As the cannabis industry continues to grow, successful entrepreneurs are separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Cheeba Chews, based in Colorado, has raced to the forefront of the “medibles” marketplace.
Whoever uttered the words “If there’s no candy in heaven, I’m not going!” undoubtedly possessed a prodigious sweet tooth. However, we wonder what they’d have to say if they ever tried Cheeba Chews, which pretty much negate the need for such an ultimatum -- because Cheeba Chews provide a bit of cannabis- induced paradise right here on earth!
Most members of the cannabis community have sampled a cannabis treat of some kind. And everyone has heard tales -- or has a harrowing one of their own -- featuring an extreme psychoactive experience. Then there’s the flip side: stories of “medibles” (marijuana edibles) causing coma-like sleep.
And that’s the problem: lack of consistency. Many of us simply seek the cozy, stress-free euphoria that cannabis offers -- without having to inhale. More importantly for patients, relief from pain and stress shouldn’t have to be a mind- bending adventure into the unknown.
The pot brownie, of course, is the best-known medible, an iconic hippie relic from a half-century ago that remains popular. But James Howler, the CEO of Cheeba Chews, recalls his experience purchasing brownies in Colorado dispensaries as the state’s cannabis industry was getting underway.
“I remember I bought one -- and nothing!” he says. “When I went back, I bought the same brand of brownie and it knocked me to the floor. I mean for a day! There was no consistency; nobody was testing each batch.”
That was the starting point for Cheeba Chews, the award-winning cannabis candy company based in Boulder, CO. In 2009, James was a legal medical grower who produced hash oil from his trim. He’d sell it to compassion clubs an ounce at a time. But “if it was today,” he says, “Cheeba Chews wouldn’t have gotten started -- right now, you can’t get enough hash oil. But I had extra oil, so that’s how I got started.”
He was intrigued by the increasing demand for medibles, but he didn’t want to get into the brownie market. “Who wants to choke down a whole brownie?” James asks rhetorically. “I wanted to make something smaller, something that doesn’t go bad. And I didn’t want to make a cannabis tincture or a capsule. I wanted a product that appeals to everyone.”
And he succeeded. Cheeba Chews is far and away the most successful medible company in America, with unmatched name recognition.
If you buy aspirin or liquor, for instance, you want to feel assured that what you’re purchasing is what you expect and nothing less. That’s why Cheeba Chews’ motto is “Potent. Consistent. Discreet.” Medical consumers need assurance of their medicine’s dosage and physical effects, as well as the ability to keep their medication a private, personal matter.
“A Cheeba Chew allows you to take your dose, wrap it back up and put it in your pocket,” James says. “It’s small, discreet -- something you can take in public. Nobody will know. You can be sitting next to some- one on a plane and eat a Cheeba Chew.”
So what are Cheeba Chews exactly? It’s not uncommon for them to be compared to Tootsie Rolls, the chewy chocolate candy that’s been around since 1896. Fortunately, Cheeba Chews’ ingredients are a bit more natural, with no hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat) or artificial flavors.
Cheeba Chews “flavors” include Sativa Chocolate Taffy, Hybrid Chocolate Taffy and Indica Chocolate Taffy, each of which contains 70 mg of THC. There’s also a Deca Chocolate Taffy that, at 175 mg of THC, contains two and a half times the medicine of the others. All of the Chews can be easily broken up into individual doses. Cheeba Chews has also introduced CBD Chocolate Taffy, with a ratio of 50 mg of THC to 20 mg of CBD. (CBD, or cannabidiol, is the remarkable cannabinoid that has been shown by research to have a variety of healing powers without a psy- choactive effect. Bear in mind, however, that THC has healing powers of its own.)
Each of the various Cheeba Chews provides the experience one might expect from a sativa (uplifting and energetic) or an indica (calming and relaxing), with the Hybrid Chocolate Taffy called a “satisfying compromise.”
Here’s some general Cheeba Chew dosage information, which can vary from per- son to person. A single dose (17.5 mg THC) is equivalent to one or two bowl hits; a double dose (35 mg THC) would be like three or four bowl hits; a “quad dose” (70 mg THC) is like smoking your own joint; and a “deca dose” (175 mg THC) is for high- tolerance patients only. It’s recommended that you try Cheeba Chews in light doses and monitor your personal capacity.
Cheeba Chews has also launched two new lines of cannabis candies. Fruit Flavored Gummies are chewy, unassuming morsels of medicine, and Trics are flavored lozenges with different potencies. Each item is cut within precise weight tolerances, ensuring consistent medicinal effects every time for patients. The cannabis extract used in Cheeba Chews products is made in-house to guarantee complete control over the entire process. Every single batch of extract is tested for THC, CBD and CBN content. The edibles are also tested on a monthly basis, so Cheeba Chews can continue to boast that its products are the most potent and con- sistent cannabis edible on the market.
Cheeba Chews employs a staff of 10, which includes kitchen personnel and the company brain trust comprising James and his two partners, Dave Maggio and Eric Leslie. As the company has grown more successful -- winning the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup for Best Edible in both 2011 and 2012 -- imitators have started cropping up, copying both the packaging and product.
“I guess that’s a sign of the industry maturing,” Dave says. “But we’re secure in the packaging and the presentation of our product. So we always try to get back to what’s made us successful.”
“Right,” says Eric, “it’s something we talk about a lot: How do we present ourselves? How do we continually innovate? If people are mimicking us, how do we now innovate a little bit further to keep ourselves ahead of everybody else? As the industry evolves and grows, how do we stay ahead of trends? In any industry, that’s the biggest challenge: How do we build better relationships so that people continue to trust the brand?”
Unlike many successful cannabusiness owners on the current scene, James, Dave and Eric have chosen to keep their profile low. Instead, they want their product to be the star. With Cheeba Chews selling at the rate of 10,000 every five days in Colorado alone, they want the focus to remain on the quality of their product, not their personalities or political views.
The fact is that Colorado law has now cleared the way for cannabis commerce. Once you’ve been licensed by the state to make a legal cannabis product that consumers crave -- a situation that most of America can hardly fathom -- there’s no need to put yourself out there as the “face” of Cheeba Chews. The medibles speak for themselves... loud and clear.