“An obvious opportunity” – Mike Simpson, CEO of Omura, discusses heat-not-burn technology
Karen Berger, PharmD, Medical Writer
Mike Simpson is the CEO of technology company Omura. Omura is a cannabis and CBD delivery platform, which combines heat-not-burn technology with pre-filled whole flower (called ‘Flowersticks’) for a modern, whole flower experience. More specifically, Omura uses whole flower sticks designed for use with the Omura heat-not-burn device to deliver a more hygienic and enjoyable experience for their customers, with a selection of brands and their preferred strains.
With an extensive background in industrial and digital design, Simpson spent much of the past 15 years designing harm reduction technologies, such as vaporization and heat-not-burn, for the tobacco industry. After years of developing technology, Simpson moved to California, where he started to research the cannabis industry on behalf of the tobacco industry. He focused on heat-not-burn technology in the cannabis industry, studying the different devices, with the goal of being inspired by developments in the cannabis industry.
Simpson was aware of the popularity of the Phillip Morris IQOS system (I Quit Ordinary Smoking) – launched in Japan, which used heat-not-burn technology. A short stick filled with reconstituted tobacco fits inside a heating device and is heated with a conduction element. “This product took 20% of the entire Japanese tobacco market, and has been launched in 53 different countries,” Simpson explains. Phillip Morris was about to launch IQOS in the United States.
“People are changing their smoking habits. Heating a disposable stick is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. I decided to embark on creating a version of this for cannabis,” Simpson recalls.
Simpson notes, “cannabis is absolutely perfect for heat-not-burn, being so rich in oils – cannabinoids and terpenes,” which provides medical relief from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and many other qualifying conditions. Simpson says, “we believe that Omura could become the preferred cannabis recommendation by physicians, due to its medical efficacy combined with its hygiene and convenience benefits.”
Simpson got to work and created a machine that filled sticks accurately and efficiently. The company has registered intellectual property on the sticks, the filling of the sticks, and the filling machines. “We are the first to offer a pre-filled, biodegradable, whole flower disposable stick,” Simpson says.
Simpson explains that the heat-not-burn method is more efficacious than other methods of inhalation such as smoking and vaping. “Heating the whole plant is a brilliant way of consuming cannabis from a medical perspective,” he says. With Omura, there’s no need to grind and pack the flower or clean the device. “There’s an exact amount of flower in each stick. You just put it in the oven and turn it on, and when you’re done, you just throw the stick away. You get a clean mouth piece every time,” Simpson says. He emphasizes that there’s no measuring – everything is precisely dosed for the customer. With the technology, your body absorbs most of the cannabis, which is “twice as efficacious as smoking,” Simpson says. “You retain most of what is inhaled, as opposed to smoking or vaping. Also, you get the full entourage effect.” (The entourage effect is the effect of ingesting multiple parts of the cannabis plant at once, rather than individual components.)
Omura caters to a variety of customers, and the device has shown an increased usage with females, likely due to the hygienic delivery system with minimal vapor and smell, and the discreteness of the product, Simpson says. “Patients need to have a consistent experience – they also don’t want to be surrounded by a smelly cloud of smoke.” Simpson also reports that Omura products have been drawing both new and returning customers.
As a non plant-touching technology company, Omura is an open platform that works with flower brands in California and nationally. “It’s a business model we can take global,” Simpson says. “Our aim is to own this whole platform.”
“Our product can be very helpful for both recreational and medical use,” he says. “We want to be the most convenient, clean, and hygienic system. We want to be the most exact system – Omura is all about precision and purity.”
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