A major argument against legalization has been the lack of research, so now the cannabis industry is working to fill that void. Companies like Baker Technologies focus on dispensary data, Stashbox tracks consumer trends, BDS Analytics follows industry sales, and now Gram Research is launching a program that will provide information on consumption habits — and it will get its data directly from consumers every time they smoke.
A graduate of Canopy's business accelerator program in Boulder, Mike Klodnicki started Gram Research to create a product that will link a vaporizer to an app that will track the vapor in real time. The data will be transmitted wirelessly over Bluetooth, allowing consumers to monitor their THC levels to the milligram. The app will also track how frequently they consume and allow users to rate a strain's effects.
"It's kind of like the FitBit of cannabis," Klodnicki says.
The project originally focused on dosing issues with nicotine vaporizers, but Klodnicki and his team soon changed course. "We quickly realized that dosing in cannabis was a much bigger problem," he explains. "There's a much bigger need for the technology we're developing for cannabis."
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The first idea was was to create a cartridge that could be purchased at a dispensary and used with a vaporizer, but Klodnicki says that changed when the team thought through the type of customer who'd be interested in this product. They determined that customers who wanted to know these details would be happy to purchase their cannabis from Gram Research's partner companies rather than buying concentrate from your average dispensary.
Klodnicki says he sees medical patients particularly benefiting from this app, because it will keep track of the last time they took their medicine and how many milligrams were introduced into their system; they'll also be able to rate different strains and keep track of how each strain affects them.
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The users' data will be automatically and anonymously updated, so that Gram can start to provide useful information to the larger cannabis community. "They're more than happy to share this data because it's for a reason," Klodnicki notes. "It's to help other people like them who are suffering from a similar medical condition — it's helping their peers have an improved quality of life."
While the still-unnamed product is in development, its technology is already being used in a clinical trial. Participants in the study can submit data without researchers knowing their identity. "We anonymize all data," Klodnicki says. "We take privacy and security very seriously. If we're trusted enough to be used in that kind of study, I think that speaks to our data security practices."
The product should be out this fall, and in the meantime, Klodnicki's team is exploring partnership opportunities. "What we've done is taken a good, hard look at what's available — what's on dispensary shelves and what consumers say they really enjoy — and then taken those products to the lab and checked out how they actually perform," he says. "We have a few options we really like in terms of concentrate quality and no additives."