In terms of trends, marijuana consumers are increasingly clear about one thing: they don't want to have to smoke pot in order to experience the plant's benefits. In addition to being smelly, invasive, and potentially carcinogenic, smoking is an inefficient way to deliver the effects of cannabis - and companies are consistently developing new ways to do it better.
Enter the relatively new domain of cannabis sprays. Designed to be administered sublingually - that is, with a quick spritz or two under the tongue - they're being billed as a discrete, fast-acting, effective way to medicate without having to bother with smoking gear (or even a vaporizer).
Here are three types of cannabis sprays, all of them aimed at a different audience - and why they're catching on, or not.
From the folks at Mirth Provisions, Drift is a little black tube that contains 100mg of pure THC, making it perfect for bringing along "to bars, concerts, parties and anywhere else you want to pass the joy around." The peppermint-oil flavoured spray is derived from organic, locally sourced cannabis: spray it under your tongue, hold it there for 30 seconds. and "within five to fifteen minutes, you'll be enjoying a smooth, subtle body high. Every spray contains exactly 1.6 mg of THC, so it's easy to build your own experience." According to Mirth, it's also "four times faster than any other non-smoked marijuana product, and up to 3 times more potent than conventional tinctures."
GW Pharmaceuticals developed this spray for medical consumers: although it can now be prescribed for patients with multiple sclerosis in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Spain, it's not legal in the United States (yet). Sativex is hugely expensive for patients without medical coverage: in New Zealand, for example, the cost of an average annual prescription is an estimated $16,000 (US), according to Leaf Science (who also note the observation of Professor Gavin Giovannoni that the drug has "not been proven to be cost-effective" in the UK). For medical consumers who can afford it, however, Sativex been proven extremely effective in treating MS-related muscle spasticity, as well as arthritis and neuropathic pain.
3. Gold Mist
It looks like a vial of Jovan Musk or V05 Hot Oil: however, this micro-atomizer delivers 3 to 6mg of THC in a precise burst of spray, depending on whether you use Gold Mist 1x or 2x. Unlike edibles, the cinnamon-flavoured spray takes effect within five to 10 minutes and lasts up to two hours: you'll know within a couple of minutes whether or not the dose was sufficient, and the effects, according to manufacturers, are "similar to smoking cannabis, but without the smoke. Tastes great with no dry mouth." Each 3.5ml vial contains approximately 80 sprays, and retails for $40.