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Upgrading Weed Technology: The Vaporizer

Last week I had the good fortune of speaking with someone who is not part of the cannabis industry per se, but his business—which is peripherally related—seems to be running in tandem with the industry’s second wave.
April 20, 2011, 4:00pm

By Zach G. Moldof

Last week I had the good fortune of speaking with someone who is not part of the cannabis industry per se, but his business—which is peripherally related—seems to be running in tandem with the industry's second wave. There are three gentlemen behind the Cloud 9 Firefly: a product designer, a computer scientist, and a mechanical engineer.

They're not growers or dispensary owners, they're just accomplished professionals who saw the evolution of vaporizer technology as an opportunity to capitalize on consumers' need for a product that was more accurately tailored for them.

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Vaporizing is a preferable way to administer not only cannabis, but also tobacco, and most likely any other smokable plants when compared to combusted smoke. It still allows the patient to have a rapid response, but it eliminates the harmful byproducts by administering indirect heat that is hot enough to burn cannabinoids, but not hot enough to burn plant matter.

If you've never used a vaporizer, they're somewhat archaic. While the result is great (the "smoke" you inhale contains three compounds, as opposed to combusted smoke, which contains 110, it's far less detrimental to your health, and the taste is much nicer) the tool itself is rather clumsy.

Some work better than others, but as far as I know they're all ugly, and they're not convenient. You have to wait for them to heat up, and loading/unloading them is not necessarily conducive to ease of use. We've reached a point where although the technology is there, no one has taken the initiative to update the form.

So, the gentlemen behind the Firefly did what they do best, and set to work figuring out what works and what doesn't, and where it all falls short of consumers' needs. They're no hacks. Between the three of them they've worked with Apple, Zune, NASA, Nike, and so on.

I'm waiting on an opportunity to try out one of their prototypes, but the rundown they gave me is very straightforward. It's less a matter of daring innovation than it is one of analyzing human beings, and facilitating their natural behaviors.

Read the rest at Vice Magazine.