Products

New Subscription Service Ships Concentrates Directly to Consumers

Instead of letting extracts age on a dispensary shelf, Apex is offering consumers an opportunity to receive their extracts while they’re at the freshest point

Courtesy of Apex Extractions

California cannabis manufacturer Apex Extractions announced on Tuesday that it is launching a new subscription program that will deliver top-quality cannabis concentrates directly to California consumers. The Apex Fresh Club, as the program is known, will send a selection of three concentrates with cannabis sourced from some of California’s finest cultivators to a discerning clientele.

The Fresh Club

Scott Benson and Ted Hicks, who share the reigns as co-chief executive officers at the company, said in a press release that the new service will allow consumers who have come to trust the quality of Apex Extractions a regular opportunity to enjoy its premier offerings.

“The response to our products has been overwhelming, and optimizing our clients’ experience is our biggest priority,” they said. “Introducing this subscription service will help us get our product in the hands of cannabis connoisseurs quickly providing the best possible experience.”

Benson said in an interview with High Times that The Apex Fresh Club will be a way to connect artisan growers in California with consumers who have an affinity for top-shelf cannabis concentrates, allowing them to realize the full potential of each strain offered.

“I think this subscription program is really important for people who want great products and we really want to serve that market,” said Benson.

Each month, subscribers will receive a curated selection of three of the finest concentrates currently available from Apex for $139, including state excise tax. Offerings will feature some of the best concentrates available from California’s small-crop cultivators, including winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup. 

The club will be the best opportunity to acquire the concentrates that are most in demand, Benson noted, saying that “some of them are going to be really rare because it’s going to be really small boutique batches.”

Cutting Out the Middle Man

The key to bringing cannabis connoisseurs the finest quality concentrates, he explained, is getting them into the hands of customers as quickly as possible. To do this, the Apex Fresh Club avoids the usual retail supply chain, allowing it’s delivery partners to deliver each month’s selections at the peak of freshness, giving them the opportunity to enjoy each concentrate while terpene and flavor profiles are at their best.

 “And if you love it as a subscriber,” Benson added, “then it will be at the stores afterward and it’ll still have a great taste profile, but you will have gotten to experience it first, at it’s prime.”

When customers sign up for the Apex Fresh Club on the company’s website, they will be given the opportunity to customize their experience by rating their preferences for sativa, indica, or hybrid dominant strains and whether they’d like concentrates or live resin in disposable vape pens and vape cartridges. Carts should be available beginning with the August shipment. 

To preserve the quality of its extracts, Apex worked with hardware manufacturers to produce pens and cartridges that operate at a lower temperature and deliver the best terpene profile and flavor. Benson explained that many pens and cartridges on the market have coils that heat the product to too high a temperature, destroying terpenes and giving the remaining concentrate a burnt taste. The Apex Fresh Club solves that problem with its premium hardware.

Oakland-based Apex Extractions has been producing top-quality full-spectrum concentrates since the beginning of Calfornia’s regulated cannabis market in January 2018. The company has earned numerous awards for its products, including High Times Cannabis Cup winners such as Banana Pudding and Sled Dawg selections as Best Sativa Concentrate, Papaya Sauce for Best Indica Concentrate, and Best Hybrid Concentrate trophies for a Starburst OG x Dosido and Wedding Crasher #18. Apex Extractions concentrates, pens, and vape cartridges are available at licensed dispensaries throughout California.

Herrington, A.J. “New Subscription Service Ships Concentrates Directly to Consumers.” High Times, 9 July 2019, hightimes.com/news/new-subscription-service-aims-to-please-cannabis-connoisseurs/.

Wellness Products Take Off in the Growing Recreational Cannabis Market

With the rise of adult-use cannabis, experts see medicinal marijuana dominated by two distinct markets: wellness products and government-approved medicines. Photo by @jeffscheid

Is the U.S. medical marijuana industry doomed?

Amid news reports suggesting that MMJ markets are plateauing or shrinking in some states—particularly those that have approved the recreational use of marijuana, it’s reasonable to believe cannabis executives are bailing out of medical and plowing resources into adult-use products.

Not so.

Many cannabis companies are doubling down on their MMJ bets. They don’t see an ever-shrinking medical marijuana future, but rather an evolution of markets and a science-driven expansion in products, formulations and delivery methods.

“It’ll look different than the way we think about it today,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care, a New York-based, vertically integrated cannabis company operating in 14 states.

People will no longer think about cannabis as merely medical and recreational—a binary perspective foisted on patients and other consumers by regulators, according to Vita.

Instead, he said, people will have a third category to consider: wellness.

In other words, medical marijuana is splitting into two clearly defined markets:

  • Government-approved medicines for treating disorders such as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder or cancer treatment-related nausea.
  • Wellness products designed to help people sleep, ease muscle aches or reduce stress, among other things.

