In the nascent, ever-evolving cannabis industry, value drivers rise and fall. For a while, securing a Canadian license to cultivate was the big thing. As more companies cleared that hurdle, footprint and production capacity took over. Looking into the not too distant future, consistent and quality production at low cost seems likely to be very important. Then, as flower becomes commoditized and prices settle, a focus on branding and high margin products derived from cannabis could become a focus. But there is one underlying issue many companies are trying to solve that has the potential to open up whole new worlds of cannabis products: cannabinoid delivery.
Sproutly Inc. is a private company going public in Canada in the very near future. The company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Toronto Health Remedies, recently received its ACMPR cultivation license for its state of the art 16,600 square foot production facility. On a parallel track, Sproutly is nearing completion of the acquisition of Infusion Biosciences Canada, a company with Canadian and international rights to a proprietary technology platform for the extraction of water soluble cannabinoids. The company’s discovery of, and ability to recover, naturally occurring water based cannabinoids has the potential to revolutionize the cannabis industry and solve many of the issues surrounding cannabinoid delivery.
Revolutionary Cannabinoid Technology
As an overview, cannabinoids have been traditionally thought of as lipophilic and hydrophobic. In other words, they travel in fats (think of oil extracts or butters used in edibles) and don’t mix with water. When ingested in edibles or drinks, this means that the body needs to digest them before they can enter the bloodstream, leading to a host of problems including delayed and inconsistent onset, low percentage of active ingredients actually reaching the bloodstream, and an uncertain end to the desired effects of the drug. It’s a commonly known issue in the industry, and in the interest of brevity we won’t delve too deeply into the science right now but the research is out there to be found by interested parties.
What Sproutly and Infusion Biosciences have found turns the science of cannabis on its head. The company has discovered naturally occurring versions of cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant that are water based, not oil based. It has developed a patent-pending technology to gently and completely extract these cannabinoids while maintaining all of the qualities of the original cannabis flower. As opposed to traditional oil based extraction methods which often damage or alter some active ingredients, the company’s APP (Aqueous Phytorecovery Process) Technology accomplishes complete and clean extraction without denaturing any molecules.
Sproutly believes that APP represents a fundamental paradigm shift within the cannabis industry. Replacing traditional water-compatible solutions with true water-solubility improves the body’s ability to utilize the effects of cannabinoids. By utilizing the platform, the company is able to deliver effects comparable to vaping or smoking without the smoking but with very precise dosing. It takes less than 5 minutes to feel the effects, and 90 minutes for them to wear off. Compare that to the common experience with edibles: delayed onset, unknown but long lasting duration, imprecise dosing. In essence, the technology provides a known and predictable experience akin to drinking a glass or two of wine.
The company currently has two products from the APP technology. One is Infuz2O, the first truly water-soluble cannabis solution to be formulated into beverages. The other is Bio-Natural Oil, a cannabinoid oil for edibles or transdermal delivery that carries with it all of the unique characteristics of the original cannabis strain.
The implications are vast. Industry wide, there is a trend toward alternatives to smoking. Edibles and extracts are on the rise, flower consumption is decreasing. In Canada, oil sales have surpassed flower sales and are growing at a much higher rate. As recreational use hits the market casual and curious consumers are even more likely to be interested in non-smoking solutions, but not if eating one cookie could lead to a seemingly unending bad trip. People want the effects of cannabis in a known and quantifiable dose, and APP Technology provides just that.
Additionally, the water-solubility creates an easy solution for cannabinoid beverages. This potential application is a major focus of producers across North America, with companies announcing joint ventures and partnerships with breweries and health product makers alike. Constellation Brands famously invested $245 million in top Canadian licensed producer Canopy Growth with an eye toward developing cannabis beverages. It’s a hot sector, and Sproutly has the technology to launch it even further.
Peak production is expected to be in the neighborhood of 1,400 kg/year at Toronto Health’s cultivation facility. This amount pales in comparison to some of the larger producers in Canada, but it translates nicely into 18.9 million 5mg doses of the company’s Infuz2O water product and 39 million doses of the company’s Bio-Natural Oil product.
Sproutly can control its own strains and production methods through Toronto Health Remedies, important since the APP process brings along with it any impurities or additives present in the source plant material. Should the company exceed its own supply capacity, it can enter into supply agreements with other trusted producers.
There is much more to cover with Sproutly, including international market opportunities and management experience among other subjects. We will be covering all of that and more, but for now it’s important to realize that the company is going public very soon, giving investors a chance to get involved in a technology that is fundamentally disrupting cannabis science and some of the highest growth sectors in the market. Stay tuned for more developments.
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