Minnesota-based multi-state operator Vireo Health recently released “Lite-Bud” which the company claims to be “America’s First micro-dose pre-rolled cones.”
Lite-Bud pre-rolls are made with flower testing in at 4-10% THC, which is notably lower than the high twenties standard for cannabis flower cultivars available at dispensaries. The product is currently available only in Maryland.
In today’s markets, regardless of whether medical or adult-use, cannabis products in dispensaries skew sharply towards the high THC offerings that experienced users prefer. But for older adults, including the elderly, as well as others who are cannabis-naïve, these potent products can be a poor match for their needs, and may entail unpleasant side-effects.
Dr. Stephen Dahmer, Vireo’s Chief Medical Officer, concurs: “While THC is responsible for the majority of the benefits that we’re looking for in cannabis, it can also contribute to adverse effects. So this is something we monitor very closely. With a product as nuanced as cannabis, and so many new people coming to the market who haven’t tried it before, (Lite-Bud) was absolutely needed.
The need for low-dose “lite” cannabis products that are friendly to these THC-sensitive populations is a topic I recently wrote about. For the many Baby Boomers who are returning to cannabis after a long hiatus, the lower THC levels in “Lite-Bud” are more in line with what they might have been smoking back in the day.
Vireo CEO, Dr. Kyle Kingsley, believes that older adults may find the Lite-Bud pre-roll to be a more natural and healthful replacement for an evening glass of bourbon. “If there’s a cannabis alternative that replaces alcohol, that is one of the most powerful things I think the industry can do… Just like we’re replacing opioids wholesale right now, I’m very excited to do the same with alcohol.”
According to Dr. Kingsley, the average customer at a Vireo dispensary is a 57-year-old woman with chronic pain.
Not all older adults will want to smoke a joint, and until Lite-Bud is available in flower form, they may want to take the flower out of the pre-roll and put it into a vaporizer, like the Pax 3 or FlowerMate.
Vireo also produces a low-dose vape pen, called the Silver, but it is currently available only in Minnesota.
While Vireo’s product lines lean heavily on tinctures and concentrates, the Lite-Bud isn’t the company’s first cannabis flower product. In November of last year, the company launched a new line of select cannabis flower offerings, called 1937, referencing the Marihuana Tax Act of that year that sealed cannabis prohibition. 1937 products are currently available in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Vireo is currently re-branding its dispensaries, located in 11 states, under the Greengoods name.
The company recently announced its recruitment of former Canopy Growth founder and CEO, Bruce Linton, as Executive Chairman.