Who would have thought a college experiment by two Stanford students would lead to a $15 billion vaporizer business?

San Francisco based startup, Pax Labs Inc., has raised $20 million in a special round of funding, and rumor has it their valuation has ballooned to over $15 billion.

In an effort to keep themselves lean on VC money, existing shareholders were asked to come up with the funds, and Pax was able to avoid giving away a large stake of equity. According to CEO Bharat Vasan "This is a deliberately small round, to avoid becoming overly dependent on venture capital."

In 2007, a small company named Ploom Inc. was formed by James Monsees and Adam Bowen. The goal was to make a sleek, and technologically advanced loose leaf vaporizer. At the time, it was described as for tobacco use only, even though it was clearly made for cannabis in its flower form (clearly a lot has changed in the last 11 years). The Pax was finally released and has been revised twice since then.

Pax 3

In 2016, the Pax 3 was released. On that same day, their newest device, called the Pax Era was released and Ploom Inc. became Pax Labs. The Era was designed specifically for use with cannabis concentrates. This device is almost an exact replica of the Juul, another massively popular nicotine vaporizer, also developed by Monsees and Bowen.

Pax labs has got a winner with the Era, which is used with pre filled pods that are available in dispensaries in select states out west. Users are able to control the vaporizer wirelessly through an app on any mobile phone. The app allows you to connect to the Era and set it a specific temperature. You can also monitor the battery life and change the LED lights to different colors when the device is in use.

Pax does not sell any marijuana or cannabis oil, but sells the empty pods to companies that fill them with their own oils.

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How CBD Can Help at the Gym

Boost your workout and reduce your recovery time with the help of CBD

We usually think of CBD as the perfect relaxation aid, but did you know it also has a ton of benefits when it comes to boosting your workout?

According to The Cannabis Radar, former boxer Mike Tyson and baseball player David Wells are just a few examples (out of many) of athletes who regularly take CBD to help improve their physical well-being alongside a rigorous exercise regimen.

How does CBD help at the gym?

There is a wide range of studies showing that CBD can bring down inflammation, both when taken orally or when applied topically.

"The biggest benefit of CBD for fitness enthusiasts is workout recovery," explains Rick Weissman, the Founder and President of High Falls Hemp NY. "Exercise-induced inflammation or sore muscles can derail a workout routine. CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, allowing better recovery to keep a fitness routine on-track."

In other words, you know that soreness you feel after a particularly intense gym session? It's caused by inflammation. CBD's major benefit is the ability to cut down on that pain, so you can go back to the gym soon after and keep exercising at the same level of intensity.

What's the best way to take CBD?

"CBD works best taken on a regular basis when taking it internally," Weissman stresses. "This gives it the opportunity to balance your internal systems to aid recovery, sleep, and sore muscles. "

While it's important you take CBD every day with consistency, there are no clear rules or research saying when it is best to take. Some fitness enthusiasts find that by taking CBD before their workout session they are able to push themselves a little further and get better results.

Others prefer taking it after their workout, to help relax the body and speed up recovery time. You can experiment with taking CBD at different times to see which effects are better for you.

As to whether you should take a full-spectrum CBD product or an isolate, it largely depends on whether you can take the risk of the product containing even a hint of THC. Most professional athletes prefer isolates that are guaranteed to keep them feeling sharp, while casual fitness enthusiasts appreciate the more complex and holistic composition of full-spectrum hemp oil, which also contains other cannabinoids (and always less than 0.3% THC).

"The other way CBD can boost a workout is using it topically on a targeted area that needs relief," Weissman adds. "For instance, I'll use CBD on my right knee before a workout, and it will allow me to get deeper into a squat and keep up with the cardio. After a workout, it helps sore muscles and joints feel a lot better!"

Best CBD Products for Gym Goers

"Bottom line, CBD helps you move more, sleep better and relieve stress. All from a natural plant - and a good recipe for a healthy fitness program," Weissman summarizes.

Any high-quality CBD product could help, but we've selected a few standouts that athletes and gym aficionados could easily introduce into their lives.

High Falls Hemp CBD Starter Collection

If you're not sure which kind of CBD product will work best for your workout, the High Falls Hemp Starter Kit makes it easy to experiment and figure things out. It includes a CBD isolate lotion you can massage over sore muscles, a full-spectrum tincture with 25mg of CBD per serving that you can take at any point in the day, and easy-to-swallow soft gels that you can carry around. If you can't risk any THC content in your body, you might prefer their CBD isolate tincture instead.

