Discover the latest in cannabis vaporizer technology from co-founder of O.penvape Ralph Morgan. Learn why Ralph thinks you are wasting 80% of your cannabis smoking a joint versus vaping.
– How you can pick a strain of oil that works for you
– A new line of cartridge that is just cannabis flower oil is coming
– Learn why O.PenVape uses propylene glycol in their vape cartridges
Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Each week I’ll take you behind the scenes to interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving legal marijuana industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. What are the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. That’s www.cannainsider.com/trends. Now here’s your program. Prefilled, ready to go cannabis vape pens are very popular and becoming more popular every day. We’re going to find out why that is and what you should know about prefilled vape pens from the co-founder of O.penVAPE, Ralph Morgan. Ralph, welcome to CannaInsider.
Ralph: Thank you. Thank you for having me, pleasure to be here.
Matthew: Ralph to give us a sense of geography, can you tell us where you are in the world?
Ralph: Yeah we currently operate in five states in the US, and we are continuing to add licensees in states to that ever growing list and also looking abroad in Europe.
Matthew: How great, and just to set the record straight I know people say Open Vape and O.penVAPE. How do we pronounce this correctly?
Ralph: Yeah we, both are correct. O.penVAPE is the correct pronunciation. Often times it’s an O pen which we like equally as well.
Matthew: And can you give us a high level overview of what O.penVAPE does?
Ralph: Absolutely. O.penVAPE is a company that provides a wonderful vehicle for adjusting cannabis, and that of course is the personal, portable vaporizer. And we license our IP our recipes to folks in other states that are licensed to extract organically cannabis that goes into those pens.
Matthew: How did you get started in this industry? What’s your background?
Ralph: My background is in healthcare, sales and marketing in the healthcare industry. I worked for companies like Stryker that sold implantable orthopedic devices. And got in this industry by first realizing the incredible medicinal advocacy of it, and learned very quickly that there was a demand on the market for a product that would deliver a unified, repeatable and dependable dose of cannabis. And so from that we created O.penVAPE which is our own line of pens so that we could control quality and offer a product to folks that was healthy and organic and that’s been very popular. We’ve had a lot of fun so far with it.
Matthew: And can you describe how O.penVape works in detail? I mean there’s probably an atomizer, there’s the liquid, the battery. Can you just give us an overview of what’s actually going on in the device?
Ralph: Sure. So you have the battery, and this is a lithium ion battery, so very similar to all the batteries that are in our cell phones. So they’ll last typically for about 1,000 charges. And there’s a microchip on top of that batter that tells it to do things. For example to turn off in a certain period of time and to reach a certain temperature. Then you have the atomizer or the cartomizer which is the area that has the fluid in it as well as the heating element. And that heats up and vaporizes as someone drags or pushes a button and inhales.
Matthew: So the battery lasts roughly, did you say 100 or 1,000 uses.
Ralph: About a 1,000 charges, correct.
Matthew: Wow and then what about the atomizer? Do those have to be replaced typically?
Ralph: Those do. Those need to be replaced much more often, and we sell our cartridges as a disposable. So one time use, and what this ensures is quality. The cannabis oil that’s inside of these is very expensive. So the last thing we want is for those to malfunction or leak. So each time someone gets a new cartridge they’re also getting a new heating element.
Matthew: Okay. And I’m imagining, I don’t know if there is or not, is propylene glycol in the liquid? Can you explain what that is if it is and tell us exactly what it’s for?
Ralph: You bet. We absolutely do not use propylene glycol and there’s a lot of what sounds like subtleties differentiating polyethylene glycol which is what we use and what the electronic cigarette world has used which is PG or propylene glycol, and VG vegetable glycerin. Those two really like nicotine and mix well. Cannabis really loves polyethylene glycol and more importantly it’s a product we use because it’s safe, and it’s something that the pharmaceutical industry has used for decades for inhalants. Bayer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson for example all use polyethylene glycol as a product that helps suspend something and used for an inhalant for children.
So with that we were very delighted to see that we had a safer alternative to what was largely and still used in the market which is PG or propylene glycol. So polyethylene glycol is what we use to suspend the cannabis, and we are also getting ready to launch a pure line that’s just cannabis which is a lot stronger. And we’re delighted to offer both, but we’re excited to launch the pure cartridge line here very soon.
