I Tried hmbldt's Target Formula Dose-Pens and Guess What
Big pharma could learn a thing or two from this cannabis startup.
Cannabis is more than just weed. The herb is also a wellness product. And in 2016, cannabis-oil “vape pens” are as ubiquitous and fashionable as the handbags we keep them in. But many of these devices don’t actually deliver what they claim to. The goopy substance inside can have more in common with snake oil than with any medicinal marijuana blend.
California-based hmbldt claims to take a more thoughtful approach to the therapeutic vape. The consumer product brand’s targeted formula line of dose-pens was developed to deliver predictable, reliable, reproducible results. The pens come in four formulations: Calm, Relief, Sleep, Bliss.
“Our formulas are different [from others on the market],” Samantha Miller, chief science officer for hmbldt tells KINDLAND. “They contain no fillers, or additives, other than the cannabinoid extract and terpenes. The formulas and the device come together in a great marriage to provide the targeted effects of the formula, applied in controlled doses.”
Most vapor pens on the market were originally designed for e-cigarette devices. Virtually no other device that is being used for cannabis oil, has been designed for cannabis.
The hmbldt device looks and works differently than other portable vaporizers people are using to consume cannabis oil. To indicate when you’ve inhaled the correct dosage, and to avoid overcooking what’s inside, the hmbldt pen vibrates.
“Our proprietary dose-pen was designed specifically for these formulas,” says Miller. “It’s a very thoughtful piece of technology. Generally speaking, most vapor pens on the market were originally designed for e-cigarette devices, and as such, have different heating profiles, or quickly ramp up to high temperatures that can burn or degrade the cannabinoids. Even if you have a great formula, you won’t get to experience it because of the extreme heat. It’s intuitive. You don’t have to wait for a light, or press a button. Virtually no other device that is being used for cannabis oil, has been designed for cannabis.”
Before joining the hmbldt team, Miller founded Pure Analytics Laboratories. The biochemist businesswoman places a heavy emphasis on consumer education, and relies on an analytical database of anecdotal consumer experiences to inform the research that goes into developing hmbldt products.
“In a realm where there is limited research, we gain a lot of insight through anecdotal feedback from patients, into how cannabis works for them,” says Miller, who also runs a seminar series on the endocannabinoid system and working cannabis into an individual wellness regimen.
“Cannabis is very complex. It’s important to view terpenes from a more holistic perspective,” says Miller. “It is less about what individual terpene elicits a given effect, and more about the terpene profile. Our goal is to accentuate the benefits of the plant, and to bring complete terpene profiles to drive the efficacy and reliability to the patient.”
Hanging up with Miller, and keeping her words in mind, I unboxed my hmbldt dose pens and began my own consumer trial.
When it comes to cannabis, I generally consume more sativa strains than indicas––I have a packed schedule and appreciate more than a little pep in my step, and don’t want to be weighed down. Bliss sounds like a good starting point. hmbldt recommends limiting the intake to no more than three doses per hour. The novelty of the vibrating pen, and the clean flavor profiles in the oil, inspire me to dive in with four in a row. Within moments, I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily feeling blissful, but an uplifting sense of well-being helps me power through the rest of my afternoon deadlines and forget about the oppressive death-of-summer Los Angeles heat. Another hit before dinner has me feeling talkative.
I’m not good at sleeping. I never have been. It sometimes takes a few dabs to get my head to even stay somewhat glued to the pillow. Nearly a month of traveling, writing, and preparing to move had me en route to Mars. Three hits from the sleep pen did little to tire me out, but it certainly helped to bring me back down to Earth. Midnight comes and goes; so do three more doses from the pen. I don’t remember falling asleep (do we ever?), but I must have dozed off shortly after.
I shoot out of bed. I wake up in the way you don’t ever want to wake up: Sweaty. Late for work. In a rush. Out of breath. Feeling (and probably looking) as if I didn’t sleep at all. I splash some cold water on my face and drink a bottle of room temperature tea I opened the day before.
Take a deep breath. Stop pacing the room. Inhale. Exhale. You’re only 27. You’re only human. Calm down.
So I do. I reach for the hmbldt Calm dose-pen and breathe in until it vibrates. I pass it to a friend, who also works in the cannabis space and suffers from anxiety.
“That tastes good,” my friend tells me. “And it’s not too heavy,” she says before leaving to pick up a late breakfast in Hollywood.
I stop pacing. I begin my day. The air conditioning doesn’t work properly, but I feel fine.
I use a proxy to test out the Relief pen: A friend recovering from a gnarly dog-bite on her foot tells me that the pen was a great addition to the wound treatment therapy she attends each morning. An avid cannabis consumer, my friend is accustomed to higher doses, or strains that elicit heavy highs. She skips a dosage of the doctor-recommended painkillers when I tell her she can keep the Relief pen.
I am not a huge fan of any cannabis oil, or vaporizer pens. The purist in me prefers a dab nine times out of ten. But logic, a sleek design, effective functionality, and knowing that the people behind this product care deeply about what goes inside of it, has me thinking: The hmbldt targeted formulas might actually be the pen for me. Not only am I not being paid by the company for that ringing endorsement, I can even see myself picking one up from the dispensary.