New va­por­iz­ers help get pot dosage right

Dos­ing is an is­sue for the in­dus­try be­cause new­bies don’t know how much po­tent weed they can han­dle.

Los Angeles Times - - MONDAY BUSINESS - By Craig Gi­ammona Gi­ammona writes for Bloomberg.

A Colorado start-up says it’s solved one of the emerg­ing prob­lems in the le­gal cannabis in­dus­try: how to get the dose ex­actly right.

Gofire Inc. is rais­ing $5 mil­lion in a round that val­ues the Den­ver com­pany at al­most $30 mil­lion, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Peter Calfee said. Its high-end va­por­izer, backed by patents, will re­tail for $499. It doles out a pre­cise amount of mar­i­juana oil — 2.5 mil­ligrams — that is heated, turned into va­por and in­haled.

With le­gal ac­cess to cannabis spread­ing, the mar­i­juana in­dus­try is try­ing to de­mys­tify and re­brand the drug in a bid to broaden its reach be­yond es­tab­lished ston­ers. Dos­ing has be­come a hot topic, part of the pitch to the in­ex­pe­ri­enced cannabis con­sumers who are start­ing to visit dis­pen­saries to buy the po­tent weed that’s avail­able these days.

As the think­ing goes, the soccer mom swap­ping Chardon­nay for a vape pen as she tries to un­wind doesn’t have four hours to spend locked to the couch, so she needs a way to con­trol how much mar­i­juana she’s con­sum­ing.

Va­por­iz­ers, in­clud­ing dis­pos­able pens, are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar in le­gal cannabis mar­kets be­cause they’re dis­creet and gen­er­ally de­liver a lighter dose, which is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing part of the mar­ket­ing pitch.

Get­ting the dose right isn’t unique to mar­i­juana. Drinkers have been overindulging for about as long as al­co­hol has ex­isted, and it’s pretty easy to have too much wine and em­bar­rass your­self at the of­fice party.

The dif­fer­ence, in­dus­try ob­servers say, is that more and more con­sumers with lit­tle to no cannabis ex­pe­ri­ence are com­ing into the mar­ket, and they don’t know much about the prod­ucts or their tol­er­ance. And al­though most drinkers learn their lim­its, weed can be more un­pre­dictable. The con­cern is that new con­sumers will be turned off by a bad ex­pe­ri­ence, much like what hap­pened with Mau­reen Dowd.

The New York Times columnist ate too much of a cannabis choco­late bar dur­ing a visit to Colorado in 2014 and spent the next eight hours para­noid and hal­lu­ci­nat­ing in her ho­tel room.

“When you give a kid Be­nadryl, you don’t just give them the bot­tle and say swig it,” says Gun­ner Win­ston, a hedge fund veteran who now runs Do­sist, a Santa Mon­ica com­pany that makes vape pens. “There needs to be con­trol — with­out that, it can be scary.”

In­creas­ingly, cannabis con­sumers are mov­ing away from flower, the in­dus­try’s pre­ferred term for ac­tual bud. In 2018, vapes ac­counted for 20% of the mar­i­juana sales in Colorado, Ne­vada, Wash­ing­ton and Cal­i­for­nia, ac­cord­ing to the cannabis data firm Head­set. That was up from 10% in 2017.

Do­sist is one of the best­known brands of vape pens in Cal­i­for­nia, the world’s largest pot mar­ket. The sleek white de­vices are dis­pos­able, and one con­tain­ing mar­i­juana oil for 200 doses sells for $100. The prod­uct buzzes and shuts off af­ter the user in­hales for about three sec­onds, dol­ing out 2.25 mil­ligrams of weed.

Go­ing to a din­ner party? Maybe one puff is enough. Re­lax­ing with Net­flix on Fri­day night? That could be a dou­ble-dose oc­ca­sion.

“The idea is to take the guess­work out of cannabis,” Win­ston says.

High-end va­por­iz­ers are noth­ing new. Storz & Bickel, a pop­u­lar brand sold at dis­pen­saries, makes a de­vice called the Vol­cano Digit that sells for $599, while a por­ta­ble ver­sion, called Mighty, goes for $349. Heavy users have long seen va­por­iz­ers, which heat but don’t burn mar­i­juana, as a safer way to con­sume cannabis.

Pax Labs, which split from the e-cig­a­rette com­pany Juul, makes a pop­u­lar cannabis va­por­izer that first hit the mar­ket in 2012. Its lat­est, fully out­fit­ted model, Pax 3, costs $250 and can be used with a mo­bile app that lets the user set the tem­per­a­ture to heat the mar­i­juana and choose from set­tings — mi­cro, small, medium and large — that con­trol “draw strength.”

“Peo­ple want to get ex­actly the right feel,” says Bharat Vasan, Pax’s CEO. He com­pared dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ture set­tings to a drinker choos­ing among a shot, a beer or a glass of wine. “They want that pre­dictabil­ity and con­trol.”

Richard Vo­gel As­so­ci­ated Press

VA­POR­IZ­ERS, in­clud­ing dis­pos­able pens, are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar in le­gal cannabis mar­kets be­cause they’re dis­creet and gen­er­ally de­liver a lighter dose, which is in­creas­ingly part of the mar­ket­ing pitch.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.