By its very nature, the cannabis industry has always drawn those who don’t accept the norm, who seek new ways of doing things. That inclination can extend to the medicine itself because, while cannabis may be good for you, the usual way of consuming it—smoking—isn’t so salubrious. Here are three companies who are trying to make taking your medicine easier and healthier.
Edibles can sometimes be a bit difficult to manage—dosing can be uncertain in prepackaged products and all manner of things can go wrong while making them at home. Pot-O-Coffee tries to make it as easy as possible, with cannabis-infused coffee in a Keurig-style cup.
Mark Englestead, founder of Pot-O-Coffee, cites “the convenience factor, the fact that most of the adult-use markets require single-serve portions” and “issues with proper dosing of edibles. It really made sense to focus on the single-serve product.” For those who only have a traditional coffee machine, Pot-O-Coffee is also available in one-serving pouches and they make tea, cocoa, and a decaf blend. Some of Englestead’s partners used to run a coffee company in Florida, so they are as familiar with the bean as they are the bud.
Pot-O-Coffee also offers CBD-specific products and is working on developing more variety in both flavors and medical effects. “We’re working on some limited-edition strain-specific blends—maybe a Chocolope chocolate coffee or a Tangie orange zinger tea,” says Englestead, adding that, “We want to use the purest possible concentrates and with current technology those very pure concentrates are kind of devoid of most of the terpenes and flavanoids…we’re looking at what terpenes we can add back in that will give a beneficial result without affecting the flavor of the coffee or tea.” Pot-O-Coffee is currently available in California, is expanding into Colorado and is hoping to finalize a deal for the Nevada market.
Many cannabis consumers are comfortable using the classic methods, but wish smoking could be a little less stressful on the lungs and other body parts. KashIt offers a variety of accessories that “make smoking more convenient,” according to John Sethi, president of KashIt Inventions, who wanted to find a method of “cooling the smoke down, making it smoother, easier on the patients…we felt that medicating, especially with herbs was very harsh on the lungs.” Thus, the KashIt Cool, a mouthpiece with a coil condenser chills the smoke, as well as antimicrobial properties.
“For patients with medical issues like arthritis or PTSD, our gadgets are actually very convenient for them,” says Sethi. KashIt makes a vacuum pipe/device cleaner that saves effort (and delicate glassware) and is developing an electronic grinder. “It’s targeted toward medical patients who have intense joint pain. It’s going to be the first USB rechargeable grinder where you simply press a button and it grinds your product for you,” he explains.
Of course there are some methods of smoking cannabis that go past modifications and straight into inventing something new. The CannaCloud is a vaporizer system that uses pre-packaged “cannacups” of product, much like a Keurig coffee machine. The idea was born when CannaKorp CIO Michael Bourque tried medical marijuana and found that the experience of buying and smoking it “was horrible,” he says, “I realized there isn’t a really simple way to do this. I tried 20 or so different types of vaporizers—every new one was like learning to play another musical instrument.”
Since Bourque is an engineer, he began building prototypes on a 3-D printer and had his eureka moment: “If we could put it in a small container, build a vaporizer, make these things work together—we could offer ease of use, simplicity, convenience, we could control dosage.”
Since CannaKorp, the development company is located in Boston, the home of Keurig, “we could leverage a lot of the ecosystem,” according to COO James Winokur, and former Keurig designers and executives have been involved in the project. “I think there’s a lot of room for different kinds of devices and delivery systems,” he says, “ours is a much more approachable, more controlled experience.” CannaCloud vaporizers and CannaCup pods will be available in dozens of strains and varieties in select markets in late 2016/early 2017.
“To do what we’re doing is pretty hard, but we’re going to make it easy for the consumer,” says Bourque. Sethi agrees, stating that “one of the things we’re most excited about is the untapped creativity in the market.” And who knows where—or what—that creativity will lead to next.