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David Hodes has written for many cannabis publications, and organized or moderated sessions at national and international cannabis trade shows. He was voted the 2018 Journalist of the Year by Americans for Safe Access, the world’s largest medical cannabis advocacy organization.
There are many ways to ingest tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But more innovative methods are being explored, with interesting results for the consumer.
Researchers and lab scientists have been exploring new ways for consumers to absorb tetrahydrocannabinol into their bloodstream. Here, Serge Chistov, the financial partner of Honest Marijuana, talks about nano-encapsulation technology, how it works, and what that means to a growing and diversifying consumer community.
David Hodes: Why do you think cannabis consumers are looking for different ways of consuming cannabis today?
Serge Chistov: Smoking marijuana, although predominant, is really a modern way to ingest cannabis. Dating back 5,000 years, people originally chewed on the leaves and made it into balms and extracts. Smoking wasn’t the favored means. Now today people are looking for alternatives to smoking with overall smoking rates going down, especially for younger adults and the older generation. There’s a whole generational shift.
Hodes: Most consumers who are new to cannabis – especially Baby Boomers – say they prefer edibles. But edibles are a sort of “wild card” in that they don’t affect everyone the same way. What happens to THC once it’s ingested in an edible? What other new technologies and other innovative ways of cannabis consumption are being explored for a more pure THC consumption experience?Chistov: Ingesting THC in an edible form is believed by many to be the safest means of taking cannabis. This is not always true however. The fact is that when you eat THC in edible form, in most cases, it metabolizes in the stomach and liver. You’re then only getting 10% of the overall effect which leaves you sleepy and in a relaxed state rather than the alert, explorative and motivated feeling that THC is meant to deliver. Basically you lack the cerebral energy. This can affect your work, driving, and more. It can also take quite a while for the THC to reach the rest of your body.
The ideal absorption of THC is through the blood stream where you’re getting 100% of the effects within 5-45 seconds. At the Honest Marijuana Company, we utilize a method called nanoencapsulation that reduces the molecule to nano size and allows the molecule to hit your bloodstream directly before the THC affects the rest of your body. The nano-encapsulated technology we use contains THC at a concentration of 96%, which makes it pharmacy grade because of its purity.
Hodes: Has the industry entered a sort of new phase of discovery because of the introduction of this nano technology?
Chistov: Yes, it absolutely has reached a new phase. It means we’re dealing with a better active ingredient and the benefit is less wasteful on consumption. First pass (absorption into the bloodstream vs. entering liver) at a pharmaceutical dose with a positive body response is the goal.
Hodes: What can the cannabis industry learn from other industries – pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical – and what can the cannabis industry teach those other industries about what the consumer wants and how to deliver it?
Chistov: We can learn from their innovation and dedication. We actually employ former engineers from these industries and gain so much from them. We can teach them to be less money-oriented and transparent, and improve the experience for consumers.