Matthew: So the polyethylene glycol , is the purpose of that just to suspend the cannabis oil and make it viscos? Is that what’s going on there or just so we can understand the purpose of what it is?
Ralph: Yeah so there’s a couple of things it does. It does suspend the cannabis and it mixes with it and it changes the viscosity and it basically makes it thinner so that you’re not left with a cartridge that has 40 percent of the product left in it once it’s done. So it allows for the best value. So you’re getting all of that cannabis oil that you’ve purchased out of the container. And it also acts as a lubricant so it helps vaporize the particles or the cannabis oil. And again we didn’t invent that. That’s something that we recognized from Big Pharma and realized that hey this can be applied to cannabis just as it’s been applied to many medicines that are out there.
Matthew: And how do you purchase the cartridges? Is it something where you buy the housing of the device of the O.pen and then you just keep on as you use a cartridge and discard it, you just grab another one?
Ralph: Yeah so there’s two ways you can purchase. You can go online to www.openvape.com and you can buy all of the ancillary equipment like the battery or an empty cartridge. We’ll soon sell what we’re calling the O.penVAPE kit which will be everything including the mixing tools minus your own oil. And that can be for any essential oil. For example, you may want to vaporize chamomile or cava for relaxation effects. But if you want to buy the cannabis, that of course needs to be purchased through state licensed and recognized dispensaries and you can text O.penVAPE to 20300 to find a location nearest you, or you can go to your favorite local dispensary who will more than likely carry the O.penVAPE product, and again in those states that are licensed to do so.
Matthew: Now what about listeners that want specific strains of oil with the pen? How does that work? Is that possible?
Ralph: It is. So many of the cartridges that we sell and the oil that we make are strain specific. So in Colorado for example probably half of the product out there is strain specific. The other half is separated to at least sativa indica hybrid which is really nice to enjoy those differences. With the strain specific people may find a strain that really speaks to them, may speak to their ailment or that may just have a really nice affect on them and they can enjoy the affects of that.
Matthew: So apart from THC level, what other information about the oils on the cartridge as far as are there CBD levels or what else is on there?
Ralph: Yeah so testing’s mandatory in Colorado, and we’re seeing that of course take place with the other states as they catch on. So we include the test results which give you the cannabinoid profile that includes THC of course, but also CBD and CBN. CBD probably being the most interesting other bit of information, and we have CBD rich cartridges where we try to have not just a trace of CBD, but a really nice CBD rich cartridge that’s derived from genetics that we’ve grown or that other leading growers in the space have grown and we have extracted.
Matthew: Okay. And is there a general ballpark, I’m sure it varies from state to state and day by day, but is there a general idea for the price of a vape pen or a cartridge?
Ralph: They come in three sizes, 150 mg, 250 mg and 500 mg. The most common is a 250 mg and it’s for sale on average between $25 and $40 for a cartridge.
Matthew: And what does the year ahead look like for O.penVAPE? You mentioned that there’s some expansion and licensing going on. What does 2015 look like?
Ralph: Well 2015 is going to be an exciting year. Expansion definitely, we’ve got six licensees to date. We’ll have another four in the next 30 days. So 2015 is definitely a year of expansion. We’re also going to be launching a O.penVAPE 2.0 which we’re very excited about. We brought on a CEO in 2014. His background is in the semiconductor business. So we’ve invested heavily on the technology side and really looking forward to having some of those products come out the pipeline. We’re also going to be introducing products that are possible because we are isolating cannabinoids. I think that’s part of the future here as we move forward is the continued purification and sophistication of extraction. So being able to extract and then isolate those cannabinoids allows us to make custom blends for either ailment specific products or to really hone in on what kind of effects people are looking for and what we can safely and repeatedly offer for folks. So I think those are the top three things for 2015 which is additional growth and the continued purification and new technology about to come on the market.
Matthew: Now apart from anything that O.penVAPE is doing, is there just anything you see in the cannabis industry that excites you?
Ralph: Boy I think there’s lots of things in the cannabis industry that are really exciting. One is the continued sophistication of the folks in the space and that draws investors which continues to raise the bar in the high water mark of products and safety and sophistication. We see it every day. We see new and interesting marketing doing interesting products. And with all these things we see the continued acceptance of the industry which is really exciting. It’s really more than just an industry we’re all part of. It’s really a movement and a social movement and it’s really exciting to be a part of.