Caliper CBD Powder

Caliper is a CBD isolate powder that totally dissolves in liquids, so it's easy to take if you're not a fan of drops or capsules. A single packet weighs very little but holds 20 mg of CBD. You can stick it in your gym bag and later on mix it with your post-workout protein shake, or add it to your water to microdose throughout the day. The body absorbs it quickly, so it's very fast-acting, and since it's an isolate it's 100% THC-free.

Maddyn Renew & Recharge CBD Topical Crème

With 600mg of CBD per tube, this rich cream is quite potent. The CBD comes from full-spectrum hemp extract, and it is joined by other ingredients that help reduce inflammation and aid in recovery, including arnica extract and menthol. You can massage it into the skin to get relief from delayed-onset muscle soreness, or use it in preparation for going deep during your stretches.


Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil vs CBD

There are so many terms related to CBD that it can sometimes get a little confusing.

There are so many terms related to CBD that it can sometimes get a little confusing. One odd thing I noticed over the last year is that my favorite CBD gummies were suddenly marketed as containing "full-spectrum" or "broad-spectrum" hemp oil and mentions of cannabidiol or CBD significantly waned.

Did all of those CBD products I love change? What is full-spectrum hemp oil, anyway? I set out to investigate.

First, let's clear up some CBD terminology

You are likely already aware of the difference between CBD, a cannabinoid taken from the hemp plant that contains a wide range of health benefits but zero intoxicating effects, and THC, which is the intoxicating (and also medicinal) compound. They are both strains of the same plant, Cannabis Sativa, but the main difference is that hemp has been bred to contain very little THC.

Then we have hemp seed oil, which is a wonderful oil by its own rights, especially in cooking or skincare, but it contains little to no THC or CBD.

So then, what on earth is full-spectrum hemp oil?

Derek Thomas, Vice President of Business Development at Veritas Farms, explains that (unlike the seed oil) full-spectrum hemp oil is extracted from the entire plant (and technically doesn't count as an oil - it's an extract); so, in addition to CBD, it also contains a wide range of other cannabinoids.

"There are many cannabinoids found in hemp. CBD, yes, but also CBG, CBN and CBC to name a few." He says, "When you have all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids working together as a team (unlike in CBD isolate products), they produce what is called the Entourage Effect."

The specific phytocannabinoid makeup of full-spectrum hemp oil will differ from brand to brand, because these natural compounds exist in different concentrations in different plants. Full-spectrum hemp oil can include some THC, though legally it should never be more than the FDA limit of 0.3%, so it is not psychoactive.

Jeff Greene, the Florida Hemp Council's Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, notes that there are instances when even that tiny amount of THC can be a problem, and pure CBD might be preferred. "CBD is an isolated molecule. CBD Isolate is used when no THC can be found in a product. For instance, these products are marketed to pilots, first responders, truck drivers, etc."

The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the term for the synergistic effect the different cannabinoids and terpenes (i.e. aromatic compounds) in the hemp plant have; or, in other words, it's the idea that they work better when used together.

Originally, this process referred to the way the different cannabinoids (especially CBD) were able to temper the effect of THC. Nowadays, it also refers to the way they influence the human endocannabinoid system when little-to-no THC is present.

Quick reminder: The endocannabinoid system refers to the cannabinoid-like compounds that we naturally produce in the human body as well as the receptors that react to them. These receptors also react when cannabinoids come into the body from the outside, like from a full-spectrum hemp tincture. The endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide range of physiological processes

So did brands simply start using more full-spectrum hemp seed oil than before, or did something change?

Thomas thinks that companies have indeed shifted towards using more full-spectrum hemp oil. "The greater factors behind the increase in marketing of full-spectrum hemp oil are consumer and investor interest in the category." However, there might also be more to it, and he thinks it is possible that sometimes full-spectrum hemp is marketed by brands instead of CBD as an attempt to navigate a challengingly ambiguous state regulation.

Greene also thinks regulation might have a part. The FDA is currently still exploring CBD regulations, and the language focuses on CBD as an isolate. "Due to having a currently approved drug that includes CBD, the FDA has determined that CBD is a drug ingredient," he explains. "Due to the mass appeal of CBD and their limited enforcement capabilities, the FDA has focused on companies that make medical claims but that does not ease the industry's concerns."

