NUG, a California-based cannabis company, is pushing a new line of "live resin" vaporizers that it's promoting as a clear-cut alternative to off-market and potentially dangerous vape products.
"Live resin is really the best expression of the plant that we can get through the extraction process," CEO and founder Dr. John Oram told Cheddar. "What comes out of that is a full-spectrum extract without any additives whatsoever."
The way the process works is NUG takes freshly frozen cannabis and extracts the product under extremely cold temperatures to better preserve flavor, taste, and smell, according to Oram.
Other producers tend to extract the THC and then distill it with flavor additives, he said. "It's more of an engineered product, whereas [our product] represents the plant in its entirety."
The product line is partially a response to the public health scare that erupted last year around vaping, in which 60 people died and thousands became sick after using vape oil extracts that contained vitamin E acetate — a compound strongly linked to the e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) outbreak.
In an industry still dominated by the illegal market, Oram said the onus is on NUG to show the consumer how a regulated and refined marijuana product is better and safer.
NUG is also seeking to provide additional assurances on the consumer side as well. The company is currently working with Solo Sciences Inc., which built its reputation securing brands and government agencies against counterfeit activities, to allow customers to verify a NUG product via a downloadable app that scans a barcode placed on each product.
The extra effort isn't exactly cheap, Oram added, but NUG sees its mandate as securing the product at every stage of the process: from the manufacturer to the point-of-sale.
"All of the measures that we're talking about add costs," Oram said. "We're trying to solve a problem that we didn't necessarily create, the problem being that consumers don't know where to shop and may or may not be able to trust the shops that they're going to."
"Those are all costs that a business normally shouldn't have to bear, but the state of the industry in California is such that we are taking these measures proactively to protect the consumer," he added.