Kristina Etter   |   February 13, 2020

Technology Transforming Cannabis Consumption

With the emergence of legalization across the globe, technology innovations have offered cannabis consumption a facelift.
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…

Cannabis has a PR problem. Since the dawn of prohibition, the days of Reefer Madness and into the “Just Say No” era of Nancy Reagan, Americans have been taught marijuana is bad, consuming marijuana is dangerous, and even merely possessing the paraphernalia to consume it is unlawful in many states. Just uttering the word “paraphernalia” creates a negative connotation and leaves most of us with faded memories of some distant headshop playing the Grateful Dead through a murky fog of incense.

While not to discount the colorful, counter-culture history of the marijuana movement, with legalization, the demographics for cannabis consumers are shifting. A growing audience of baby boomers and women are flocking to the cannabis market, looking for alternative ways to deal with a variety of ailments from chronic anxiety and PTSD to arthritis and intractable pain.

These consumers also don’t want to “feel” like they’re doing drugs, and many consumption methods require tools that reflect scenes from Breaking Bad. A few innovative consumption devices take the sketchiness out of consuming cannabis by providing consumers with highly sophisticated technology in place of old-school paraphernalia.

Trading Torches for Technology

Cannabis concentrates have been gaining popularity in the market for several years. Products like wax, shatter, and HCFSE require specialized equipment to consume them properly. “Dabbing,” or vaporizing these cannabis extracts, involves using a torch to heat a glass bucket, titanium nail, or a nectar collector, to a temperature hot enough to vaporize the concentrate. Needless to say, using a torch isn’t the most elegant way to consume cannabis and can turn many people off.

However, besides simple aesthetics, using a torch can result in excessive temperatures that can make certain compounds in cannabis become dangerous. Some compounds in cannabis come from the cyan group, and with hot enough temperatures, they can turn into cyanide. Some terpenes can convert to benzene, a known carcinogen. Likewise, metal nails and tips may contain traces of cadmium or lead, which can be released and inhaled by the heat of the torch.

Providing consumers with an ingenious upgrade, Grenco Science recently introduced the G-Pen Connect. No torch required; the Connect runs on a powerful 850 MaH battery and comes in a hemp case for easy portability. The tank and heating element are made of ceramic, eliminating any concerns over metal contamination, as well as providing a smooth, rich flavor for the consumer.

With three different voltage settings, there’s no guesswork about temperature. Additionally, without the use of a torch, the G Pen Connect virtually eliminates burn risks and fire hazards, as well.

Recovering from the Vaping Epidemic

We’ve learned from the tobacco industry and decades of research, combusting anything that close to our throat and esophagus can be harmful to the consumer, so for several years, pushing people towards vaping over smoking seemed logical. Yet, with the recent surge in headlines, the vaping epidemic raised legitimate questions about the devices themselves. From the potential of heavy metals to batteries that explode, vaping devices bring rise to several safety concerns.

However, PAX, a well-known name in cannabis vaping technology, recently announced receiving UL  8139 certification for its Era Pro. Amid all the negative PR in vaping, in a recent blog post, the company reaffirmed their commitment to customer safety by stating, “By earning a UL listing, we’re proving to you that we take your safety seriously.”

A rigorous process, the UL certification required eight weeks of testing, as well as auditing the construction of the device, including materials, enclosures, and other parts. Basically, the certification helps protect the consumer against things like rupture, fire, electrolyte leakage, as well as provide consistent, accurate voltages, currents, and temperatures.


Photos courtesy of PAX

A Morphing Industry

Last year, an article from CFN recognized that women were the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis consumers. Additionally, women own 85 percent of the health and wellness market, which is valued at $4.2 trillion. Likewise, seniors over the age of 55, are flocking to the industry, as well. Neither of them wants to use a torch, light up a joint, or otherwise feel like they’re using drug paraphernalia.

As an industry still in its infancy, cannabis and hemp manufacturing standards and regulations are still in development, and much of the industry is experiencing an extreme learning curve. While many manufacturers look for the cheapest parts, suppliers, and materials, only those who take safety, as well as luxury and style into consideration, will survive the test of time.

Technology innovations like PAX and G Pen are leading the way and bringing an air of sophistication and elegance to cannabis consumption.

 

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