This has led some brands to focus on full-spectrum hemp oil, perhaps mistakenly, and to avoid mentions of CBD in their products. Greene expects that there will be a change soon. "The FDA will eventually make a decision as to how to regulate CBD and hopefully the rest of the cannabinoids for nutritional or medical purposes."

Tips for Choosing a Full-Spectrum Hemp Product

While full-spectrum hemp oil has become the more popular method for taking CBD, its complex makeup and the risk of mislabeling means that choosing the right product can be a little more complicated. In a worst case scenario, full-spectrum hemp oil can contain any number of harmful contaminants.

This is why Thomas recommends taking extra precautions, especially when it comes to ingestible formats of CBD. Before purchasing, look for a certificate of analysis from a third party, ISO certified lab, and make sure it matches the lot number of the product.

But what should you look for? "Make sure it tests cannabinoids, terpenes, pest/fungi/herbicides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and residual solvents."

When buying from reputable retailers, this information should be readily available on their website, so you can enjoy full-spectrum hemp oil while knowing exactly what is in it.


The Basics Of CBD and How It Works To Improve Your Health

Have you ever wondered how CBD works? Here is your guide

As of today, there are over 100 million Americans under some level of quarantine due to the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

With no end in sight it is important to make sure we take care of ourselves and our mental health while we do our best to "flatten the curve." With heightened anxiety and stress in our daily lives now, we must find ways to relax in the comfort of our homes. One of the best new tools in the FindKarma arsenal is CBD.

What is CBD? How Can It Help Improve My Mental and Physical Health?

Over the last decade there have been significant discoveries concerning the cannabis plant and its medical uses.

Researchers have found over 100 compounds in Cannabis. One of them is called Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, which can provide powerful pain relief without the associated high of marijuana.

CBD can be extracted from both the cannabis plant and the hemp plant. If it is hemp derived it can be sold in states where medical marijuana is not legal. The law requires that the hemp and final products not contain more than 0.3% THC. Currently there are 48 states with some form of legalization (CBD, medical marijuana or recreational marijuana).

Today, it is used to treat many different types of ailments from back pain to seizures and has improved the quality of life of many sick people across the country.

Below we cover the different forms of CBD available and how they can be beneficial for you!

Types of CBD On the Market:

  • pain cream
  • pills
  • tinctures
  • gummies
  • isolate
  • vape carts

Credit: cbdoilhemp.com

How Does CBD Work?

Like its THC counterpart, CBD must attach itself to a cannabinoid receptor in the body in order to work.

There are two different cannabinoid receptors in the human body, CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are associated with many important processes like pain, memories, movement, mood and even thinking! While there are CB1 receptors in various parts of the body the majority of them are found in the brain.

When you use marijuana, the active ingredient THC works by attaching itself to the CB1 receptors.

CB2 receptors are associated with pain as well as inflammation.

Credit: www.the-human-solution.org

After much research, it was determined that CBD doesn't directly impact the receptors but causes the body to use its own naturally occurring cannabinoids more effectively.

Benefits of CBD On the Body

Now that we have discussed how CBD actually works, lets look at some of the ailments people have been treating with this new healthy alternative.

Anxiety: millions of Americans suffer from and deal with anxiety in their everyday lives. It can be overwhelming and in extreme cases can cause people to change the way they live. Some of the different types of anxiety disorders include PTSD, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, most of the medications used to treat anxiety like benzodiazepines can be extremely addictive and produce nasty side effects. CBD makes a great alternative because it is not physically addicting and does not produce a high.

While it is important to avoid THC if you suffer from anxiety or are prone to panic attacks, users have found CBD to alleviate sudden onset of symptoms.

Cancer: cannabis has been used to treat the negative effects of cancer treatment like nausea, loss of appetite, and insomnia for decades. However, CBD has been getting a lot of attention due to its lack of psychoactive properties and growing list of uses.

According to cancer.org, "scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells..."

Hopefully, now that the laws are starting to change regarding cannabis, more treatments will be discovered and used to help patients in need.

Epilepsy: CBD is being studied as a treatment for epilepsy because of its ability to prevent seizures. Research has also led scientists to believe that CBD can be effective in reducing a number of possible disorders resulting from the epilepsy, such as neuronal injury and neurodegeneration.

