A few years ago, Izzy Kirsh was recovering from surgery and using cannabis to treat the pain — with mixed results. One strain would provide relief, while others would make the pain worse, and the only way to hone in on the right one was through trial and error. This is when Kirsh realized there must be a better way.
“There’s a code here that needs to be cracked, so how do we go about this?” Kirsh told The Cannigma, describing his post-surgery cannabis epiphany.
Fast-forward a few years and the company that Kirsh co-founded, Vapor Dosing Technologies, is preparing to unveil a vaping device with the ability to provide specific cannabinoid doses down to a single milligram. The device also makes use of a sophisticated mobile app that tracks users’ dosing intent and reactions to various strains, in order to help them calibrate the ideal dose.
Just don’t call it a vape.
“We see it as a dosing device and a way to get milligram based inhalables. It makes sense for the mainstream consumers, it makes sense for seniors, it makes sense for medical users,” Kirsh said. The purpose is not to merely produce a device designed to generate billowing clouds of vapor as you couchlock into the night.
“We just see vapor as a very efficient delivery mechanism. It allows for instant absorption to the bloodstream and it has a high bioavailability,” he said.
Billed as the world’s first smart cannabis device,” the Mode is small, sleek, and wouldn’t be totally out of place in an Apple store. The device is compatible with the universal 510 threaded cartridge, allowing users to enjoy hundreds of vape options from established brands.
How much THC — down to a single milligram
What truly sets the Mode apart is its ability to allow the user to calibrate the specific amount of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids they want to use during each session, down to a single milligram. When vaping, the device’s haptic guidance makes it vibrate to let you know when to stop inhaling, and when to exhale.
Mode describes its brand experience as “decoding the complexities of cannabis consumption” based on four distinct areas: context, intention, strain, and dose.
Context deals with the fact that not every cannabis user is the same — each individual can react differently to the same strain or dose of marijuana. Intent is a matter of understanding how you want to feel as opposed to how you end up feeling after each cannabis session, so you can craft the ideal experience each time. Regarding strains, the company has collected information on hundreds of cannabis varieties as well as their cannabinoid and terpene profiles, to help users better understand what is likely to work best for them, and why.
Knowing what cannabis to consume, and when
Customers who use the device record their experiences with various cartridges and strains on an accompanying app, which uses this data to provide personalized recommendations and allow users to track their usage by milligram on a calendar. It also can give product reviews on hundreds of vape cartridges, and allows you to record your feedback for each product, which you can then revisit next time you purchase.
“Our goal is to provide the right amount [of cannabinoids] so that they get straight from their objective and are able to achieve results,” Kirsh said.
One of the more perplexing aspects of cannabis is dosing — knowing how much of which cannabis product to consume and when.
What can prove an overpowering amount of THC for one user could be just right or too mild for someone with a different tolerance. A certain strain can cause one user to feel upbeat and euphoric while stirring anxiety in someone else. In addition, the effect of a cannabis variety may produce the different effect than what a user wants. For instance, it may make a user overly energetic, maybe even a little paranoid, when all they were looking for was something to help them fall asleep at night, or alleviate their back pain. In the absence of data or informed guidance, cannabis consumers are typically left to figure it out through trial and error.
No more trial and error
As Kirsh describes it, the fact that cannabis has spent about a century or so under prohibition meant that users were on their own to figure out how to dose through experimentation and trial and error. Today, the developing cannabis market means that one can buy vape cartridges crafted by established brands that provide data on their cannabinoid and terpene profiles. As a result, you no longer have to blindly try different strains without knowing what they contain.
Mode has no plans to make a vape for dry cannabis flower, he said, because it’s more difficult to precisely dose than with extract cartridges. He also described his belief that the cannabis world is trending away from flowers, which he believes will eventually become “a niche market for people who always smoke.”
Whatever the future may hold for cannabis flower, with the right know-how and agency, Kirsh said, cannabis users can create a far more beneficial experience. “Cannabis becomes a real tool once you give people control and education.”
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