Kristina Etter   |   July 09, 2020

Tech Innovations Promote Responsible Cannabis Consumption

From social responsibility to dosing accuracy and safer inhalation, cannabis technologies are improving the consumer experience.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

Last year, archeologists in China discovered some of the earliest recorded artifacts of cannabis consumption that turned out to be about 2,500 years old. It was determined through chromatographic analysis that wooden bowls recovered in an ancient cemetery, as well as the stones within them, contained traces of cannabinol (CBN). Like a rudimentary incense burner, the researchers suspect the ancient civilization would place cannabis in the bowl and then place hot coals or rocks on top of the psychoactive plant material to inhale the smoke, possibly as a funeral ritual.

Cannabis consumption has evolved steadily throughout the generations. Although many veteran smokers likely remember smoking marijuana from a crushed soda can at some point in their lives, there are many things we “used to” do that we now understand just simply weren’t safe. As we learn more about cannabis through science and research, technology is evolving to provide better, more reliable, more socially responsible methods for consuming the herb.

Cannabis Smoke is Still Smoke

Smoking, regardless of the material, comes with hazards. Particulate matter and hot embers suspended in the smoke can irritate the lungs, esophagus, throat, and mouth. While questions regarding whether or not cannabis smoke is as harmful as tobacco smoke remain a great debate, many consumers prefer not to smoke, and some may have health conditions that prevent smoking.

Additionally, the other downside to smoking is controlling the smoke and odor. Just as it is considered taboo to smoke tobacco in many public places, smoking cannabis in public is frowned upon. Fortunately, with legalization and commercialization, now consumers have the option to vape. And, whether they choose to vape cannabis oils or cannabis flower, several new technologies have set the bar in consumption tech.

The Era of Cannabis Information

Data is changing the game in cannabis consumption. From DNA analysis to stringent laboratory testing and precision dosage control, consumers are demanding more information about the cannabis products they use.

Today’s cannabis consumers, especially medical patients, want to know the details of what they are inhaling. Although many vaping companies have raced to create a better vaping experience, many of these devices require proprietary cartridges, which create bottlenecks in production, distribution, and sales.

Enter Mode

This startup technology is more than a run-of-the-mill battery. Mode is a smart vaporization device and companion app that’s compatible with 99% of standard (510 threaded) cartridges used by numerous brands and provides valuable usage data directly to the user.

With Mode, consumers receive detailed information regarding dosage and concentrate characteristics. By inputting the potency data of the cartridge into the app, the device uses a real-time algorithm to calculate the precise dose based on the amount of material vaporized. This was a massive undertaking, as the characteristics of both the hardware (cartridge) and the concentrate vary greatly from brand to brand and strain to strain. Eventually, by partnering with concentrate brands and testing labs, Mode plans to provide consumers with current, easily digestible lab results.

Additionally, Mode allows consumers to adjust the dosage each time with control features and an OLED screen built directly onto the device. Users set their dose, inhale, and the device will vibrate when they’ve reached the programmed amount. Through the consumer dashboard, Mode provides detailed dosage plans, product information, a feedback loop, personalized recommendations, and consumption analytics. The technology is fantastic for those who want more control over their experience, seasoned veterans, and novice cannabis users alike.

Speaking with Mark Wagner, one of the founders at Mode, he discussed how they developed the technology. “We managed to find around 18 key variables that control dosage to different degrees. So, we have a whole backend test rig, that is kind of like a smoking robot that we load one of our devices and a cartridge into, and it breezes through it. This allows us to control the variables directly on the machine.”

Next, a sophisticated algorithm predicts what the dosage will be, which is presently 88% accurate. However, Wagner anticipates that number to rise into the 90th percentile soon. “It's about controlling outliers, say like a larger pump that happens every once in a while. We're seeing them drop down as the more testing we do,” he added.