Industry executives believe there is money to be made by capitalizing on both sectors.

“We believe there’s an enormous market for health and wellness products, especially with folks who are older than people who use cannabis recreationally. We see that in our stores,” said Erich Pearson, CEO of SPARC (San Francisco Patient and Resource Center), a vertically integrated cannabis company in California with a cultivation and processing site in Sonoma Valley and four Northern California retail locations.

Wellness vs. Medical

Many of the products and uses categorized as medical today—think smoking a certain flower strain to help with sleep or using a cannabis-infused balm to ease muscle pain—could fall under the wellness label.

Medical, by comparison, will be more specialized and feature government-approved products with a pharmaceutical look, such as Epidiolex, a CBD-based syrup developed by British company GW Pharmaceuticals to treat certain types of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first medicine derived from the cannabis plant to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A handful of other FDA-approved medicines, such as Marinol (also known as dronabinol), used to combat nausea in cancer patients, are made from synthetic cannabinoids.

SPARC is making a play for both the wellness and medical segments. Since early this year, the company has been developing a new SPARC Plus medical line that features salves, lotions, tinctures and a pill.

“It’s not strictly medical products, but mostly. Its designed to be a product line that’s more health care-focused,” Pearson said. While SPARC has recreational products that customers consume for both adult and wellness uses, the company decided that distinguishing between the two markets made sense.

“We thought it was important to differentiate our product line, specifically the branding and educational component of it and how the product and packaging interact with the consumer,” Pearson said.

GB Sciences, which operates in Nevada, plans to maintain its recreational position but also hopes to follow GW Pharma by developing FDA-approved medicines. (At press time, GB Sciences agreed to sell its 50% stake in GB Sciences Louisiana for $16 million to Wellcana Plus, a Lafayette, Louisiana-based company which holds the other 50% of the operation.) GB Science’s most advanced work currently is a Parkinson’s medicine that it’s developing in partnership with Catalent Pharma, a United Kingdom-based business specializing in delivery technologies.

“My hope is that there will be a stratification that serves both kinds of customers—serious medical patients and wellness patients,” said Andrea Small-Howard, the company’s chief science officer. “They’re two very different but real customer groups.”

Factors Shaping MMJ

What exactly these reimagined wellness and medical industries look like will depend on a number of factors. According to industry executives, businesses considering operating in the MMJ sector must consider the following:

  • Consumers: Some will use cannabis products for wellness purposes, while others with
    serious medical conditions will seek FDA-approved, cannabinoid-based drugs that have undergone rigorous testing.
  • A pharmaceutical future: A growing number of existing cannabis companies and mainstream pharmaceutical and bioscience companies will strive to develop cannabinoid-based drugs, adding a greater pharma-feel to the industry.
  • Regulators: Regulators at both the state and federal levels will play a growing role and present the biggest wild card for the new MMJ industry.

What’s also clear is that, despite the decline of medical patients in recreational states, the future of medical marijuana still remains bright as more markets open up, an expanding number of consumers embrace cannabis as a wellness product, and more doctors, patients and drug-development companies embrace the plant as a medical product.

Cannabis as a Medicine

Consumers are among the biggest drivers of medical marijuana’s future. The key question: Do they see themselves as medical patients who want FDA-approved medicines for specific ailments, or as wellness consumers who prefer traditional cannabis products such as flower, oils and edibles to alleviate pain or aid sleep?

“We believe fundamentally that physicians and patients desire a cannabinoid-based medicine that has the hallmarks of a modern medicine,” said Stephen Schultz, vice president of investor relations at GW Pharma. Those hallmarks, Schultz said, include consistency, efficacy and safety that have been proved in “robust clinical trials.”

Additionally, some insurance companies will provide reimbursement for FDA-approved medicines. That’s vital given that such medicines can be very expensive. For example, reports put the annual cost of Epidiolex at around $32,500, although the drug is often covered by health insurance.

“We believe that’s the segment that physicians and patients desire,” Schultz said. “For us, the future of medical use of cannabis is about developing medicines that go through that pharmaceutical, FDA-approved route.”

Numerous marijuana and biosciences companies are making the same bet, launching cannabis drug-development efforts. Most are in the preliminary research stages.

Nexien Biopharma in Colorado, for example, is developing cannabis-based medicines to treat epilepsy, pain, myotonic dystrophy and other conditions. The company hopes to get into FDA trials in the near future, while Australian company Medlab has two cannabis-based medicines targeted for cancer pain in clinical trials in Australia.

Sandoz Canada, a subsidiary of Swiss pharma giant Novartis, is developing cannabis-oil capsules with Canadian license holder Tilray that could be distributed internationally.

