In states like Colorado, where the recreational use of cannabis is legal, the population is divided into two categories: those who use marijuana, and everyone else. LucidMood, a Boulder-based company, is hoping to bridge that gap with a product it bills as "cannabis for the rest of us."
Charles Jones, a cognitive scientist, started Chooze, the company behind LucidMood, after a friend called to ask whether smoking marijuana would affect her son's IQ. He started researching cannabis on her behalf.
"The more I learned about THC and other cannabinoids, the more fascinated I got with the entourage effect and what the different cannabinoids do — not just THC, but CBD, CBC, CBG, CBN — as well as with how terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system to make changes in mood, appetite and tension," Jones says.
From there, Jones put his scientific background to work. He figured by combining certain cannabinoids in certain ratios and adding terpenes, it would be possible to create a substance with the benefits of cannabis without the effects of THC. He also thought it would be possible to link certain cannabinoids to create a certain mood.
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"This started with some research, some educated guesses, and then we did 600 observational studies to test whether those guesses were right," Jones says. "The difference between indica and sativa, why sativas tend to be more energizing and indicas are more relaxing.... The terpene profile for the sativa and the terpene profile for the indica are quite different in terms of how many terpenes are in the plant, and those different terpenes account for the different effects and the different moods. So we simply isolated the terpenes that are energizing, for example, and took those and no others and put them into our energy formulation."
Once the individual effects were isolated, Jones says it was easy to create the four moods that LucidMood currently offers: energy, bliss, focus and relaxation. The substance is available in "sippers" that are 200 mg each and don't have the negative effects some feel with marijuana, making the simple, accessible product perfect for the non-consumer consumer, he adds.
"One of the pieces of feedback we've gotten all along is that this is a product that can take cannabis into the mainstream," Jones says.
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Lindsey Kritzer, LucidMood's marketing director, notes that the tubes are made to be used once and then thrown away — another nod to the demographic.
"The consumer with whom we really resonate values absolute discretion — and that means discretion even to the point of not necessitating a charger or a battery or something like that to keep around the house," Kritzer says. "The idea of having a product that's one and done is appealing to our consumer base."
The next moods Jones's team hopes to tackle? Relief, sleep and party. The current moods are available at dispensaries all over Colorado.
"I think there is so much uncharted territory," Jones concludes. "There's so much space for innovation. There's a lot of space for creativity, and it's a lot of fun from that perspective."