The experience of eating edibles has never matched that of smoking a joint or hitting a pipe, largely due to how the body digests cannabinoids, terpenes, and other flavonoids. When edibles are digested, the terpenes are burnt off by acids in the digestive tract and THC is filtered through the liver to create 11-Hydroxy-THC, a byproduct of the metabolic process. This is why the effects when we metabolize THC feel so different from when we inhale it. Unlokt™ is a groundbreaking technology from Day Three Labs that utilizes the concept of first pass metabolism (also known as first pass effect, presystemic metabolism, or elimination). Unlokt packs the cannabinoids and terpenes onto a protein complex that is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing the valuable compounds to bypass the liver. The technology not only has reliable onset time: it is consistent, guaranteeing the same effect for every batch and, most importantly, creates an effect or outcome to match that of inhaling the extract from which it was made. Ganjapreneur connected with Day Three Labs’ CEO Josh Rubin to learn more about what the technology means for the cannabis industry.
“The novel consumer in cannabis is looking for a specific experience or to enhance some part of their life or relieve something. To date, we haven’t been able to consume edibles that achieve those experiences. But now with Unlokt™, we finally have a way of ingesting cannabis and having the desired outcome,” said Day Three Labs CEO Josh Rubin. “We’re providing that precision, we’re providing that predictability, but the most important thing here is we’re actually providing an avenue for all consumers to benefit from cannabis.”
Unlokt™ was developed in an Israeli pharmaceutical research lab before it was introduced to the United States cannabis market. The product is not a nanoemulsion, which can contain harmful ingredients, and it doesn’t work by tricking the body into absorbing cannabinoids – it is a protein complex that takes advantage of a naturally occurring process in the human body. Rather than focus on particle size and emulsion, Day Three Labs packs cannabinoids and terpenes onto the protein complex much like sugar sticks to a raisin in Raisin Bran cereal with only 2 ingredients– cannabis and protein. Before it was implemented, the tech was tested in a tissue culture lab and underwent several animal PK studies. As products made with Unlokt™ debut across the US, the lab and the brands are collecting surveys and anecdotal data, as well.
Denver, Colorado-based Olio was the first brand to release a product formulated with Unlokt™. Their mission is to create products that reflect the garden and as such, prefer to use live rosin. As they shopped for inputs for their live edibles line, many other brands attempted to direct them toward high THC extracts rather than the full spectrum products they desired. Their search eventually led to the partnership with Day Three Labs. The input agnostic technology can be applied to any type of ingestible cannabis products made using rosin, distillate, live resin, and even high-potency tincture. Olio opted to produce a chef-developed live resin gummy including only the finest ingredients, from the live resin input to the fruit de pate. The brand desired an edible that closely matched the effects of inhaling the live resin it was made with, and that is what drew them to Unlokt™.
Steve Morigi, Brand Product and Process Manager at Olio, told Ganjapreneur: “They are, to our knowledge, the only company that can actually do this. They have the studies, they have the labs in Israel, they have the blood tests to show the cannabinoids coming through. We’ve personally just done potency testing and cannabinoid testing, terpene testing on the process pre and post their technology, and we see terpenes being transferred over. We see minor cannabinoids being transferred over and we see strain-specific unique profiles being transferred over.
“It’s just protein and cannabinoids, it’s all-natural and clean,” Morigi said. “But really it’s the experience itself, and that’s why this technology was designed. It was designed to create a far more efficient methodology of delivering cannabinoids directly into circulation. This technology protects the profile of the cannabis entirely and then shuttles that profile directly into circulation. So when we talk about strain specificity that’s what we’re referring to. It’s an entirely different experience than anything out there in the market, and anything to date.”
Day Three Labs has manufacturing labs in Colorado at Olio and their most recently opened site in Costa Mesa, California. They are also scaling an operation in New Mexico. To get started working with Day Three Labs, a brand sends their preferred input to the lab where they take the cannabinoids, terpenes, and desired compounds out and pack them onto protein particles. The exact profile is replicated into every edible. One aspect of this technology that excites Rubin is the ability to take anecdotal data of what cannabis strains can do for patients and hone in on the specific formulations that create the desired experience and effects.
“There’s a real dearth of research around this and very little in terms of precision and predictability. When you’re looking at someone who needs cannabis for a specific indication, activity, or an experience, we have yet to really get there to meet the consumer or the patient where they are. That’s what really motivates me to be pushing for more innovation and R&D for that consumer, so that they have that predictability,” Rubin said.
After the successful launch in Colorado, Unlokt™ technology is making its California debut in Toci Treats from The People’s Ecosystem. Toci Treats are designed for communities of color and will be available in standard 10 mg doses as well as microdoses. CEO Christine De La Rosa expressed gratitude and excitement in a recent interview with Ganjapreneur because people of color will be some of the first with access to this groundbreaking technology. “To create this category of medicine for my communities has always been a dream of mine. And, now that dream is a reality because another company believed in our vision. We believed in them just as much, that’s why this is such a big deal,” De La Rosa said.
Toci Treats are developed by TPE’s Chief Innovation Officer Chef Charleen Caabay in their Santa Rosa facility. After Caabay builds an SOP around a new product, it’s sent to Day Three Labs which identifies Unlokt™’s ideal form for the product and where best to insert the ingredient into the SOP. De La Rosa said, “This is literally the first time that I or anybody in the state of California – and we’re the second people in the United States – will be able to formulate very specifically.”
Being the first to use Unlokt™ in two state markets and crafting products specifically for communities who have been harmed by the war on drugs makes De La Rosa proud. First, for providing medicine for her communities, and second because, “It’s a huge signal to the industry that this is a viable, big, important market.”
And though she voices her pride at being among the first, she doesn’t want TPE to be the last to release products using the Unlokt™ technology. A few more California brands are scheduled to drop new Unlokt™ products in the coming year and it is likely that the technology will continue into new state markets soon.
Rubin is also proud: “We’re providing that precision, we’re providing that predictability, but the most important thing here is we’re actually providing an avenue for all consumers to safely benefit from cannabis as intended,” he said.
To learn more about Day Three Labs and Unlokt™ technology, visit daythreelabs.com.