Team Member Spotlight / Carte Blanche November 3, 2017
The Trial: Summary and Results
The purpose of the trial was to compare commercially available accelerants in order to ensure Province is using the best accelerant for our products. We compared 4 different accelerants (in Province Beers) and a “Control”. The Control was a beer with marijuana oil and no accelerant. In the charts and graphs below, the Control is “Product 1”. We were concerned with onset time as well as other aspects. We tracked duration of effect (using an accelerant should shorten the duration of effect, although not as much as when combined with our forthcoming ‘decelerant’ product), dose response curve, flavour, and quality of the high. We asked about extrinsic factors like: did any product keep you high for a very long time did any upset your stomach, things of that nature.
The trial was a crossover trial with 14 participants. Participants returned to the same controlled environment on 5 separate days to consume a single beer each time. Each study day was separated by a “wash out” period of one day. Participants were instructed not to consume cannabis for several days prior to the commencement of the trial and not to consume cannabis other than what we gave them in the trial until the completion of the study. Participants all had consumed cannabis in the past but were not heavy or frequent cannabis consumers. Participants were screened for disqualifying conditions such as mental illness, allergies, inability to feel the effects of cannabis, etc. At the start of each trial, participants would consume a single beer and complete tasks requiring concentration and social interaction. They were instructed to self-report when they first felt high. Upon reporting a high sensation, participants were asked to rate how high they felt on a scale of 1-10 every 5 minutes for the first 40 minutes following their individual report of feeling a high sensation. Following this, they were asked to report how high they felt on a scale of 1-10 every 10 minutes for the next 2 hours and 20 minutes. Collecting this data allowed us to plot a dose-response curve. Self reporting was selected as opposed to impairment testing because in real world conditions, consumers may not be performing a task where their impairment may be obvious to them or others and what we care about most is when and how our consumers become aware of feeling a high sensation. This is more important to us than when they appear objectively high to a third party and could potentially fail an impairment test. We felt this method of assessment more closely mirrored real world situations where someone might consume our beverage in a bar or at a party and realize on their own that they feel an effect. Additional data was collected to gauge their enjoyment of the high sensation, the flavour, and to see if there were extrinsic factors or side effects we should be worried about.
Each participant received a different product / beer each time they arrived for the trial. No participant consumed the same beer twice and all participants tried all the beers. This allowed us to normalize the data to avoid bias from factors like faster metabolism, or genetic differences between participants. Product / beers were randomized so that no participant could know which they were receiving on which day, and the trial was double blind so neither those organizing the trial, nor those participating knew which product they were consuming.
We compared four different accelerants vs. each other and vs. marijuana oil in a beer with no accelerant. For the purposes of this analysis, and to protect trade secret information, we will not disclose the manufacturer of each accelerant. They are simply referred to as "Product 1", "Product 2", etc.
Here are the final results based on average onset time.
Here are the final results normalized for each participant by average participant onset time.
As you can see, Product 3 performed the best whether we look at the results by average onset times, or the more accurate measure of normalized onset time. Also Product 3 showed the lowest difference between its minimum, maximum and average onset times in the normalized graph suggesting that it was having a more consistent high than the other options. However, and importantly, the difference between all the products was minor and within the margin of error for a sample size this small. Thus the conclusion we’re drawing from this is that most of the accelerants we tried work and work more or less the same. Importantly, most accelerant manufacturers claim their product will make it so that a consumer feels the effect in 10 minutes or less. This did not seem to be the case with our results. We will continue to explore other accelerant options. At present we will move forward with further research into Product 3 and Product 4.
Not surprisingly, the Control (Product 1) performed the best on flavour. Product 4 was a close second and product 3 was last. We are working with the manufacturer of Product 3 to deliver a version which still works but has less obvious flavour.
Product 3 performed the highest on average in terms of experience, however methodology for evaluating experience rating is difficult to devise, so we would need further study to ensure there was a substantive qualitative difference between the products. Since onset time contributes to enjoyment, it does make some sense that Product 3 would perform the highest on average.
Dose Response Curves
This is the dose response curve for the Control. A lot of what we’re seeing here is placebo effect. Many consumers who took the control reported being high long after they went home. This illustrates the need for an accelerant in a product like ours (which was a surprise to nobody).
Product 2 definitely had the best does response curve of them all. However, the longer onset time and poor flavour performance means it’s not a viable candidate for our product. Keep in mind that our decelerant (which was not tested in this study) will help modulate the dose response curve.
The dose response curve for Product 3 shows that participants stayed intoxicated for longer than we would have liked. This is likely a result of a portion of the product being absorbed through mucous membranes in the mouth, esophagus, etc. (and therefore avoiding liver processing) and the remainder being absorbed through the small intestine and being processed by the liver. In other studies we have seen a second peak at about an hour or an hour and a half after consumption which is a clear indicator that the consumer is getting high twice – once with the portion of the product which avoids liver processing and a second time from the portion of the product which is processed through the liver. You can see this pretty clearly in the results from Product 4. Perhaps the reason these two peaks are not as apparent is because of the small sample size. Still the early onset and hard impact right off the bat was very positive. Remember these are very small sample sizes so we shouldn’t put too much weight in any one response.
In this curve we clearly see the two peaks mentioned above suggesting that the consumer is getting high twice. The very rapid onset time means this product is still very interesting to us.
This dose response curve shows that the consumers get pretty high and stay really high for a long time – suggesting that the consumer is getting high twice. Initial onset time is not spectacular. But drop off is not bad.
This concludes the analysis of the results.