Sometimes it seems like there is a tenuous thread of awareness between the needs of the elderly and the cannabis industry. The cannabis tincture my eighty-eight-old mother takes every evening, and the good night’s sleep she now consistently enjoys, has transformed her quality of life. But I’ve watched her struggle just to discern the lines on the dropper of the tincture, then release the medicine into her mouth instead of under her tongue.
That’s why I found Kin Slips sublingual strips so intriguing. They seemed like the perfect option for older adults who want a precisely dosed, fast-acting but easy-to-administer way to get their cannabis medicine.
Kin Slips are wafer-thin, cannabinoid- and terpene-infused strips that are placed under the tongue, where, depending on your level of hydration, they dissolve in just over a minute. The onset of effects, according to user feedback, averages about ten minutes. And they are manufactured in the company’s Oakland, California facility using all natural, sugar-free, vegan ingredients.
Straddling the line
Kin Slips, according to the company CEO, Josh Kirby, straddle the line between adult- and medicinal use. This is evident from the branding of the company’s four product lines.
“Cloud Buster” and “Float On” are both THC-dominant, and suggest mood-enhancing effects intended to emulate an energizing “sativa” and relaxing “indica,” respectively.
The other two, “Park Life” and “Shut Eye,” are CBD formulations, which suggest more straightforward medicinal effects without crossing any regulatory red lines. Park Life has 10 mg of CBD and 1 mg THC, and is designed specifically for relaxation and anxiety relief. Shut Eye, as the name suggests, uses a combination of 5 mg of CBD and 5 mg of CBN as a sleep enhancer.
The absence of THC in this sleep-aid will make it even more attractive for older adults who are leery of psychoactivity and nighttime anxiety that THC in a product like this may cause.
The different effects purportedly delivered are derived from the proprietary blends of cannabinoids and terpenes in each formulation. And according to Kirby, the company’s product range is intended to cover the most desired cannabis effects.
Getting that microdose
Both Cloud Buster and Float On come in two potencies – 10 mg and 5 mg of THC per strip, the latter being marketed as a “microdose” option. For older adults, among many others, even 5 mg of THC can be too high an initial dose.
According to Kirby, the 5 mg “microdose” product was developed just before the standard for microdosing THC – at least unofficially – shifted to 2.5 mg. Let’s hope this is indeed the case.
In the meantime, the strips are easily cut into halves or even quarters with relative precision. After snipping two 2.5 mg quarters of Cloud Buster, a friend and I enjoyed several productive hours developing her business plan.
Material, form and function
Coming up with a product that is consistent in texture and distribution of active ingredients, shelf-stable, produced entirely of plant-based materials, that dissolves under the tongue and can be packaged without any paper backing, is the work of Kirby, an autodidact with a heightened awareness of material, form and function.
In terms of a sublingual product, Kin Slips can be considered comparable in efficacy to tinctures – a type of cannabis product clearly favored by older adults. But the shortcoming of tinctures for this population is in the administration. As Kirby explains, “If you administer a tincture perfectly, it should work the same as a Kin Slip, but that is almost impossible to do every single time.” Kin Slips handily resolve that problem.
The company’s target demographic centers on stay-at-home moms who are switching from wine to cannabis, and young, tech professionals who want their creativity enhanced but can’t smoke in the workplace. But, Kirby explains, they believe their biggest opportunity may be with older adults who are recently retired, experiencing pain or sleep issues, and are open to exploring cannabis products.
Kin Slips are currently available only in California. But until the company expands its offerings into other states, they can be great to enjoy during a trip to the Golden State.
Now that Kin Slips have evolved from a novelty to legitimate niche product, the next step, according to Kirby, is to take them mainstream. Considering how they meet the unique needs of the older adult population – a discreet, easy-to-use, and fast-acting solution for pain, sleep and enhanced mood – that shouldn’t be too great an obstacle.
In the meantime, like just about any cannabis product, whether the Kin Slips formulations actually deliver the effects they promise will be up to the individual user to decide. According to Dr. Michelle Newhart, co-author of The Medicalization of Marijuana, ”… I still think we are in a (cannabis) world where these labels are aspirational and individuals still have to experiment to find products and doses that have the effects they are seeking.”
Fortunately, with appropriate microdosing options, this kind of experimentation can be safe, comfortable and may even ultimately provide the sleep, pain relief and mood enhancement that older adults so adamantly seek.