In late August, the Florida Department of Health finalized regulations for companies to make and sell edible cannabis products, and since then a number of new edibles have hit the marketplace. "We were definitely excited," says Yesenia Garcia, the director of marketing for the southeast region for Curaleaf, which operates 33 medical marijuana dispensaries around Florida, including one in Sarasota, and 96 nationwide.
Curaleaf recently launched its first edible product, Nano Chews, designed to kick in more quickly than traditional edibles, which often take 45 to 60 minutes to take effect. Nano Chews, created with a "nanoemulsion" technology, begin to bring relief in as little as 15 minutes, Garcia says. The company will begin rolling out a slower-moving Classic Chew product later this week. Other companies have begun offering bite-sized cannabis gels and even chocolate bars and cookies.
The state health department's decision in August created a host of rules that manufacturers must follow when making edibles. They cannot contain color additives, and each product must be cleared by the state. They also can't be branded with flashy markings or symbols, so they're noot confused with candy.
Garcia says the Nano Chews are ideal for people with specific conditions who can't wait for the cannabis to kick in. "It's about quicker relief if you want to get on with your day," she says. "If you have arthritis, waiting an hour or an hour and a half is probably not the most effective treatment."
At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Curaleaf did see a spike in orders, Garcia says, mostly from patients who were concerned that dispensaries might shut down and wanted to stock up. Curaleaf offers curbside pickup at its dispensaries, as well as free shipping around the state if you don't have a store nearby.
While Curaleaf doesn't have access to the information about the conditions behind medical marijuana prescriptions, Garcia says she's had conversations with physicians who have seen an uptick in patients struggling with anxiety who are interested in cannabis. "Patients are looking for ways of getting through everything and are looking more for natural remedies," Garcia says.
Curaleaf's Sarasota dispensary is located at 1435 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, and is open 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. For more info, call (941) 957-9122 or visit the Curaleaf website.