla and chocolate.

Hess brought in two team members around May this year, Brandon Guthrie and Oliver Devlin. She said Devlin may be young but he is an old soul. “He’s got this business mind that is like a machine.” Hess said Guthrie, on the other hand, is very knowledgable about the cannabis plant. “I trust them.” Hess said. “We work well as a team and they support me knowing that I have to do good with my company.”

Most of Hess’ clients are older. Something Hess loves about the cannabis industry it the juxtaposition. “Where else are you going to see the multi-pierced, multi-tattooed guy talking to the granny?” she asked.

Hess knows the cannabis industry has a bad reputation but she hopes that seeing people like her will change it. Her goal for Cannabis Comforts is to help children and vets with PTSD. “Those are the two groups of people that are being screwed by our government,” she said.

She is also looking into using CBD strains in the gum. One of the most famous uses for CBD is treating seizures. “My dream is to see every little kid with epilepsy blowing bubbles with Ganja Gum.”

Emerald contributor since March 2012

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