2020 started off quietly, then transitioned into the first modern pandemic the world has seen since 1918.
In America, many states implemented a stay-at-home order, forcing residents to remain indoors and only venture out for supplies deemed "essential". Thankfully cannabis was included in the list of essential businesses, which meant that people had a sudden influx of free time to consume it at home. Since the Covid-19 virus affects the respiratory system, cannabis consumers have to be more cautious about sharing and keeping their devices clean. As the weeks went by, dispensaries began only allowing customers to pick up orders placed over the phone or online. This completely eliminated the interaction a customer might have with a budtender when needing recommendations. Furthermore, with all the extra time, they also have to be conscious of their intake, which is nearly impossible with all form factors except for edibles and tinctures. Here at mode, we have created a device and companion app that solves many of the current complications created by the Coronavirus; cleanliness, lack of recommendations, and dosage control.
In the pre-Covid19 days, most cannabis consumers paid little attention to what their mouthpieces touched and who they shared their vape devices with. A quick wiping off of the mouthpiece with a shirt was the general protocol, which is obviously not the most effective method of removing viruses or bacteria. After being placed in a pocket, purse or backpack, dirt tends to accumulate in the air-hole of the mouthpieces, which traps organic material and can block airflow. We took all of this into account when creating our dosing device and included a simple cap. Our cap fits cleanly with the design, snapping easily over the top of any half gram or full gram cartridge. This cap shields the mouthpiece from external contamination and keeps all debris out of the air-hole. It especially prevents germs transferring from the consumer’s hand to the mouthpiece when being placed in or removed from a pocket. Something as simple as a cap is particularly important for users with compromised immune systems during these times. The cap is separate from the device, and is not needed to operate it, but we highly recommend using it at all times while we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.
Lack of Reliable Recommendations
Budtenders act as the liaison between cannabis consumers and the plant. They are there to assist both the new and experienced with making a selection based on their desired outcomes. As the outbreak progressed, most dispensaries banned in-store shopping and had limited staff there to answer any questions. This is a complicated situation for new users with all that extra time on their hands, as choosing the right brand and strain can be a daunting task. With our companion app, we set out to build the most robust recommendation system based on the consumer’s individual needs and characteristics. This is achieved through a series of onboarding questions related to the consumer’s experience with cannabis, desired outcomes, and physical traits. It’s easy and takes very little time, but with that information, we can compile a list of suggested strains that are more likely to provide a pleasant experience. The goal isn’t to eliminate budtenders, just to mitigate their responsibilities in times of crisis and provide an option for those consumers who are less comfortable selecting a product in person.
Humans tend to take consumption to the extreme with many substances and cannabis is no exception. Now that most of the world has been cooped up indoors, and 30% of the U.S. workforce is unemployed, people have too much free time to just sit, watch TV and smoke copious amounts of cannabis. This can become extremely expensive and impedes their ability to function properly, creating a certain level of dependency. Our device is a powerful solution to this predicament. It allows a user to accurately set their desired (or recommended from the app) dosage by the milligram, achieving the perfect “high” for that individual. The ability to set a specific dose has other benefits, including extending the lifespan of a cartridge, reducing battery drain from constant inhalation, and allows cannabis to be used as an actual medication in vapor form. Our customers can also set limits on their consumption, such as 10mg for the day. Once the limit is reached, the device will restrict usage until the next day. This can help those who consume far too much cut back and be more conscious with how often they are taking a puff. Mode is the first company that offers these features for universal 510 cartridges, and also the first to use an algorithm to predict exact dosage with ~90% accuracy. Until now, cannabis users could never equate a number with the perfect experience.
Mode began long before the pandemic, but many of the device and app features make it a prime option for times such as these. No longer will consumers be slaves to their consumption, lacking all control and guidance. Keeping the mouthpiece clean will now require less effort and worry on the consumer's part. Choice paralysis will be a thing of the past with intelligent recommendations to filter through the thousands of options. Over time the pandemic will subside and life will return to usual, but it may not be the last. The current Covid-19 pandemic strengthens the need for a product such as this, at a time when consumers may require assistance to be more responsible in how they approach cannabis usage. Cannabis is a dose-sensitive plant with an impressive list of benefits that are maximized when used properly. When abused, cannabis can damage relationships, physical and mental health and productivity. At mode, our goal is to create a happier, healthier, and now safer society for those who choose to use this incredible plant.