by Nick Marshall
At Mistifi, we believe creating premium cannabis products is as much about science as it is about art — and that a love of the flower should be at the heart of everything we do. No one represents that better than our Master Blender and Vice President of Product Development Skyler Webb, who helped pioneer our Hi-Phi extraction and blending process that makes every moment extraordinary.
We grabbed a moment with Skyler and took a look behind the scenes to learn more about what it takes to create our ultra-pure, ultra-powerful cannabis vaping experience.
Where do most vape pens fall short?
The most important thing to understand is that the cannabis flower has several unknown compounds — and those unknowns are often what make it so beautiful and complex.
Before we developed the Hi-Phi extraction method and built the Mistifi pen, there was really not a good option in the market for delivering the effect and flavor that you get from flower, which is driven by the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. A lot of companies at the time were adding back terpenes, but it’s very difficult to simulate a nature identical profile. You might get close, but it’s never the same experience due to the fact there are so many unknown or immeasurable compounds that exist in cannabis. And then you have companies who were using really harmful diluents such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin or even flavors containing diacetyl. They didn’t really understand how to develop a functional, safe and effective cannabis oil through which is compatible with a vaporization device and the end product just tastes funky and unnatural. It was also not a great experience.
Each flower strain delivers its own efficacy and flavor, so that’s what we set out to capture with our vape pens. We wanted to create a vape device that creates all the same benefits as vaping, such as discretion, ease of use, without sacrificing all of the natural mind-body benefits of the entourage effect. We’ve achieved this super entourage effect by our ability to really capture nature, apply it to the triple blends, and deliver it to consumers through a premium vape device.
Why should cannabis lovers care about Hi-Phi?
With the Hi-Phi extraction process, we’re delivering the identical ratios of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes that are found in flower. We’re able to capture the entire magic of the top-shelf, premium cured cannabis. Capturing what’s provided by nature is the whole point of the Hi-Phi extraction process. Because we realized that the best experience, flavors and therapeutic value comes from what’s grown naturally.
Also important is what’s not coming through in that extract. We can remove the chlorophyll, fibers and waxes that have no therapeutic or functional value but give that “plant” taste. We spent a great deal of time working out how to remove these in order to reach our target consistency while maintaining the targeted nature identical ratios. One thing we did focus on is the quality of our raw material. We don’t use trim like some extractors do; we use high quality smokable flower, which makes a huge difference.
How does Hi-Phi impact my high?
The cannabinoid and terpene profiles are extremely important when it comes to efficacy. We’re actually able to create strain-specific extracts because we’re able to maintain those proportions through the extraction process. Other companies are attempting to do this with full-spectrum extracts and they’re adding back the profile that they think is there or only providing a snapshot of the profile instead of actually capturing the genuine profile. Theirs are a representation and ours are identical.
The terpene profile will determine which direction your high is going and the cannabinoids will give you the intensity along with non-psychoactive therapeutic value. I like to describe the terpenes as the steering wheel while the cannabinoids are the gas pedal. However, this becomes slightly more complicated when making blends, which makes strain selection extremely important. When I develop these triple strains, I’m not just looking for strains that are compatible with each other but those that are also slightly different to each other. If they had the same profile you wouldn’t get this unique super effect. These variations create profound complexity when blended.
We started by really understanding the importance of different profiles and that led us to understanding that the flower has the ultimate profile, everything is there. So we knew that our extract had to have one hundred percent of what the flower has.
Why is Cantography such an important feature?
Cantography is a process that allows us to rapidly test micro extractions in just a fraction of time and raw material versus full scale extractions. It ensures we’re making the same extract batch every time and meeting our profile target. At the same time we’re also making sure that we’re providing a safe product because sometimes the raw material will have undetectable levels of harmful compounds absorbed during cultivation. When we put it through our micro-extraction it concentrates those in the same way our large scale extractor would.
From a blending perspective, if one of our strains is suddenly no longer available anywhere in the world and we want to make the same exact product from a new supply, it also provides assistance in analyzing the supply chain; it allows me to go through the new strain selection process very rapidly. I can test the compatibility with the other two strains and make sure I’m creating the super strain we sought out to make.
In the industry, most brands have a single-strain pen that’s dependent on the supply of that flower. Ours is not tied to a strain but to a blended experience. With cantography, we can make sure that if the supply runs out of a specific strain we can replace it with another strain and still get that same consistent experience.
How did you become a cannabis Master Blender?
After completing my degree in Chemistry, I moved out to Colorado and wound up in Research & Development in the food and beverage industry. During that time, I then obtained my masters in food science. Being in Colorado and also a consumer of flower, I started to become interested in the emerging cannabis industry and became curious as to how I could apply my education and experience.
Cannabistry later reached out to me with an exciting opportunity. My hesitations with entering this new and underdeveloped industry, were no longer a factor to hold me back and I now had a chance to join a group of scientific professionals seeking to fully understand the science behind making the best cannabis products. We weren’t creating products that never existed but we were doing something to products that didn’t exist. Once I became educated in cultivation, the inherent variations and the endocannabinoid system, I was then able to apply a food science approach, based on usage rate, formulation and impact level. This allowed me to understand what to look for in achieving the best vape product in the market through strain selection.
It’s an art, too. Once I have the three strains figured out, I have to do the hard work at the bench figuring out the right ratios to develop the most compatible and complex blend possible. In flavor development, aroma typically translates to flavor in that respect, but when you’re doing it with a vape device those compounds change to heat. An additional part of the challenge is making sure nothing changes drastically through the heating process.
What would a natural leaf smoker enjoy in these pens that might surprise them?
Number one is the efficacy. I’ve never seen a device that matches it. But also you can taste the strains, which is really important. Our ability to create these strain-specific extracts is what could convert someone from flower to vaping. It has for me. Additionally, with a vape device you’re also not getting that harsh throat feel or off notes you get with combustion, on top of the fact that any time you’re combusting plant material, it’s carcinogenic.
Then there’s discretion, ease of use and value. If you go and purchase $50 of flower that might only last you a few days. But one vape pen might last a couple of weeks. You can hit a Mistifi pen and get a high off one hit, and each pen will deliver around 200. MISTIFI provides all of the benefits of smoking flower and vaping in one experience.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing the Mistifi pen?
We knew analytically on paper what we had achieved but the next step was to develop a device that would translate these oils into a user experience. We then had to develop a device with our manufacturer to protect the integrity of our oils and deliver the beautiful ratios of terpenes we worked so hard to capture. The relationship of the device in the oil is probably the greatest consideration required when developing a vaporization product. That’s why we originally went with a disposable vape pen as opposed to a cartridge that consumers could use on any power supply. We wanted to make sure our consumers were experiencing our oils the way we intended them to be. Developing this proper relationship was not an easy task as we have unique oils, so off the shelf options were not compatible. Once the device was developed, we knew MISTIFI was the best luxury vaping experience, but it was definitely not an easy task.