Cannabis-infused mints offer consumers more benefits than fresher breath and a pop of flavor.
Manufacturers say mints also provide a quick, easy, and precisely-dosed method for delivering cannabis, whether the end consumer is new to edibles or a seasoned connoisseur.
“There’s not much to dislike about mints for a cannabis-infused product,” said Megan Coffey, lab manager, R&D, Cresco Labs, Chicago. “They are conveniently small in size, easy to carry, offer discreet consumption, and a fun way to share a light buzz. Mints have often been a shareable product — we all grew up with Altoids tins and Icebreakers’ share-tab packaging. It’s a product that has been normalized for individual and shareable experiences.”
Coffey also pointed to the nutritional and structural advantages mints have over other confectionery edibles.
“Mints are usually lower in sugar than other edible options and avoid most dietary restrictions or allergens,” she says. “They do not have the risk of melting like gelatin-based gummies, chews, or chocolate.”
Despite these benefits, mints occupy a relatively small portion of the cannabis market. BDSA, Boulder, CO, reports that in the second quarter of 2022, mints brought in $3 million in dollar sales in California, representing less than 1% of total dollar sales, roughly 2% of edible sales, and approximately 3% of infused candy sales. Across BDSA-tracked markets that allow most edible formats — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada and Oregon — mints made up approximately 2% of infused candy sales.
But that means there is room to grow.
“The cannabis mint market is picking up traction as the ease and versatility of a low-dose edible becomes more and more recognized,” said Kristi Palmer, co-founder of Kiva Confections, Oakland, CA.
Product positioning and manufacturing
Considering the consumer is an important stage in product development, and when it comes to cannabis-infused mints, they can meet the needs of several specific demographics.
Kevin Moses, director of marketing, Verano, Chicago, pointed to three potential uses for the company’s Encore mints.
“Given Encore Mints are typically a relatively low-dose product at 5 mg THC, they are appealing to a newer, less experienced consumer,” Moses said. “However, they are versatile, allowing for a more experienced consumer to consume sublingually for a more rapid onset experience, or they can be used in multiples over time to control dosage.”
Cannabis-infused mints can serve parents who are looking for some relaxation or stress relief without going overboard.
“My sister is a new mom who doesn’t like edibles, but claims she loves our Wonder Laugh Minis, praising them for ‘exactly what a mom needs: just a little something to take the edge off and be completely present’ with her family,” Coffey said. “With Wonder Minis at 3 mg THC and below, they offer the perfect microdose to enhance your daily life.”
Palmer noted cannabis-infused mints, such as Kiva’s Petra line, can also serve as a stepping stone to exploring other cannabis-infused products.
“They are a perfect entry-level edible to gently introduce people to cannabis,” Palmer said. “Often, Petra opens the door to new users who eventually ‘graduate’ to our other products, including our terpene-tailored Camino Gummies, and cold water hash-infused Kiva Chocolate Bars and Terra Bites, which often offer higher doses of THC.”
Precise dosing is a must for any edible format, but the margins for accuracy are much tighter for mints. For example, if a state’s regulations allow a variance of 10%, a product with 3 mg of cannabinoids must fall within a range of 2.7 and 3.3 mg.
Dialing in the pill press is essential, Palmer says, not only for achieving the right level of hardness but also for precise dosing.
“The mint equipment is able to create incredibly precisely-dosed products with its manufacturing precision,” Palmer says. “For microdosed edibles, this is very important since you are dealing with low or sensitive tolerance consumers.”
Managing environmental factors is also critical to avoid product degradation.
“The biggest challenge with tablet pressing is considering the humidity in the manufacturing space and finished product storage,” Coffey says. “The summer months in most regions create higher humidity environments, which can be an ongoing battle unless it is carefully controlled in the facility. I recommend having small digital hygrometers in the kitchen, ingredient storage and finished good storage, plus keeping track of the daily data in case an issue arises. Daily data can help troubleshoot the root cause.”
Products on the market
Cresco Labs introduced its Wonder Wellness Minis in Illinois in 2020 in three formulations designed to encourage specific mood states for their consumers.
“They want to be productive in some way while experiencing the edible, whether it’s to ‘Laugh’ at a birthday party, ‘Relax’ while binge-watching their favorite Netflix show, or ‘Sleep’ to promote a good night's rest,” Coffey said. “The THC dosage is low, but it has powerful ratios with minor cannabinoids and a specially curated medley of botanical terpenes to promote each feel state.”
Coffey notes Cresco Labs is reformulating the Wonder Wellness Minis, amping up the flavor and terpenes and revamping the cannabinoid ratios to further support the need cases. Each Laugh mint has a Tangerine flavor, 2.5 mg THC, and pure turmeric extract. Relax comes in a Blueberry flavor, and features 5 mg CBD and 2.5 mg THC. It includes lemon balm extract to help promote relaxation.
The Sleep variety features a Plum flavor with 2.5 mg THC, 2.5 mg CBD and 2.5 mg CBN in each. It also features chamomile extract and 1 gram of melatonin per piece.
Coffey added Cresco plans to introduce Sunnyside Mints in Florida’s medical market in Indica Mixed Berry, Sativa Tangerine and Hybrid Watermelon varieties.
“The flavors are bright and juicy with a cooling mint sensation at 5 mg THC in each mint,” Coffey said.
Verano’s Encore Mints are available in four varieties: Wintermint, Wildberry, and Cinnamon — all with 5 mg THC — as well as 1:1 Tangerine with 5 mg THC and 5 mg CBD.
“The consumer response to Encore Mint edibles has been fantastic,” Moses said. “Encore Mints continue to be a strong part of our overall Encore edibles portfolio, especially for the less-experienced cannabis consumer.”
Palmer, who conceptualized Kiva’s Petra mints, says the mint format lends itself well to sweet and fruity flavors. The Petra line includes Moroccan Mint, Tart Cherry, and Pineapple — all with 2.5 mg THC per piece — as well as Cinnamon CBD with 2.5 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD, and Citrus CBD with 2.5 mg CBD and 0.2 mg THC per piece.
“Since Petra appeals to so many different kinds of audiences and tastes, it was important to us to create flavors with mass appeal, which is why you’ll see flavors like Cherry, Pineapple, and Citrus in our lineup instead of more exotic fruits,” Palmer said. “As for dosage…it’s important to us that Petra always stays close to its low-dose roots.”
Kiva recently introduced Petra Blackberry CBN, which features 2 mg THC and 1 mg CBN per piece. The brand’s first mood-targeting mint is designed to promote rest.
“We are always thinking up new flavors, dosages, and cannabinoid combinations for all of our products, including Petra, and are excited to continue building this brand and its offerings in a way that delights and even surprises our fans,” Palmer said.