As the mainstream cannabis industry continues to flow away from the raw, natural form of the plant itself and more toward the cold, hard chemistry behind it, laboratories worldwide race to reinvent the reason why we’re all here in the first place.
The numbers don’t lie – the smokable, flower form of marijuana will soon be overtaken in general popularity among users by both concentrates (mainly in the form of vape pens), and edibles that, so far, have taken just about every form that you can imagine.
Until some major investments earlier this year, one virtually untapped sector of the edibles market had been in CBD and THC infused beverages which experts predict will flood over $600 million into the U.S. economy annually by the year 2022.
If those numbers come to fruition, cannabis-based beverages will make up 20% of the edibles market over the course of the next four years.
But if a company called Sproutly has its way, those numbers might end up being just a drop in the bucket.
Sproutly is the holder of an innovative patent-pending water-soluble technology for truly infusing THC (or CBD, or a combination of cannabinoids) into any food or beverage.
We have all seen “cannabis-infused” beverages on the market already, and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of supply or demand for the edibles currently on the market, so what is so different about this latest tech?
We’ll get to that, but first, some context.
In 2012, Time Magazine labeled marijuana as “The Most Popular Drug in the World”, claiming that as many as 224 million adults were toking up across the globe.
With a powerful wave of reform having swept the U.S. in that time, and with other countries finally greenlighting the plant, that number is probably even higher today.
This growth is fueled primarily by new users in the cannabis realm. These are people who may have been curious for years, or just had the interest sparked by headlines about the many benefits of adding weed to their routine.
A lot of these new users are not interested in actually smoking weed, but instead want something easier to dose that is more discrete. This is why they are flocking to pre-filled vape pen carts and edibles as these products can deliver the desired effects without the telltale aroma associated with buds, bongs, pipes, and joints.
But when it comes to experimenting with edible weed, the initial experience is not always a pleasant one for inexperienced users.
For starters, whether edibles are made with cannabutter or with cannabis oil, they will always carry that distinct and far from delicious flavor of marijuana. Edibles experts have come up with some amazing concoctions to attempt to mask this pervasive flave, but it is always there to some degree.
If you are popping a couple of gummies, that odd taste is not a deal breaker, but as high end cannabis dining experiences gain popularity, and more discerning tastes enter the market, the completely odorless and flavorless water-soluble THC additive from Sproutly will only rise in appeal.
Another common complaint from new users (and the rest of us, to be honest) is the unpredictability of cannabis edibles.
These days, packaging and labeling requirements in legal cannabis markets are meant to reassure consumers that they can be confident that they know exactly what they are in for when they ingest the product.
Instead, it’s often all based on wholly unreliable feedback from 3rd party testing labs who are known for anything but their accuracy.
Those new to edibles will often eat a portion that corresponds to their desired potency, then wait. When they don’t feel anything after a while, they start nibbling some more. . . and some more. . .
The results can be nightmarish, as overdosing on edibles is not a death risk, but boy you sure will think about it for a few hours.
Sproutly’s INFUZ20 product claims that their water-soluble tech will deliver the desired effects of the dose taken within five minutes and that all effects will wear off completely within 90 minutes.
According to an in-depth piece over at SeekingAlpha, the Canadian company’s “Aqueous Phytorecovery Process (APP) uses proprietary, not-toxic, generally recognized as safe (GRAS) reagents to extract water-soluble forms of the bioactive cannabinoids in cannabis such as THC and CBD.”
What separates INFUZ20 from other seemingly similar products already on the market is that these other brands are using “water-compatible” tech, not true water-soluble tech. From what we could find, all cannabis-infused beverages currently on the market suspend the THC in oil molecules in the liquid beverage.
This suspension in oil forces the THC molecules to pass though the human digestive system which vastly degrades the uptake of THC into the user’s system. In other words, you need to ingest more to get the feeling you are looking for.
It’s this slow digestive process that makes a bad edibles trip, or a good mushroom trip, stretch for hours whether you want it to or not.
INFUZ20 doesn’t need the oils or sweeteners to mask or transport its water-soluble THC which leads to a more natural and lower calorie product – two more hot selling points in today’s mainstream marketplace.
When it comes to potency and accurate dosing, water-soluble cannabinoids seem to be the wave of the future. With complete dissolution in water or liquid, the user can be sure that the product will deliver consistent doses in every ounce consumed.
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this new technology is that the non-toxic extraction process.
THC and CBD are just two of over 113 separate cannabinoids that have been discovered in the cannabis plant so far. Sproutly’s tech claims to capture the full spectrum of these cannabinoids.
If true, not only will this vastly improve the efficacy and healing benefits of the product, but it will allow the company to truly capture specific strain ratios into their product. If the label says it was derived from Strawberry Tahoe, users can expect to receive the same benefits by drinking it as they do from smoking that specific strain, instead of just pounding some sugary drink full of artificial strawberry flavoring.
The rapid onset time of just 5 minutes, and the manageable clearance time of 90 minutes is awfully close to the experience that many cannabis smokers enjoy.
We realize that this tech will not be for everybody.
Many of us enjoy ingesting cannabis orally to help deliver a full night’s sleep – INFUZ20 is likely not the ideal product for that user.
The versatility of the technology will certainly come in handy as the company attempts to go global and navigate the tangled web of regulation ranging from California where the state will not allow THC and alcohol to mix, to their home turf of Canada which legalized the adult use of weed back in October, but will not allow its residents to buy or ingest edibles until sometime next year.
We still love to roll up a fatty and spark it up, but we’ve also dabbled in our fair share of edibles and recognize the significance of this technological breakthrough. Keep your eye on this innovation in the years to come.