Cannabis packaging—a snapshot

Whether you see it as a return to the Wild West or the opportunity of a lifetime, the cannabis industry has arrived. But be forewarned: its most distinguishing characteristic is rapid change.

The science of freshness
“You wouldn’t leave a glass of wine out all night and expect it to be fresh or taste the same the next day,” says Serge Chistov from Honest Marijuana Company in Colorado. Chistov sounds like a scientist as he discusses perishability and the chemical changes over time that degrade cannabis.

“Marijuana, like most plant and animal matter, is perishable,” says the company’s website. “That means that it is likely to decay, go bad quickly, or lose inherent properties that are important to the product. To put that in perspective, think about a 2-liter bottle of soda. When you first open the bottle, if the product is good, the carbonation is still a big part of the experience. The soda is fizzy, and that’s fun.

“But now think about that soda two days later. No matter how tightly you turned the cap, the carbonation has escaped and the drink is no longer fizzy. The soda has gone flat. Though it’s still safe to drink, an inherent property that is important to the product—and the experience—has disappeared. That’s perishability.”

Light, oxygen, humidity, and temperature all combine to degrade a flower, joint, or concentrate after repeated openings. Why is this degradation bad? Because it minimizes “the entourage effect,” says Honest Marijuana’s Web site. That is, it’s a combination of THC, CBD, terpines, etc., that contribute to the effect marijuana has, and if one component of that entourage is degraded, the overall effect is negatively affected.

To preserve this “entourage effect,” Honest Marijuana comes packaged in an easy-open steel can with a ring-pull end and a snap-on plastic lid for reclosure purposes. After the cans are filled they are placed beneath a liquid nitrogen dosing unit from Vaccum Barrier Corp. that adds a small amount of nitrogen (see video). Then the ring-pull end is placed on the can and the can goes through a conventional seaming unit. The liquid nitrogen gases off and displaces residual oxygen content, reducing it from somewhere in the range of 25% to less than 4%. This greatly extends the amount of time the product stays fresh. The can supplier is n2 Packaging, and that firm’s partner GreenTek Innovation provided the machinery that’s involved (see accompanying sidebar below titled “Unusual C-R can end”).

Honest Marijuana has also just launched two- and six-count blunts in a packaging format very different than the round cans from n2 Packaging, though once again nitrogen is involved for shelf life extension. The primary package is a tin container from Keenpack Ind’l Ltd. that holds either two or six blunts. The tin is placed into a thermoformed blister produced one-up on a Nano 60 thermoform/seal machine from Mactec. The 12-mil-thick forming web used is a PVDC-coated PVC material from Tekni-Plex. After an operator places a can in the formed cavity, it’s taken through an evacuation and nitrogen backflush chamber before lidding material is heat-sealed in place. Supplied by Glenroy, the lidstock is a seven-layer construction that includes a layer of foil for barrier purposes as well as an easy-peel component that is compatible with heat sealing to the tray. According to Mactec’s Mike Castaldo, the finished package qualifies as child-resistant because the only way to get through the materials is by way of a scissors. Also integrated into the Mactec machine is a Markem-Imaje X60 thermal-transfer printing system for imprint of lot and date code on the lidding material.

Clearly, Honest Marijuana appeals to a very specific breed of cannabis connoisseur. Great branding is all about telling a story, and Serge Chistov tells a very compelling one. Each strain is unique, and packaging ensures you get the strain that delivers the results and user experience the consumer pays for.

Honest Marijuana, by the way, features one of the best Web sites in the industry. Consumers are curious, wanting to experiment with different delivery methods, in the hopes of connecting with a brand. Found on the Web site are sections like “Organic Marijuana: The Definitive Guide.” Another section is on growing, including a list of necessary supplies. Yet another section, “Preservation and Perishability,” is a deep dive on the science of freshness. This company tells an engaging story of thought leadership.

Excerpt taken from the full article found here on www.packworld.com