"Charlotte's Web" - One of the most famous cases of treating epileptic seizures with CBD came in 2010 in Colorado. Known as the girl who "changed medical marijuana laws across the country," Charlotte Figi was only five years old when she was first introduced to CBD. Diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet's Syndrome, Charlotte was suffering from over 300 seizures per week. Her parents decided to take a big risk and give Charlotte CBD tincture during one of her seizures. The CBD stopped it almost immediately. By 2014, four states including Florida, New Jersey, Colorado, and Utah had passed laws allowing cannabis-based tinctures to treat epileptic seizures.

CBD is a wonderful tool that can help you relax after a long day, relieve stress if you are feeling anxious, or simply keep your sanity during a lengthy stay at home.

Look out for "Best CBD Brands of 2020" coming soon to FindKarma!

Sensory Deprivation Tanks and the Fun of “Floating”

Many people enjoy their sensory deprivation float experience and describe it to be relaxing, peaceful, and at times spiritual.

Sensory Deprivation tanks or "float tanks" have been around since the 1950s and were created to provide the very unique experience of perceiving what life is like devoid of all external bodily senses, including sight, sound, temperature, touch, and smell. In order to experience this unusual state of being, the floater is suspended in water and isolated within an enclosed tank without any light or sound. The water is heated to body temperature, so the floater doesn't feel it, and the water contains around 1000 lbs of Epsom salt, which allows floaters to remain at the surface while delving deeper into their consciousness without any external stimuli or sensory interference.

To many, the idea of being enclosed in a tank all alone in the dark might sound a little scary or sad; but, surprisingly, it's not. Many people enjoy their sensory deprivation float experience and describe it to be relaxing, peaceful, and at times spiritual. Floating has become relatively popular in recent years, as well as the subject of several research studies. According to one study published in the Journal of Complementary & Behavioral Medicine, floating in a sensory deprived environment has been shown to reduce stress by calming the mind and inducing a sense of deep relaxation. Other physiological benefits include increased mindfulness, decreased anxiety, lowered blood pressure, decreased heart rate, stimulated mental clarity, and lowered cortisol "stress hormone" levels. As you can see, a broad and fine array of benefits that clearly outweigh some of the method's scariness.

Aside from the encouraging mind-body benefits, the best thing about floating, in my experience, is the sense of perspective gained when totally cut off from everything, including modern technology, from phones, social media and panic news to emails and the incessant distraction of non-stop sensory stimulation.

I had my first float session at the Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, TX, which is a locally owned spa that specializes in floatation. Being slightly claustrophobic and unsure of what to expect, I was, admittedly, a little nervous. My mind went into straightway panic mode for about the first five minutes; however, once I realized that I was in a safe environment and could turn the light on at any time during my session, the panic quickly dissipated, and I soon found myself in what could only be described as a very surreal state of being. It almost felt like I was floating off into some otherworldly yet familiar dimension, which, in my case, turned out to be the less traveled realms of my inner self. Without sensory stimulation or the commotion of everyday distractions, I found myself in a more clear space of mental and emotional processing.

Floating, needless to say, is very different from the high speed rhythms of everyday life. In a sensory deprivation tank there is absolutely nothing to see, hear or do, and alas, the world becomes still and clear. The fog of distraction lifts with nothing to focus your attention on except maybe the unexplored dimensions of yourself.

Still, while many enjoy floating, some do not. For those individuals, being alone in a dark space can provoke anxiety and unwelcome stress. For first time floaters who are unsure of how they will react, it's advisable to start with a shorter first session of about 30-45 minutes to help reduce anxiety by slowly easing into the experience. Being nervous your first time is normal. It's such a different experience that it's pretty easy to go into freak out mode for a minute or two (or ten), but once the initial shockwaves of primal fear wear off, most people tend to relax and have positive and sometimes even profound experiences.

In essence, floating is a sweet reprieve from the constant chaos of the world at large and a great way to reset the nervous system and reconnect with yourself in a strange yet exceptional way. So float on friends; it's well worth it.

Living with Chronic Pain: How CBD Can Give You Back Your Freedom

This silent condition can be hard to treat, CBD has many possibilities for chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain is a silent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a major medical problem that is quite difficult to treat. Though there may be no outward signs, an individual can spend their lives battling against the unpredictable and incapacitating effect of living with chronic pain. The condition affects an estimated 50 million adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with another 19 million affected by high impact chronic pain. However, in recent years, the development of cannabidiols has changed the game for many chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain is pain that has lasted three to six months (or more, in some cases), and high impact chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts six months or more while substantially restricting life activities.