Matthew: So I don’t think a lot of people know that O.penVAPE played a small part in Weed the People. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Ralph: Yeah so Weed the People is a film talking about just that, about this mission and this social change that we’re all part and led by Rikki Lake. And she reached out to us and we appreciated that. She recognized us as folks in the space that were leaders in the space, and she asked if we would help her cause, and we jumped at the opportunity and we donated some Go Pens and some devices to help her raise money for that cause. And it’s been a lot of fun to work with her and work with other celebrities that have reached out to support again the cause. So I think we’re going to see a lot more to come as cannabis hits mainstream. I know there’s several shows hitting including Pot Barons. There’s a lot of attention on this new industry that’s growing faster than the smart phone industry.
Matthew: Wow, that’s saying a lot.
Ralph: It sure is. We all love our smart phones and here we are in an industry that’s growing even faster than that. It’s incredible.
Matthew: You mentioned a little bit about isolating certain cannabinoids. That is something that is really interesting because we hear so much about THC, CBD seems to kind of be Justin Bieber rock star of the moment, but is there any other cannabinoids or plant compounds that you look at and you say wow this is, there’s really interesting possibilities here?
Ralph: And you mention Justin Bieber being the CBC of the industry. If that’s the case then technology that can isolate cannabinoids would have to be the record label.
Ralph: So we’ve invested in equipment that can isolate the cannabinoids. So the genetics will always be important, and you can get, you can enjoy the benefits of CBD rich raw material as well as high THC raw material, but if you can further isolate that and have a pure oil that’s CBD rich or any other cannabinoid that you’re trying to isolate, then it opens the door to a whole other discussion. And that is products that could be ailment specific. For example if you have someone who is suffering from seizures, they may want a blend that’s high in CBD but still want to take advantage of the entourage effects or they still want some THC but they want the full array of other cannabinoids. And they want a special ratio, and that may be driven by the consumer or it may be driven by a physician depending on if we’re talking about medical or rec.
So for us we’re really excited to be invited to the table of a lot of research that’s being done or about to start, as well as, is offer products that we haven’t been able to offer before, the industry hasn’t seen before. So really excited about that. You can liken it to a microbrew, and right now everyone’s just making beer, but now we’re going to be able to offer, you know, something that has a lot of hops for the people that prefer that. And to lay on top of that, a medicinal effect is absolutely exciting for us. We don’t want to be in the way of Big Pharma, but we certainly want to push the envelope with this incredible plant and see what it can do. We’re all aware of the magic that it’s capable of. And so what we’re seeing, what we’re going to see this year and in the future is that being further understood, and we’ve got so much to learn. So really excited about the isolation of the cannabinoids. It’s going to be a fun fun year and we’re really looking forward to that.
Matthew: And you know when people smoke flower in a bowl there is obviously some lighter fluid heat and combustion going on, and you’re not necessarily getting everything you want. You’re getting some of what you want, but there’s some other things that you don’t want in there. Do you ever look at what’s actually happening when people use a lighter and combust the flower, and can you talk about that a little bit? Is there, not so much risks, but are you getting things that you might not want?
Ralph: I know when people smoke marijuana they’re getting carcinogens. They inhaling, you know, burnt plant matter, and that’s one of the many dangers of smoking. What I like about vaporizing and what we like to offer folks is the fact it’s an option that does not include that which is wonderful. Also there’s a wonderful economic aspect to it. When you smoke a joint you’re wasting, on average, about 80 percent of the cannabis due to it burning while you’re not inhaling it. When it’s in a vaporizer, of course that’s not happening. So it’s great value as well as a much safer alternative.
Matthew: Great. Ralph, as we close how can listeners learn more about O.penVAPE?
Ralph: Yeah to learn more about O.penVAPE they can simply go to the website and they can hit the contact us and we’re happy to answer any questions. We have several customer service reps that answer folks’ questions and that’s the best way to get answers to your questions. We take them all very seriously. Often times people’s questions are related to not just a preference but related to an ailment or an issue they have. So we’re very sensitive to the fact that people are using this medicinally and that comes with a lot of responsibility. We’ll be launching a blog soon and having regular updates as we do on Facebook and Twitter which are two other places that are great to go to for information.
Matthew: Thanks so much for being on CannaInsider today Ralph. We really appreciate it.
Ralph: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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