Jessica McKeil   |   March 28, 2019

Wisp Vaporizer Readies for Summer Relaunch

Wisp brings sophistication, elegance, and ease to cannabis consumption. Cannabis Tech reached out to Greg James, Senior VP of Sales at CannaKorp to talk about their acquisition by Target Group, and what’s in store for Wisp.
Jessica McKeil is a cannabis writer based in British Columbia, Canada. She has a passion for cannabis tech and scientific breakthroughs, which has led her to work with some of the industry's biggest brands. She is the owner and lead-writer…

Not that long ago, the Volcano was the only tabletop vaporizer on the market. The rise in popularity of vaping has led to the development of a  dozen or more tabletop brands crowding the marketplace. Even the Volcano has launched a long overdue revamp of their design in an effort to keep up with the stiff competition. Still, there is little differentiation among the top brands, as they all deliver a similar vaping experience with similar devices, all focused on the experienced recreational customer.

The Wisp is an innovative at-home vaping device, which stands out from the rest. Designed by CannaKorp, the Wisp took the desktop vaping experience into an entirely new direction. The design focuses on simplifying dosing, improving cleanliness, and enhancing consistency. While conventional table-top vaporizers keep adding new features and more choices, Wisp has taken their product into the other direction - to simplicity.

The designers behind Wisp understood the shifting profile of cannabis consumers. Today, with legal access spreading, there is a much broader customer base today, than only a few years ago. People with little to no experience with the plant are considering it for their health and wellness. Seniors are also a growing demographic, and the usual tabletop designs are no longer appropriate for all cannabis users.

A Simpler Design for Consistency and Convenience

The traditional vaporizer, while perfect for the cannabis connoisseur, has too many options, controls, and adaptors than most people need. The conventional device is hard to dose consistently between sessions. The mechanism of dosing (a balloon bag or hose) also appears too much like drug paraphernalia and turns new consumers off using the device for medicinal purposes.

The Wisp is a different approach, transforming a once recreational device into the medical one. The device itself looks remarkably similar to a small kitchen appliance - like a Soda Stream or Keurig Coffee maker. It has a base, with a single control button, and a large cup to capture vapor.

Unlike the other devices available, which require an understanding of temperature, timing, and product, the Wisp has a one-button control. The single-use, flower pre-filled pods, made from 100% recyclable aluminum, remove any room for error on the user’s part. In fact, it's as simple as popping in a pod and pressing the button to begin, which could make the Wisp the ideal solution for growing demographic of seniors looking to medical cannabis.

The Wisp has adapted the Keurig coffee-pod design to the cannabis world. In just minutes, the heating element pours vapor into the large cup and the consumer removes the cup to "drink" (inhale) at their leisure. The dose is consistent, measurable, and convenient. Theoretically, the experience from one pod to the next will be precisely the same.

James explained the software controlling the device uses precise algorithms to control temperature and airflow to obtain the most cannabinoid and terpene content possible. The device cycles heat and airflow at certain points to ensure terpenes are not boiled away and cannabinoids are preserved. “In the end, you get a true ensemble effect of the flavors and potency you’re looking for in a compact volume,” James stated.

The design is more approachable for the types of people now interested in using cannabis. It doesn’t carry the stigma of conventional models, and it blends in with other common household appliances. It’s much more agreeable and accessible for all levels of consumers because it’s a far cry from pipes, bongs, and other drug paraphernalia. “The value proposition is obvious,” James proclaimed as he described the pods. “These are pre-filled, sealed for freshness, and precisely measured, there’s definitely no drug paraphernalia experience or feeling to it,” he continued.

The Genius of the Cannabis Pod

The genius of the Wisp is the single-use pod - which are sealed and packaged onsite by partnered producers before distribution. Producers take on the pod production, which allows Wisp the scalability to expand the product line up without additional infrastructure or investment.

For the consumer, the pod removes the technical, messy component from the equation. As with the Keurig coffee experience, the consumer doesn’t need to know much of anything about how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. It is a convenient, consumer-focused, “set-it and forget it” experience.

The only challenge with the pod is reaching the tipping point for consumer demand. There must be a large variety of pre-filled pods suitable for all consumer needs before consumers start to invest in the Wisp device. Nobody will want to buy a higher end table-top device if there is no selection. On the flip side, producers will only want to invest in pod production, if there is enough consumer demand. Wisp is facing the classic chicken or egg dilemma to break into the market.

The Future of Wisp

In January of this year, Target Group announced its acquisition of CannaKorp. According to the press release,  "The acquisition of CannaKorp will enable Target Group to enter all legal cannabis markets around the world, and to develop a centralized distribution channel for the WISP™ Vaporizer system, including centralized WISP™ Pod production.” This may be the tipping point, which finally allows Wisp to break into the medicinal and recreational markets after a year or two of slow growth.

With a strong background in manufacturing, James believes the partnership with Target Group will help CannaKorp get past the challenges of scaling the business and meeting production demands. Additionally, by partnering with CanaryRx in Ontario, Canada, a high-end, pharma-grade LP, consumers can expect to see a relaunch of Wisp in Canada and a few selected US states sometime this summer.


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