Those who suffer this long-term pain come from all walks of life, young and old, and the condition can drastically alter one's life. Symptoms range from a dull ache, throbbing, burning, soreness, stiffness, and inability to fully move. The physical effects are debilitating, while mental anguish includes depression, self-doubt, and sadness, which are sometimes indescribable. Chronic pain can affect sleep, appetite, mood and make a person feel weak and have little energy.

Learning to live with a new normal, knowing what your body can and cannot handle, and trying remedy after remedy for any hope of relief can leave sufferers battling symptoms, financial burdens, and long term changes to overall quality of life. Treatment often involves expensive surgeries, repeated injections and long-term use of prescription painkillers, which can lead to dependence, as well as lasting effects on relationships and other aspects of personal and professional life.

Cannabidiols and Chronic Pain

Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels.

Research into the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat long term pain shows that it has pain-relieving effects, can help to relieve inflammation, can improve appetite, stabilize mood, and help to reduce other symptoms suffered by chronic pain patients. In studies done on rats, topical CBD treatments for arthritis and inflammation show a reduction in swelling, as well as lower pain levels. For decades, CBD has been studied in combination with cancer treatments, proving effective in the treatment of pain, vomiting, and lack of appetite from chemotherapy treatments. When used in combination with opioids, CBD showed more relief than opioids alone. The bottom line here is that research and patients report that CBD helps to treat what are often untreatable symptoms of chronic pain.

CBD can be derived from both plants that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes psychoactive reactions when smoked or ingested, and hemp plants that do not contain high levels of THC.

Legally, CBD derived from cannabis was reclassified as a Schedule 1 narcotic in 2018 by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drugs that contain a finished dosage formula of CBD with THC below 0.1% are considered Schedule 5 drugs after approval from the FDA. (So far only one drug has been approved, Epidolex, used to treat rare forms of epilepsy). CBD from hemp is not regulated by the FDA, and, as such, there are many products that make wild and unproven claims about its "'miracle" healing properties.

How CBD Treats Pain

So how does CBD treat pain? The human body has an endocannabinoid system, responsible for the regulation and balance of cannabinoid-like compounds that occur naturally in the body ("endo" refers to a substance that's produced normally within the body). The human body has receptors in the nervous system that endocannabinoid and cannabinoids bond with. These receptors are labeled CB1 and are located in areas of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are found in the digestive system, the immune system, and the peripheral nervous system, which affects the extremities.

CBD has no psychoactive effects. It has shown very promising properties for treating pain, muscle disorders, seizures, anxiety, Parkinson's, Crohn's disease, and many other conditions. Research studies on animals have shown the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD can inhibit pain receptors, while THC can have helpful effects on treating nerve pain. CBD is thought to stimulate CB2 receptors to tell the body to make more of its own natural cannabinoids, thus aiding in treating pain.

One issue the industry and patients face right now is that the regulations on products vary to make sure they are safe and truly contain levels of CBD that are effective. On a federal level, hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC are legal, however, as previously mentioned they are not regulated by the FDA. Consulting with a doctor or industry expert is a good place to start when looking for the right CBD product for your pain and to make sure you are getting a product with effective doses of CBD.

Many products will have filler ingredients so paying attention to what is in the product and reviewing the dosage information is an important first step. The Harvard Health blog shares with us that the main concern with products is that they are marketed to treat pain but will not have the active CBD ingredients.


One of the best ways to treat pain is with CBD oil. CBD oil has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions. It can be taken in very small doses and when used subtly it does not cause the mental fuzziness associated with opioids and other prescription painkillers. The American Marijuana Association tests and rates products for their quality and potency (they have paid testers who personally test and rate each product). Their recent review rates Spruce CBD Oil as the most potent. PopularCBD Brands.com published a review of CBD products after testing over 150 brands of CBD oil. They rate BioMDPlus as a top brand for pain relief CBD products.

There are also a variety of edible, smokable, and topical CBD products out there. Self-dosage is tricky, so consult a professional and talk with your doctor about interactions between CBD and any current medication you are taking.

Many products will have filler ingredients so paying attention to what is in the product and reviewing the dosage information is an important first step. The Harvard Health blog shares with us that the main concern with products is that they are marketed to treat pain but will not have the active CBD ingredients.

What all of this tells us is that CBD has serious potential to help treat chronic pain and can open up a world of options to those who suffer from this condition daily. Though it is still a debated and growing field, there are a lot of benefits to explore as an alternative to long term use of painkillers or expensive pain treatments and surgeries.