Cannabis‘ edible sector is going to big, 2.7 billion dollars big. Beverages are projected to consume a significant portion of that economic influx, which one company has created a solution (cannabis dissolvable drink mix) to catch in their corporate cup.
How Organigram’s new drink mix kicks in within minutes, not hours?
Unfortunately, one problem has existed since the plant formed on Earth centuries ago. Cannabinoids are fat and alcohol soluble and do not dissolve into water. This also causes an edible to take up to an hour to kick in. Has the company Organigram truly solved this coagulated conundrum with their new cannabis drink mix?
Boiling Particles Out of THC
A phone conversation with Ray Gracewood, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Organigram
Cannabis Life Network: Cannabis beverages have a water solubility problem. Can you explain the process you took to overcome that challenge with your new nano-emulsification?
Ray Gracewood: Essentially, how we have approached it is a traditional research and development perspective. We have an entire team who has been focused on the project for the better part of a year. In terms of the inner workings of it, that’s the proprietary, Intellectual Property we are very proud of and are planning to stand behind.
What exactly have you accomplished with your new drink mixes?
Basically, the difference behind having something that works well within a fat, and boiling it down so the particle size creates 100% water solubility… That was the process that was given to our R&D team that brought us to today.
Can the cannabinoids identify as organic?
It would depend on what strains have been grown to produce that product… But, most of our product is non-organic, and most of the organic products we do produce will not be used in the dissolvable product.
No, they are grown from different strains.
A safer, pre-metabolised drink mix?
Typically, an edible takes a long time to activate. This new technology promises to metabolise our cannabinoids for us. What naturally takes up to an hour only takes 10-15 minutes.
With a more predictable onset, how do you feel consumers will benefit?
For us, it was a matter of a safety challenge. To say we created some consistency. A more applicable product where a consumer doesn’t have to write off multiple hours within a session, for obvious reasons, is going to be attractive to some consumers. But first and foremost, it was about creating a matter of some form of controls and consistencies. If we can prove within 10-15 minutes that we have a rapid onset. On the other side of that, however, is rapid offset.
Do you know what the rapid offset is going to be?
Our target is to stay within a couple of hours. Now, we are still in the research phase of that, so we haven’t made any claims around the offset specifically. But, we do think that science is there and we are right now in the process of evaluating that.
Referencing cannabis’ safety with alcohol
How did you establish these targets?
Basically, the frame of reference we used is somebody who has an understanding of beverage-alcohol in their system and how they control that. How long does it take for them to realize what the result of that intake is going to be? So that was the expectation that was set.
An Industry Person’s learning curve: Cannabis =/= Alcohol
How do you feel this drink mix will compete with the adult-use market?
I have been with Organigram for over three-and-a-half years now but my past life is in beverage-alcohol. And I have always been very intrigued in the parallels people draw between beverage-alcohol and infused-beverage within cannabis.
Frankly, I was of the mind for a long time that there were more parallels than not. As I started to look into it a little more and we started to do our research, I think it has become clear. The social experience and how cannabis is consumed versus how alcohol is consumed is very different.
Quite frankly, it parallels that general cannabis consumers experimental nature. Just wanting to try new things and retain control over not just dosage and time and all these things, but also flavour profiles.
Zero entourage: Boiling the flavour out of cannabis
How can a bland, tasteless intoxicating powder fit in?
If we can boil down the product to the point where it can be in any beverage they choose, whether that’s a juice or soda or flavoured water or etc, it starts to put a lot more control and power in the hands of the consumer.
Our view has always been that you need a big strategic partner who has either got experience in that beverage-alcohol or Consumer Packaged Goods world. Otherwise, it’s tough to get to a place where you can formulate a brand new beverage that’s going to prop up that entire piece of the industry.
Creating a dissolvable cannabinoid product to us was a very interesting proposition to enter the beverage market and is essentially a good example of us trying to Zig when a lot of our competitors are Zagging. As well as creating more of a traditional, fully package beverage product.
It’s all K-Cups up here anyway
Do you see an advantage to selling drink mix packets rather than bottles of beverages?
There is an awful lot of issues in our industry today in and around packaging reliability and waste. If we can create a product that boils that down significantly and reduces our environmental footprint, from that perspective, I think that’s a plus as well.
Carrier-free and as plain as medicine
Pharmaceutical cannabis use avoids oral consumption and instead uses sublinguals to ensure a more efficient onset for medicinal patients. Do you feel your new edible technology has any avenues in that industry?
We think there is definite applicability of the technology into the medical side of our business… You know our business has gone from almost exclusively dry flower to two thirds one third in favor of oil. In terms of the preferred form that medical consumers are looking for, the physical downside to an oil based product is the carrier oil you can consume quite a bit of. For a lot of patients that isn’t ideal… We are now going through the process of how we can fully leverage that whether it is in a spray type of product, or even in terms of micro-capsules.
Release schedule for the drink mix
Are you entering your drink mix as a new product as soon as the regulations are brought into enforcement on October 17?
We have a sixty day ‘product development betting period’ that is going to take us into the middle of December, with a whole series of products in development. We have doubled down on chocolate as being the driver of our edible strategy … The dissovable cannabinoid piece will be the third part of the strategy for launch. Late fall into early January – that’s the timeline we are working with on most of these products, in that ‘late Q4 2019 into Q1 of 2020’ period.
Thank you for your time Ray!
End of interview
What exactly is ‘water-solulable-THC?’
Organigram was not willing to disclose their ‘nano-emulsification’ methods. However, techniques do exist that other’s have patented, despite not being available in the market. We can explore how one can go about artificially metabolizing cannabinoids outside the human body during the following installment.