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“The technology was originally developed for the cheese industry. In the past, a particular cheese would always be made during a particular time of year, at a particular region in the world. Cheddar cheese would only be made in Cheddar, England, for example. After a technology was developed for cheese aging rooms,there was no longer a need for the cheese to only be produced in the local climate and region that they were originally developed,” says David Sandelman, Founder of Cannatrol.
A couple of years ago, the founders of Cannatrol wanted to see if this technology could work on cannabis flower as well. “The drying and curing process is of great importance for cannabis producers. You can grow the most amazing plants but still ruin them in those post-harvest processes,” David says. “Our patented Vaportrol technology allows the free available water to leave the cannabis flower, the flower comes to equilibrium with the space, does not lose any more water, and is now curing. There is no more guesswork involved, and the system ensures consistent results.”

A need for consistency
Cannatrol started by developing a small prototype unit of what are now the Cool Cure and DC Quickstart systems. “The first grower we gave it to was so pleased with the results that they did not want to return the prototype, and when presenting the system at a cannabis event, we immediately saw a big interest,” David says. “Growers were looking for a way to get consistent results every time during the drying and curing process. With this technology, it doesn’t matter if it’s January in New England when it’s bone dry outside, or it’s August in Florida when it’s soaking wet outside: everyone gets consistent results. Now, an MSO can have the same product anywhere in the country, instead of an overdried product in the high desert of Colorado and a very different kind of product in humid Florida.”

Two steps turned into one
David explains that the Cannatrol systems also change the way that flower is handled post-harvest. “Up until now, people would dry then cure. “After the drying process is done, they remove the flower from the drying room and put it in sealed containers to start the curing process. The problem is that there is a lot of guesswork as to when to pull the flower from the drying process. If pulled too late, you overdry the flower, degrade the quality, and lose valuable weight. When the flower is not dried sufficiently and put into sealed containers, the flower can go moldy. To remedy that, they open the jars and bags. Again, there’s a lot of guesswork involved in that process.”
With the Vaportrol technology, the two separate steps of drying and then curing have become one. “The system has the perfect conditions to which you want the flower to be dried and holds it there. The free available water leaves the flower, the flower comes to equilibrium in the space, does not lose any more water, and it is now curing,” explains David. “Now you just leave it in the room, it’s curing and just gets better and better with time, without overdrying it. The technology lands everyone’s flower repeatedly at the same water activity.”  David explains that water activity is the measurement that the food and pharmaceutical industries use for drying products. “If a product is sold by weight, you don’t want to overdry your product, as you will lose extra weight, and thus money.  Instead, you want to precisely dry the product as far as necessary to have a shelf-stable product that will not go moldy.”

An opportunity to help growers
While the cannabis industry is experiencing challenges and a cutback in capital, Cannatrol has been seeing constant growth. “The state of the market has created an opportunity for us. The industry has been experiencing a bit of a race to the bottom with oversupply, competition, and falling prices. As a result, we find that companies are looking to sell better products. They want the consumer to recognize their brand as high quality and consistent. There are craft producers using our technology to cure the flower for 30, 60, or 90 days. Just like a premium scotch or brandy, they’re able to sell that flower at a premium price.” Moreover, by not overdrying the flower, David says that facilities are seeing a 3-7% increase in yield. “This is because of the weight they’re retaining in the flower that otherwise would have been lost due to over-drying. As margins get tighter, that has a great impact on your net profit,” David says.
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