Benjamin Patock is head of International relations at Boveda, they provide the world’s leading easy to use, precise, stable and at the same inexpensive and disposable 2-way humidity control for a wide array of use cases and industries: herbal medicine, tobacco, medical instruments, wooden musical instruments, food and more.
Boveda Inc. and their products slot right into the cannabis industry without any need to adapt. What is your main product for the cannabis industry?
At Boveda, we really only do one thing, but do that to perfection. We control the humidity level on the inside of any given closed container with a safe and natural product. Boveda adds and removes nothing but pure water vapor to create a stable environment.
Many of the processes around cannabis flowers—especially when it comes to product quality and safety—are tightly knotted to humidity. After cultivators go through the usual growing and drying routine, Boveda provides the perfect curing and storing aid. Using Boveda results in higher terpene retention, enhanced aroma, reduced risk of mold and ultimately higher bud weight by eliminating evaporation loss. Boveda is a quality control that easily pays for itself.
For cannabis flowers, an RH level around 60% has proven to be most beneficial. Cannabis stored over 65% RH has an accelerated risk of growing microbes and mold. Keep cannabis between 50 and 55% RH and the trichomes on the flower start breaking off, which reduces the medicinal value of the plant. You can choose Boveda 62% or 58% RH level for airtight cannabis containers. Without activation, without nasty refills, Boveda is a disposable device that is easily included in any packaging and is perfectly shippable.
Long story short: Boveda creates a stable, reliable, natural and safe surrounding that is inexpensive enough for big multinationals as well as consumers. And nobody likes to smoke dry cannabis. The taste is just harsh and horrible.
And how does this product work?
Every humidity control has two main components: Water (for humidification) and a controlling agent (to adjust humidity levels). Boveda differentiates itself by being the only company to use salts as its controlling agents and salts’ specific deliquescence points to regulate relative humidity.
Salts are very well researched at an international level. Every salt can absorb and release moisture to achieve a specific pivot point. Plain natural table salt’s point is 75% RH. Another natural salt’s point is 62% RH, which is perfect for cannabis flowers. Non-salt solutions are just not capable of doing anything that is close to that performance.
For instance in other industries such as cosmetics or lubricants, oftentimes glycerin is used to bind water. In order to set a glycerin-water mix to a different RH level though, you would simply add or remove moisture from the very same compound. That means the RH level will start automatically fluctuating once this solution is activated and gives or absorbs moisture. And with glycerin-water solutions, you have to worry about measuring, etc. So there is a whole string attached.
With salts, you just never have to worry. Our Boveda 62% salt-water mix for cannabis will only release 100% purified water when the RH is below 62% and only start absorbing moisture if it is above 62%. And Boveda will maintain that RH level for a very long time in an airtight cannabis container. End of story. Boveda’s ease and precision are why large cultivators choose Boveda over the competition. And if the “big players” trust their livelihood to us, cannabis patients and rec users should trust their flower to Boveda, too.
With a patent in place, global legislation is ideal for you guys. What was your stance on cannabis previous to the ‘Green Rush’?
We never entered an industry following dollar signs. The consumer wanted us there. More than 11 years ago Boveda entered the cannabis space quite unwittingly. Boveda 2-way humidity control was well established in the premium tobacco industry. Out of nowhere, we started selling very well in Northern California. There are no large tobacco growers in Northern California. Turns out cannabis growers were using Boveda to cure and store their cannabis flowers. Boveda works like a charm, every time, all the time. It is safe. It is precise. And it is inexpensive.
Tobacco, however, needs to be stored at a much higher relative humidity level—around 70% RH. Cannabis, on the other hand, should be stored around 60% RH. So we created a new formula to help these cannabis growers. That’s who we are. Boveda is a very customer-centric company. And we take an active role in every industry where we are in. With cannabis, it is very easy as the true powers of this plant have been demonized for so long. We are very happy to be a part of this movement now and advocate for it where we can.
Do you have any lucrative clients within the cannabis space?
Indeed. We work with some of the most renowned and leading cannabis companies of the world. Aurora, Tilray, Canopy, MedMen, Garden Remedies, Emblem, Buena Vista, Toast, Nectar – just to name a few. But we work on all levels, even directly with consumers and patients around the globe.
What is your role with Boveda?
In the cannabis space, everybody naturally focuses on the U.S. and Canadian markets. I joined Boveda because consumers and patients around the globe have the same right to receive a perfect product. The therapeutic value and the product safety of cannabis flowers are at risk when they are too moist or too dry. People around the globe acknowledge and treat this problem differently. While consumers in California might have used tortillas trying to revive dry buds, in Spain, they use orange peels, in Germany, apple peels or carrots. Needless to say, those methods are neither safe nor precise. I am on board to bridge these gaps between the markets.
With the legal international cannabis market forecast to reach $140 billion by 2027, do you feel this will be bigger than the tobacco industry?
Given the mere fact that tobacco doesn’t have any medicinal value, I would strongly suggest so.
With offices in Germany, and their recent legislation changes regarding medical cannabis, local business must be booming?
It is a process. The true assessment of a product’s quality comes with broadened availability and supply. Today the vast majority of international cannabis consumption stems from the black market—even for medical purposes. The demand is still outgrowing the supply. People are happy if they get something, anything. Now that people can finally start choosing the medicine that helps them best, cannabis patients have taken a big step in the right direction. But we need larger supplies and fair pricing to really make a big impact. With Boveda, we provide patients with a quality control that they can easily use every day. And we work with producers and importers to see if we can help along the way.
On a global scale, where else in the world are you seeing demand from cannabis businesses regarding your products?
Everywhere. Every single cannabis market would benefit from ensuring higher levels of product quality and safety.
Any plans for expansion into further markets?
We want to be wherever flower is present. So yes, indeed. With medical cannabis taking its first steps into Africa and India now, this is only the beginning.
What is the most interesting use of your product outside your core business areas, you have seen?
Boveda humidity control is in a myriad of very interesting markets: from cannabis, tobacco and wooden musical instruments to medical devices, exclusive watches, dried fruits, and tea—just to name a few. So I am not that easily surprised. But I recently met a young lady who uses Boveda to preserve her Aikido swords. Apparently, the wood needs a certain level of moisture to be flexible enough not to break upon high impact. With Boveda, she was very happy that she can now finally hit as hard as she can and maintain the integrity of her sword. I have to confess that I am a big fan of martial arts movies from the 80s. That and the fact that she promised never to hit me really made my day.