How a glass of water can get you higher than you've ever been before

How a glass of water can get you higher than you've ever been before

VicesOctober 20, 2017 By Brian Frederick

There’s magic happening in the hills of Evergeen, Colorado.

A plant once feared, banned and ridiculed by an entire country of do-gooders is finally bathing in its close-up, recently becoming a green wonder in both recreational and medical use in just under a decade. Hot on the heels of its resurgence is a company called ebbu™, a legitimate research lab taking that very plant and altering the way it’ll be consumed forever.

The team there recently launched a product called Aqua Drops, an essentially tasteless and odorless drink additive made from splitting all of cannabis’ main components down to the fun stuff. Part of ebbu’s Genesis Formulation (not considered an extract or a distillate), it’s one of the most accurate and consistent cannabis products on the market, the company believes. And if I believe what the team told me when touring the spot, we haven’t seen nothin’ yet.

ebbu is perched just a short drive west from Denver, a quick jump off I70 where each year millions of residents and tourists alike drive up and down the mountains visiting the exact scenery the state is known for; a fitting place for the development of the investing industry’s newest gold rush. As I parked my van and walked up to the offices of it, I was greeted with the same kind of enthusiasm I found through the remainder of the tour.

It wasn’t so much selling the product that seemed to be on the mind’s of ebbu’s team, it was more of a show-and-tell, like when you were a kid and just had to show every classmate the crazy stones found while excavating the backyard. They were excited for me to dig in, and to tell their story of how the company came to be.

Kedric George, VP of Marketing, Sales & Operations, got at me first and led the way to a changing room with dark blue smocks and hairnets. This scene was a far cry from the “labs” I’ve visited in the past, where safety was still a concern, but it was more like “don’t dent my mom’s Tacoma when we go past it in the garage” or “beware of cat.”

See, ebbu is a place that employs people with actual PhDs and experts in chromatography, cellular pharmacology and clinical pharmacology. It also spent millions building a state of the art lab under the guidance of a nearby research hospital, which was working on something similar before the unknown of federal intrusion caused it to shut down operations. Upon hearing that, it became clear the place was up to something bigger than sticky dabs crushed with hair straighteners.

 

A post shared by ebbu (@ebbuexperience) on

First, to the extracting room. From there, I could see a police Suburban sitting just outside the offices through the window. As Kedric pulled out a few pounds of frozen weed from the fridge to show off, the hair on my neck stood up like it did in the early aughts when I was running drugs for rave kids. It’s a funny feeling, to know this is a burgeoning legitimate industry with billions more dollars worth of potential (according to New Frontier Data), yet still halfway spooked being within conviction charge of weed while a cop sits nearby.

But the officer wasn’t there for me this time, the lab sits near both a fire station and cop shop. It was happenstance, but didn’t make the irony any less palatable.

The process moves on to what the company calls “Zeus” — a big-ass technical machine with lots of expensive parts. What it does, to put it as simple as possible, is spin the holy hell out of a concentrated cannabis liquid, sift it through a molecular filter and then separate out over 16 different cannabinoids that each have distinctive properties. It’s “unbaking a cake,” as Kedric put it, dumping each microscopic component into its own plastic bottle. It’s where no other company in the world has gone with cannabis.

 

A post shared by ebbu (@ebbuexperience) on

After trying (and becoming a regular user of) the drops for myself, I noticed one distinct property of ebbu’s that I haven’t found anywhere else in the industry. It was actually telling the truth. As it stands, edibles and tinctures and balms and whatever else you can buy now doesn’t have any consistency in effects. It’s not to the fault of the creator for the most part, either, it’s just how finicky the plant and its components are in rapidly evolving growing/extracting conditions.

But bringing it down to the nuts and bolts of the high, there is far more control, says the team. And though any company would be ecstatic at having a solid product line as it already does, the run isn’t even close to being over. As part of the tour, I was given some insight on where this is all going. The team would like to find which cannabinoids control anxiety, and stress, and mood, and sex, and whatever else they can find in it. It’s called the “Feelings” line.

Including things such as Chill, Bliss, Create, Energy and Zen, these developing products hope to completely knock out frustrations with typical budtender suggestions that often miss the mark in giving the type of high someone is looking for. “Each formulation will combine the specific natural compounds from the cannabis plant to create distinct, uniform sensations and results,” its site says.

 

A post shared by ebbu (@ebbuexperience) on

One of the many obstacles the industry has is bridging the gap between user and the curious bystander. Not everyone wants to become a stoner, ripping lung-fulls of primo hash through the pointy part of a wizard bong’s hat. Proprietary, tasteless drops developed specifically with that bridge in mind will set a standard moving forward for when the federal government finally unlocks its claws from social progress. Containing a 5mg microdose in each tiny vial of Aqua Drops, the system lends itself to countless possibilities — in sports drinks, cocktails, beers (though mixing it with alcohol is, for legal reasons, advised against) or anything else an adult user chooses to be elevated from.

Colorado, Washington, even Oregon, are all years deep in a fully legalized marijuana system, so it’s often hard to get excited about “new” products that many will call “disruptors” or “cornerstones” of cannabis coming from any of them. Sadly, it’s often not true. But the products ebbu has can gladly use those words if they want to, they've earned it. 

On second thought, maybe it isn't magic happening in Evergeen after all ... it's science.