Benefits of Mode

  • Adjust with a touch: Adjust the dose with precision down to the milligram.
  • Any product, any strain: Mode is the first and only precise dosing device that is compatible with the universal 510 threaded cartridge.
  • Proprietary quick-snap connector: Mode’s medical-grade silicone connector makes swapping different 510 cartridges as easy to use as a pod. No screwing and twisting, swap it with a snap.
  • A gentle buzz for dose control: When the dose is complete, Mode vibrates to alert the consumer when to stop inhaling and again when to exhale for maximum absorption while vaporizing less concentrate.
  • Engineered for health: Mode is constructed with inert and safe materials, which means the only chemicals entering your body is from the cannabis itself. The air passageway is fully sealed from any electronics, keeping any residual toxins from PCB board manufacturing out of your body.
  • A cannabis concierge: Mode's companion app provides access to detailed dosage plans, product information, feedback loop, personalized recommendations, and consumption analytics.

Dosage Data for Flower Lovers

Let’s face it; some people prefer the full-flavored, full-spectrum effects of raw cannabis flower. However, lighting up a joint or sparking a bowl isn’t always the most convenient, and often the strong aroma from combusting natural plant material can lead to even more significant problems.

Fortunately, new consumption technology allows consumers to vaporize the cannabinoids from raw plant material using a convection oven rather than an actual flame. In doing so, cannabinoids and terpenes are strategically boiled and vaporized instead of burnt.

The Davinci IQ2 is designed with the consumer’s health in mind. Labeled as a “precision vaporizer,” the Davinci IQ2 has similar features and functionality as the Mode device, but rather than using a cannabis cartridge, the consumer can use either dry plant material, or cannabis concentrates such as wax or shatter. The IQ2 empowers consumers to not only customize their experience through precision temperature and adjustable airflow but allows them to track and report the dose per draw and session.

Upgrades from the previous IQ model include:

  • Dual Function – the IQ2 allows consumers to choose between vaping a half gram of raw flower, or .2 grams of their choice of cannabis concentrate with the use of a dosage pod designed for extracts.
  • Air Flow Dial – this dial allows consumers to adjust for more natural draws with up to 50% cooler inhalation, or reduce the airflow and create bigger, denser vapor.
  • Dosage Control – input the potency and quantity used, and the IQ2 can track and report your dose per draw, as well as per session. Additionally, consumers can set a maximum dose, and the IQ2 will alert them when they’ve reached that amount for consistent dosing.

Controlling the Exhale

Before COVID-19, most people gave very little thought to their exhale. But, now, humans are acutely aware and conscious of their breath. Exhaling cannabis smoke isn’t just a matter of controlling odor anymore, but we’ve evolved to be socially conscious of the potential health hazards in a public venue.

As the pandemic has taught us, our breath – and the tiny, nanoparticles of toxins and contaminants within it, can carry further and stay longer in the air than we think. Socially-conscious cannabis consumption is precisely the motivator behind the mission of Philter Labs. Their tiny personal micro-filtration devices houses complex air filtration technology for those who prefer to smoke and vape cannabis and be responsible for how they exhale.

With years of experience in creating technology within the medical field, John Grimm, Co-Founder and CTO of Philter Labs, has a knack for putting tech and science to practical use to define the problem and develop the solution. As former Navy veteran himself, Grimm said, “I have a special place, as it relates to veterans or folks struggling with PTSD.”

“Our neighbors enjoy wine, beer, or a cocktail, and no one bats an eye. [Cannabis consumers] at an event or friend's house are sent outside, outcast, or even villainized, and socially that’s not ok,” Grimm noted.

He added, “the most prolific, long-standing issue with vaping and smoking is the dangers of second-hand smoke and the stigmas that come with it. So, how do we combine the liberties of those who don’t want cannabis around, while protecting the liberties of those who need or want to consume?”

Philter’s patented Zero5 filtration technology allows for the coexistence of smokers and non-smokers. Interestingly, everyone breathes a little differently and exhales differently. By using advanced aerodynamic principles, the Philter products first brings everyone’s exhale to a usable point. Then, the heavier, more inert particulates are separated. Similar to a HEPA filter, the device removes 97% of matter at .3 microns, then goes through two more stages, including a final carbon system to remove anything before the rest of the air leaves the device.

Clearly, the future is looking better and better for cannabis consumers. Technology is leading the way to safer, cleaner, more responsible cannabis consumption.

 

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