According to a 2018 report from Washington DC-based New Frontier Data and Grow Biotech, a London biotechnology firm, seven of Canada’s top 10 cannabis patent holders are multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Cannabis for Wellness

While pharma and biosciences company activity points to increased customer demand for cannabis-based pharmaceutical medicines, many industry executives say they see increasing demand for cannabis as a wellness product, too.

“What we found among our patients is that there’s an enormous amount of overlap between people that access our products through adult-use regulatory structures, but they’re looking for a medical health wellness application. It may be for something as simple as sleep or anxiety, or it may have to do with finding an alternative to inflammation,” Columbia Care’s Vita said.

Many of those consumers, he added, include a growing number of baby boomers and women, who are typically underrepresented segments of the consumer cannabis market.

“That’s why, when we think about medical, it’s not going simply to be how it’s thought of today. It’s going to be much more about maintaining quality of life and maintaining health and wellness in the face of a changing population and changing views of cannabis more broadly,” Vita said.

Understanding that evolution in customer demographics and mindsets will help cannabis manufacturers and retailers develop and offer a better selection of products that cater to these types
of customers.

“We found it important to differentiate this and develop a whole product line specifically for health and wellness. The reason why is just because there’s clearly a demand for it,” SPARC’s Pearson said.

New Products, Partnerships

To appeal to these consumer demographics, cannabis companies will need to improve and diversify their products, developing offerings with more complex combinations of chemicals targeting specific conditions and creating new delivery methods tailored to specific types of patients.

“While in Nevada we are proud of our smokable products, where we’ve always been heading is in the creation of branded products that are more complex formulations with a scientific mindset,” GB Sciences’ Small-Howard said. “And we’re trying to use delivery methods that will be more effective.”

For example, GB Sciences produces tinctures, which are simpler to manufacture than, say, edibles or capsules and are easy to use. GB Sciences also plans to offer cannabis-infused oral thin films as well as metered-dose inhalers.

Exploring these delivery methods is critical to providing patients with products tailored to their specific needs, a move that can improve a company’s reputation and sales.

“What kind of delivery method you should use often depends on the condition you are trying to treat,” Small-Howard said.

For example, GB Sciences has developed a cannabis-based formulation to treat Parkinson’s disease and, so far, has conducted what Small-Howard called encouraging animal trials.

Given that one common symptom among Parkinson’s patients is difficulty swallowing, GB Sciences wants to avoid putting its medicine in a gel cap or pill and started examining other options with Catalent Pharma, a U.K. company specializing in delivery methods. Among Catalent’s first products were gel caps with Marinol, the FDA-approved anti-nausea medicine for cancer patients made from synthetic cannabinoids.

Besides its experience with an FDA-approved medicine, Catalent also has a specialized delivery method, Zydis, which is an orally ingestible, dissolving wafer.

“That was attractive to us because Parkinson’s patients have a hard time swallowing, but this makes it easier. They can take an oral dose without having to swallow it,” Small-Howard said.

Currently, GB Sciences and Catalent are developing prototypes of their Parkinson’s medicine and hope to submit an application to the FDA next year to begin human trials.

Small-Howard acknowledges the FDA approval process requires patience and money, but she is certain that it’s worth it.

“It’s hard to protect formulations that you put into a dispensary. From a business standpoint, the reason to go through the whole FDA process is so that you can own it,” Small-Howard said. “That’s the payoff for the scientific work we’ve been doing.”

Sacirbey, Omar. “Wellness Products Take off in the Growing Recreational Cannabis Market.” Marijuana Business Magazine, 1 Oct. 2019, mjbizmagazine.com/wellness-products-take-off-in-the-growing-recreational-cannabis-market/.

Mary Jane’s Medicinal’s: Pain Relief & Healing Salve

Mary Jane’s Medicinals pain salve has been available in Colorado for three years, and has now become available in California. It’s an all natural cannabis infused topical salve that truly does alleviate pain and helps heals any skin or body symptoms and ailments. The salve can be used for psoriasis to arthritis, to muscle pain, surgical pain, and more. To test its effectiveness, we handed out samples of to several of our patient readers. Across the board, patients reported that it worked. Though it does not get you high, rubbing it all over the affected area and indulging in a bath, you will most definitely feel a deep relaxation effect.

Made with jojoba, orange essential oil, avocado oil, peppermint essential oil, coconut oil, and other essential oils, patients experience not only pain relief, but skin relieving effects, in addition to experiencing the health benefits of the cannabis infusion. When applied to clean and dry skin, it activates the endocannibinoids already present in your system, which means thats if you use edibles or smoke marijuana regularly, the topical will use the cannabinoids that have built up in your system to stimulate healing.

It consistently and successfully helped treat acne, scrapes, burns, back pain, neck pain, psoriasis, chapped lips, muscle cramps, period cramps, pain from fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and more. The most compelling testimony of all was a patient that had an open wound in her chest for five years, as a result from radiation from breast cancer. She began using this pain salve, and remarkably within five days the hole in her chest closed up, changing this woman’s life. The product is packaged in a small blue glass container, which can be easily up-cycled: it can be cleaned out when empty and used to store a bud stash, or other small items.

