Med­i­cal mar­i­juana plays it safe

A new com­pany is bring­ing trans­parency to med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

Fast Company - - Contents - By Claire Dod­son Il­lus­tra­tion by The Project Twins

Hm­bldt of­fers an of­te­nun­pre­dictable sub­stance a dose of pre­ci­sion.

Hm­bldt, a startup based in Los An­ge­les, wants to make med­i­cal mar­i­juana as pre­dictable as Advil. Now le­gal in 29 states, cannabis is in­creas­ingly used to treat con­di­tions rang­ing from nag­ging headaches to Parkin­son’s. But it doesn’t al­ways de­liver de­pend­able relief: There are more than 700 strains, each pro­duc­ing a dif­fer­ent ef­fect, and tak­ing the right amount can be tricky. “We know that [mar­i­juana] has all these in­cred­i­ble ben­e­fits, but it’s re­ally hard to tai­lor your ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Hm­bldt co­founder Matt Seashols.

To cre­ate more con­sis­tent med­i­ca­tions, Seashols be­gan by hir­ing sci­en­tists to iden­tify which of the 483 known chem­i­cal com­pounds in cannabis are re­spon­si­ble for spe­cific phys­i­o­log­i­cal ef­fects, such as eu­pho­ria or drowsi­ness. The re­sult: Hm­bldt’s six con­cen­trated oil for­mu­las, which mix and match com­pounds to tar­get spe­cific con­di­tions, in­clud­ing anx­i­ety, in­som­nia, and pain. To de­liver a con­trolled and “re­peat­able” ex­pe­ri­ence, Seashols part­nered with a team of engi­neers to de­velop a va­por­izer pen that ac­ti­vates the for­mula and vi­brates when a sin­gle, 2.25-mil­ligram dose has been ad­min­is­tered. The de­vice is an im­prove­ment on stan­dard pens, which don’t reg­u­late dose, and on other meth­ods of tak­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana, such as joints and ed­i­bles. On the back of each Hm­bldt pack­age, there’s even a food-la­bel­style list of in­gre­di­ents that de­tails the for­mula’s con­cen­tra­tion of ac­tive in­gre­di­ents like THC and CBD. The spare, earthy brand­ing (cour­tesy of the de­sign firm Anom­aly, an early in­vestor in Hm­bldt) evokes the hy­per­trans­par­ent aes­thetic you might find on or­ganic pack­aged food.

Since Hm­bldt launched in Septem­ber, its prod­ucts have been sold at more than 150 dis­pen­saries through­out Cal­i­for­nia. “Peo­ple want some­thing that res­onates with them like the rest of the stuff in their medicine cab­i­net or kitchen pantry,” says CEO Gun­ner Win­ston. “For us, it’s not about get­ting high. It’s about health.”

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