In a cannabis market awash with thousands of strains and a flood of information on dosing and consumption – some credible, and some, not so much – how can patients make sure they get the most out of their medicine?
A B.C.-based research and tech company, Resolve Digital Health, is working on a solution: the world’s first smart device for medical cannabis. Once it hits the market, creators say, the Breeze Smart Inhaler will connect patients, caregivers, doctors and dispensaries to deliver highly customized, effective and reliable canna-based treatment plans for people in pain.
Civilized caught up with the folks behind Breeze recently at Toronto’s O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo for a first-hand look at the device.
“It started with an idea: how do we make medical cannabis actually medical?” said Resolve CEO Rob Adelson, holding the boxy, touch-screen activated vaporizer (the company’s 13th iteration of the device, to date). “We think that data, dosing and delivery really is the future of medical cannabis.”
The device, which has been in development for the past three years, collects, stores and tracks data from patients who use it. Integrated with a smartphone app, Breeze assesses a patient’s symptoms both before and after they vape, notes which strains they’ve consumed and measures the effectiveness of the treatment. Anonymous data is sent back to Resolve, where it’s stored and assessed to help give growers and front-line caregivers accurate information on what works for specific conditions and what doesn’t.
“In the world of cannabis, we all know that it works, but we don’t necessarily know why. We don’t know all the reasons why this magical plant works. We want to take a shot at understanding,” Adelson said.
For patients, especially those new to marijuana, finding the ideal strain, administration method and dosage to adequately combat their specific condition can be a daunting task.
“For a patient to have to understand pain while they’re in pain is very difficult,” Adelson said, adding Breeze wasn’t designed just to help manage general pain, but specific pain, caused by specific conditions, from arthritis to lymphoma.
Resolve’s growers have developed a system for mitigating the risk of variability in specific strains, so plants are producing consistently and reliably, Adelson says. Strain tracking goes beyond THC and CBD; the company’s analysts capture genetic markers of the strains they’re using in the pods, cataloguing over 100 different cannabinoids, in the hope that the potential of those lesser-known cannabinoids may become better understood as patients upload data.
The device is set to soft launch within the next few months at select California dispensaries. North of the border, Resolve is partnered with licensed medical producer, Aphria. In Canada, Resolve hopes to offer the device at pharmacies, cannabis clinics, with licensed producers and online.
“It’s very exciting to see pharma companies and doctors looking at (cannabis). When compared to opioids, this could be much better solution,” Adelson said. “There’s a great opportunity right now for medical cannabis to be medical, and empowering patients is a big deal.”