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The cannabis craze is smoking across America but this ain’t your papa’s pot. And while smoking, for some, is the purest way to experience the flower, science and technology are tilling the soil to create an extracted high to rival any joint. Now before you turn up your nose and close your lungs to even the notion of anything as satisfying as smoke, there is one engineer and self-proclaimed THC artist who is using technology to extract a new spectrum of sensations.

Paul Gelardi is no stoner who decided to puff into the cannabis business to make money from his pot pastime. Say what? Paul is a real-deal mechanical engineer who builds manufacturing processes using innovative technologies. As CEO of High Tech Extracts, Paul rolled into the cannabis conclave to solve what he saw as an engineering problem. Many current THC extraction methods used carcinogenic chemicals and other polluted technologies to extract THC   from marijuana. And the outcome of impure THC infused products like magic brownies or vapes? Consumers were unwittingly ingesting chemicals and bio-byproducts some of which are known cancer causers and others that are just plain janky junk to your body. Erik Knutson, CEO, Keef Brands, explains, “The quality of the extract used in the products directly impacts the effect and efficacy of the product. Degraded THC oil typically contains high of levels of CBN, that can lead to low potency issues and other undesirable outcomes.”  So, Paul put on his engineering think-hat and voila, problem solved. “The word purity means different things to different people,” explained Paul. “To some, it means 95% potency and to others, it means full spectrum with minimal post extraction processing. To me, purity means keeping harmful substances like pesticides out of the extract and avoiding the use of non-cannabinoid carrier oils or diluents. This is what is most important.”

So, with the help of chemical engineer guru and executive team member Norman Olson, Paul’s vision of creating a do-no-harm extraction contraption took shape. Like Dr. Frankenstein, but without the creepy monster who kills people, Paul incorporated elements from other successful manufacturing processes to create his extraction systems. What makes his systems so unique?  Well, let’s ask Paul! “Hightech Extracts’ SCFN Extraction Systems are the result of 23 years of experience designing, building and extracting essential oils and natural compounds with supercritical CO2,” explained Paul. “We have experience with over 600 active principles from over 300 bio-botanical raw materials. We offer a wide range of options including liquid CO2, ethanol co-extraction, automatic clean-in-place, single double and triple vessel extraction systems as well as filtering vessels, wax traps, fractionation columns, supercritical water extraction, CO2 pasteurization, supercritical chromatography, and micronization. We offer these options from 1-liter lab extraction systems to systems as large as 8,000 liters.” Wow, all that for a healthy high? Cool dude!

Paul takes you on a tour of High Tech Extracts and explains the science of extraction

Now the industry standard and top extraction line on the market, High Tech Extracts is the go-to company for health-conscious cannabis infused product manufacturers. And why? Because consumers demanded it. Duh! In the brave new world of THC edibles, vapes, beverages, and topicals the buying power of the all-natural pot population set the quality bar in a widely unregulated market. A green beacon in the marijuana munchies market is MariMed, makers of THC infused, all-natural fruit rolls, Betty’s Eddies and KalmKorn, THC infused popcorn. “Cannabis infused products represent 30% to 50% of all cannabis sales in 2017,” explained MariMed CEO Robert Fireman. “The total cannabis market is expected to grow from $7B to $50B by 2025 and the THC infused market is expected to grow well over $25B. Adoption by new users such as seniors and others may grow this market even higher. A consumer’s emotional benefit is directly related to a brand’s promise, purpose, and predictability. MariMed’s standard operating procedures (SOP) demands extensive testing and certifications in all plant extraction processes while surpassing all government and regulatory requirements. Utilization of poor quality ingredients rather than all-natural organic products will lead to a less than desired medical experience.”

Although the future of cannabis and technology may seem hazy, Paul believes the best is yet to come. “As the market grows, the trend in the industry is to larger extraction systems and an increasing number of end products which in turn requires more and different extraction and post-processing methods,” said Paul. And, vape tote takers will benefit? Cool dude! 

So, the next time someone passes you a magic brownie or THC infused beverage, think of Paul and his magic extraction contraptions. The purity and quality of the extract used are key. It’s not just about the high. It’s about the long-term effect of what you’re ingesting. And thanks to technology and innovative engineers like Paul, a healthful science-backed happy snack is not only possible but preferred! Munch on!

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About The Author
Tina Tyler
Tina Tyler is a veteran broadcast news anchor/reporter. Tyler is the founder and CEO of TINA ON TECH where she serves as producer and host of the weekly syndicated podcast TINA ON TECH and Editor-in-Chief for the TINA ON TECH website. Tyler is also a contributing writer for Tyler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Tyler is the only African American female TV host, writer, producer, and owner of technology-themed content.

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