While the cannabis industry was completely shadowed by the black market, the only people having any impact on methodology or technology were the stoners and cannabis users. Not to dismiss cannabis connoisseurs as anything less than inventive people, but there’s a limit to the innovation that can happen in basements, closets and underground grow operations. With Washington’s cannabis industry fully funded through recreational sales, and cannabis use more tolerated on a national level than ever before, the industry is expanding. This time it’s more than stoners pushing cannabis to places it’s never been before. Science has entered the space, and it’s paving the way for a paradigm shift in cannabis consumption technology. SōRSE may be the genesis.
The first product of its kind, a fully emulsified cannabis product that is infusion ready, per the SōRSE website. The original seed for this technology was planted after a bad experience with a cannabis edible.
“It wiped me out for about a day, and I couldn’t do anything,” Juan Ayala said.
Ayala is the CEO of Venspark, the company manufacturing SōRSE for brands like Happy Apple, Pearl2o water, and Velvet Swing.
When making homemade edibles; many people ask themselves; how do I create a reliable edible cannabis experience on par with a cannabis smoking experience? Cannabis can quickly lose its appeal if users are tumbling through a seemingly endless rabbit hole of consciousness. It happened to Ayala and it happens to plenty of others after consuming edibles. This problem opened the door for a new technology that would solve the edible dosage problem in a way that has never been done before.
When recreational cannabis legislation, Initiative 502 was gearing up in Washington, Ayala met Scott Reifler, Venspark’s Chief Scientist. Reifler used to like day tripping off cannabis; but being that high leaves users with a cannabis hangover. As he got older, he no longer wanted to risk an unexpected result while taking edibles.
Reifler is an professional chemist and material scientist who’s familiar with food sciences. Ayala is well versed in extraction forms and methods. Together with Ayala, they came up with SōRSE.
Making an emulsion is a complicated process; but emulsified products are common, like milk for example. Water, fat and sugar are all mixed so that they stay separated inside the jug and the glass. Some cannabis products are emulsified similar to milk, but not SōRSE. The emulsion process affects how consumer tastes and process the final product, Ayala said.
“What you’re doing is taking two materials that normally don’t play nice together like oil and water, and putting them in a form where they can play nicely together,” Reifler said.
Normally when eating cannabis; the THC is processed by the liver and turned into 11-hydroxy -THC before traveling to the bloodstream, releasing its psychoactive effects. This is why edibles are more potent and longer lasting than traditional smoking methods.
Just as the Greeks used a hollow wooden horse to infiltrate the city of Troy and defeat the Trojans; SoRSE sneaks THC soldiers past the liver’s defenses in about 10 minutes. When the THC is trapped in water, body processes it as fiber, which is water soluble, Ayala explained.
Since THC is entering the bloodstream faster, it leaves faster as well. That’s why SōRSE is controlled, predictable and prevents edible hangovers and those seemingly endless psychoactive roller coaster rides.
SōRSE is currently available in products like Happy Apple, a Washington apple cider, Pearl2o, a vitamin water and Velvet Swing; a sexual lubricant designed by women for women. All of these products are the first of their kind respectively on the market, and they won’t be the last from Venspark.
Venspark has created SōRSE, and they are already thinking about how to emulsify other cannabinoids like terpenes, oils secreted by the cannabis plant creating each strain’s unique aromatic and flavor profile. Over 100 terpenes have been discovered, and each one could potentially be isolated, emulsified and used as its own ingredient in liquids, powders, or topicals.
“Different terpenes will have very different effects on how they cannabis reacts with your skin and goes through your skin or not, that’s a really cool area of expansion we’re looking at,” Ayala said.
SōRSE can be safely inhaled; but not by smoking it or vaping it, but by nebulizing it with a device aptly named the nebulizer. Venspark isn’t the only company that is emulsifying cannabis or making nebulizers, but they’re the only company combining them. Nobody else is making emulsifications that are simultaneously safe to inhale and ingest. This is possible because of SōRSE’s ingredients and manufacturing process.
The nebulizer works by generating ultrasound vibrations, turning the water into a water-soluble mist that is bioavailable instantly with almost no loss in cannabinoid content. When smoking or dabbing, you’re putting oil into your lungs, and there is a “significant loss” of potency, Ayala says. Venspark is currently researching the potency losses when smoking, dabbing or nebulizing.
“When you’re putting a water-soluble particle into your lungs it gets absorbed at a much higher efficiency, so 1mg of oil is not 1mg nebulized. You would need much less for the nebulizer,” Ayala explained.
When it’s made available to the public at the end of the year, Reifler believes it will catch on with the public because it will fit into cannabis culture’s long-standing-ritualistic smoking traditions.
‘It’s fairly unique, it’s fun, there’s excitement associated with it,” Reifler continued, “it’s something we’re exploring, it’s a relatively new concept.”
The nebulizer is also fully licensed for medical use. Venspark will develop more products through SōRSE that are sure to change the medical game, such as administering medicine to somebody while they have a seizure.
Micros-dosing Another functionality being explore more in research and in anecdotal evidence. Micro-dosing is when you take a miniscule amount of a psychoactive drug like THC several times throughout the day. It hangs out and slowly releases into your system all day so you reap all the medical benefits without getting high. Scientists have been researching micro-dosing cannabinoids in relation to diseases like post-traumatic stress syndrome and autism. Techies in Silicon Valley have been using LSD and
THC to experiment with micro-dosing.
“It’s almost non-perceptible, to be honest with you, but it’s having a deep impact on their brain function,” Ayala said.
This could lead to technologies like time-release capsules or patches.
“It’s a big subject,” Reifler says. “CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, think about working out, athletes, people with arthritis, weekend warriors. It’s the ability to take the edge off all that without changing your mental state.”
Hopefully these methodologies will help drive away much of the stigma that hanging around cannabis culture. Many older folks have a lot of anxiety when it comes to the taboo of perceived substance abuse. Presenting cannabinoids, especially THC in a controlled manner has a pronounced effect, Reifler said, who gained this knowledge first hand from convincing his 87-year-old mother-in-law with a SōRSE product.
“She has a lot of pain, and she really enjoys drinking half of a Happy Apple, because it just calms her anxiety down, it’s not about getting stoned or anything like that,” he said.
If SōRSE can convince one person that cannabis isn’t a harmful community destroying drug; but a medicine and tool for the benefit of society, it shouldn’t have trouble convincing more of the same. Generations of people tricked by federal anti-drug campaigns still believe cannabis is a no good weed that makes people high, unmotivated and lazy.
SōRSE has the potential to give you the medical and social benefits of cannabis without any of the negatives that can occur by getting too high. American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn invented the idea of a paradigm shift. Kuhn wrote in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” he believes when an old paradigm is replaced by a new one, the new paradigm is always better.