Team, Edibles List. “Mary Jane’s Medicinals: Pain Relief & Healing Salve.” Edibles Magazine™, 19 Jan. 2015, ediblesmagazine.com/health/mary-janes-medicinals-pain-relief-healing-salve/.

Kahna Nano Luscious Lemon Vegan Sativa 100mg THC Gummies

We had our first taste of Kahna gummies when we met them at Weed Con West in June. It was super fun eating them while we sat on a fountain and listened to Robby Krieger, of The Doors, play guitar live and outside.

The gummies tasted great and were soft, clearly made from scratch and infused well. They were traditionally made and took about 20 or 30 minutes before I was feeling them. I had 6 of the pieces (60mg of THC), and I’ve got a really high tolerance these days.

Sunderstorm has now introduced Kanha Nano Vegan, which utilizes nanomolecular technology with a vegan base to create delicious, fast-acting gummies that maintain their signature soft texture. As pioneers of Cannabis nanotechnology, Sunderstorm has taken their award-winning, great-tasting Kanha gummies, and infused them with nanomolecular technology to deliver one of the fastest acting edibles available. You don’t need to wait for the effects to happen because you start to feel them in half the usual time.

The new Nano Vegan Gummies come in a few different flavors. I tried the Luscious Lemon Sativa and the taste was amazing, like lemon drops melting in lemonade with a twist of lemon and a lemon garnish. I started with three pieces and was feeling it in eight minutes. I had a couple more and it seemed to intensify immediately. It says they’re sativa and it doesn’t always seem to matter with concentrate infused edibles but I definitely maintained my energy and creativity so perhaps the nano-tech is helping preserve some of the strain specificity and terpene profile that gives these gummies the sativa edge.

Vegan gummies can sometimes taste kind of terrible. Dry and powdery, crumbly, hard and way too sweet or. way too sour. The lack of gelatin seems to make a real difference. These taste just like the traditional Kahna vegan gummies, which actually taste like their non-vegan gummies, but these act much faster. The ingredients are: agar, corn starch, pectin, cellulose gum, sodium citrate, glucose, cane sugar, glycerin, citric acid, cannabis oil, natural terpenes, natural coloring and flavor.

Moore, Patrick. “Kahna Nano Luscious Lemon Vegan Sativa 100mg THC Gummies.” Edibles Magazine™, 4 Oct. 2019, ediblesmagazine.com/reviews/kahna-nano-luscious-lemon-vegan-sativa-100mg-thc-gummies/.

4 Products to Clean and Maintain Vaporizers Everyone Should Consider

Vape cleaning products mg Retailer

As we all know, vaping cannabis is steadily growing in popularity. It offers both discretion and may even be healthier than smoking flower out of glass or papers. With so many quality vapes on the market, it is no wonder that consumers are picking up these devices. However, while vapes are convenient, they still need to be maintained. Resin can build and clog up a vape, making it harder to get a clean hit. Check out this list of vaporizer maintenance products that every dispensary should carry.

Formula 420 Soak and Rinse Cleaner

While using alcohol is also a perfectly suitable option when cleaning vaporizers and components, it can produce a pungent scent. Formula 420 Soak and Rinse Cleaner will help clean vapes without the unpleasant smell. You can soak your vape overnight and rinse. There is no scrubbing necessary.


Formula 420 Soak and Rinse Cleaner

White Rhino Cleaning Brush

White Rhino has an extensive line of vaporizers and accessories. Their cleaning brush is ideal to clean dry herb or wax pens. Customers can scrub residue away and enjoy extend the life of the vape and its screens. The brushes are offered in two packs and are each 2 inches long.

White Rhino Cleaning Brush

Storz & Bickel Mighty Screen Set

They may not be the most exciting thing to talk about, but screens are an essential part of vaporizers. The Mighty Screen Set from Storz & Bickel will provide customers with replacements if their screens are beyond the assistance of a good brush. This kit includes 6 screens, 4 upper screens and 2 lower screens.

Storz & Bickel

Haze Cleaning Jar

Haze offers a large product line that includes vaporizers, replacement parts, and cleaning accessories. Their cleaning jar is the perfect way to clean vaporizer components while avoiding a mess and trapping any unwanted odors. It pairs well with Haze’s Cleaning Powder and has measuring lines within the jar to precisely measure how much powder you need.

Haze Cleaning Jar

Reed, Danny. “4 Products to Clean and Maintain Vaporizers Every Dispensary Should.” Mg Magazine – Cannabis News & Information, Danny Reed, 7 Jan. 2019, mgretailer.com/products/4-products-to-clean-and-maintain-vaporizers-every-dispensary-should-consider/.

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