Jesus be a fence, a barbed wire gate or that wall #45 kept babbling about. We need your divine protection from this mess.??

If you haven’t heard by now, the company THC Living recently released a product called Canna Bumps: a cannabis powder designed to mimic taking a hit of cocaine i.e. doing a bump. While a few found the idea to be entertaining and eagerly anticipated that “pleasant drip” the manufacture advertised (before the product was quickly pulled off the market), many found the product to be problematic and here’s why:

  • A cannabis product that resembles harmful drugs hurts cannabis legalization efforts by diminishing the fact that cannabis is medicine. This prolongs the denial of proper medical treatment for millions of patients, as well as the unjust incarceration of thousands of people (especially people of color.)
  • Prohibitionists will continuously use this as an example of why cannabis should not be allowed to become fully legal when they speak to legislators and to the public. Again, resulting in the continuation of inadequate healthcare and the war on drugs (more appropriately termed – the war on people.)
  • According to reports, the label on the packaging did not disclose all of the ingredients in the product, so unnamed ingredients that are not safe for inhalation or insufflation may have caused medical harm to consumers. Remember the vape crisis? This was a health crisis, in which multiple people suffered from lung injury and some people even died due to vitamin E and other additives that should not have been in the vape oils in the first place. With all the barriers to overcome in this industry, we obviously don’t have time for people making cannabis look bad because they mixed it with a little somethin’ somethin’.

As an advocate for cannabis legalization (EQUITABLE cannabis legalization), I agree with all of those points for the most part, but let me speak as a medical professional for a minute. We know that cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine and other dangerous substances can be inhaled in a powder form. The reason people utilize this method is because the substances get into the bloodstream quickly, resulting in rapid onset of the “desired” effect. Rapid onset is great in certain circumstances, but what’s the cost in this situation? The powder could contain contaminants. The powder itself could cause harm by irritating the mucous membranes, resulting in inflammation, necrosis or the death of tissue, ulcers, bleeding, facial deformities and the lack of barrier protections. We need the mucous membranes and hair-like structures that are in our noses to keep harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and debris out of our sinuses and lungs so we don’t get serious infections. So, consuming harmful compounds or unhealthy preparations that would interfere with this protection (or have you looking crazy in these streets with a “cocaine nose”) is probably not the best idea.

Yes, cannabis is a very safe medication. It has fewer and less serious side effects than a lot of other medications, but there is a right and a wrong way to consume anything. There are nasal sprays and nebulizers that are thoughtfully formulated to safely allow rapid absorption of medications. This quickly made, devoid of sensible research and development product called Canna Bumps is not what’s up.

Wonder why I say that no common sense or scientific knowledge went into the production of this product? Well, after all the industry backlash, THC Living made this statement through their attorney:

“A few months ago, our client was approached by a third party that sought to utilize our client’s proprietary formulations in the creation of the Canna Bumps product. As soon as our client learned more about the product, it took the temperature of its customers and those in the industry to gauge how they felt about Canna Bumps. Because of its own concerns, those expressed by consumers, and the misgivings of those in the industry, our client made the decision to terminate any license granted to any third party that would use its proprietary information to produce or market a product like Canna Bumps.”

Say what now? “You ain’t got to lie Craig.” We all make mistakes THC Living. Admit it and do better.

Besides the fact that I’m not buying the company’s attempt to point fingers and take the blame off of themselves, their statement illustrates the point that I constantly preach: The cannabis industry needs you! Although there are many thoughtful and knowledgeable players in the industry, cannabis is still known as the Wild Wild West for a reason. A consistent and uniform approach to research, product development and regulation does not exist. Some people are making cannabis (hemp and marijuana) products without a strong background in chemistry and product formulation. Many legislators, governmental entities and regulatory bodies that are put in charge of making and enforcing the rules behind the cannabis products on your local shelves have little to no formal training in science, medicine or cannabis.

Will the real scientists and healthcare professionals please stand up? This is an opportunity for us, as Black STEM professionals, to transfer our knowledge and skills into an industry with a tremendous amount of potential for health and lifestyle benefits. The industry needs you to develop protocols for proper implementation, regulation and enforcement. The industry needs you to use your God-given talents to develop safe and effective products that push some of this mess off of dispensary shelves. Let me say it one last time for the people in the back:


– Dr. Kaya

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Dr. Kaya (Angela Ledbetter, MD) is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who is passionate about utilizing cannabis to decrease health and wealth disparities. Dr. Kaya founded 40 Acres And A Dispensary, an organization that educates the Black community on the vast opportunities in the cannabis industry and co-founded Indica PhD, an organization that provides cannabis health education to the Black community. She is a board member and the secretary of ACHEM (Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine), a professional organization for BIPOC healthcare professionals and students active or interested in cannabinoid medicine and health equity, as well as a coalition member of CHEM (Cannabis Health Equity Movement) and a co-creator of I Am Defining Me. Along with her cannabis industry education and cannabis health education work, Dr. Kaya actively advocates for equitable cannabis legislation within organizations like Minorities for Medical Marijuana and ACHEM.

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