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Microdose Cannabis Makers KelSie Biotech Close First Tranche Of $5 Million Series A Round

By Sara Brittany Sommerset

Boulder, Colorado -- KelSie Biotech, announced today that it has closed the first tranche of $5 million in Series A funding. The investment round, led by Salveo Capital, a cannabis-focused investment firm, with participation from LA-based Arcadian Capital and other investors, will support the company’s scientific research and market expansion.

What is Kelsie Biotech?

KelSie Biotech creates bioavailability delivery methods for active pharmaceutical ingredients in the medical, nutraceutical and CBD/cannabis fields. KelSie licenses its patented and proprietary technologies which are based on "novel particle morphology" science and include dry-inhaled powder and sublingual delivery systems. The dry-inhaled powder technology successfully completed Phase I Clinical Trials for delivery of a stable measles vaccine.

“KelSie is delighted to partner with Salveo and our other investors to bring effective and convenient drug and supplement delivery methods to more consumers,” said Cameron Keluche, KelSie Co-Founder. “We are committed to revolutionizing the delivery of cannabinoids and other drugs with superior bioavailability. Having experienced partners like Salveo and Arcadian is invaluable.”

“We constantly look for new and innovative technology that drives consumption patterns and introduces healthier and more discreet form factors across the pharma industry,” said Jeffrey Howard, a Managing Partner at Salveo Capital. “We are impressed with KelSie’s strong patented and proprietary technology, including their true sublingual delivery systems with quick onset times. The Company’s focus on micro-dosing is another key differentiator that will continue to attract new demographics of cannabis/CBD consumers. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the entire KelSie team to continue the company’s strong momentum.”

Historically, the most common method for administering medications and supplements has been oral or injection. However, the gastrointestinal tract degrades the efficacy of pills and liquids before they reach the bloodstream and there are many complications to syringe-based methods.  KelSie’s patented delivery methods allow drug delivery for a wide range of applications.

Most recently, the technology has been successfully commercialized under the Superior Uptake Microdose (SUM) brand, licensed to State Operators producing fast-acting, water-soluble CBD/cannabis sublingual tablets. As SUM Microdose approaches its first successful year of sales in Colorado, the roll-out has begun across other states through licensing to additional State Operating Partners.

What is Microdosing Cannabis?

Microdosing is the process of consuming the lowest amount of THC to achieve a balanced and elevated feeling with minimal psychoactive effects.  This is also referred to as finding your minimum effective dose (MED). Microdosing is intended to put a discreet spring in one's step, without the adverse effects of drugs.

Historically the term "microdosing," applied to psilocybin AKA "magic mushrooms." However, it is also a term that applies to the latest trend in cannabis consumption. Microdosing can come in the form of a capsule, tincture, a sublingual such as SUM or even a breath mint.

Cannabis edibles usually come in an industry standardized dose of 10mg, which to a new cannabis user, may be overwhelming. Additionally, it may be difficult to resist the temptation to eat just one edible, such as one infused gummy bear or chocolate bon bon. Never mind trying to cut a 10mg gummy bear into quarters, and then waiting upwards of 30 minutes to an hour, in some cases as long as two hours, for the cannabis to process through the digestive system and the THC to kick in. This often results in new users overdoing by repeating a dose if they believe the first one has not taken effect. (If and when that occurs, drink orange juice.)

Edibles companies such as Mr. Moxey's Mints1906, and Kiva Confections, have had low dose products available, such as Kiva Petra microdosed mints, and are further developing micro dosage product lines.

"Microdosing in edibles is great because it offers people the ability to really dial in their dose. It allows newbies to get comfortable with the effects and learn what works for their body. They can adjust up or down to get exactly what their looking for, within a couple of milligrams. Existing or experienced consumers gravitate to a microdosed product because of its ability to give them long-lasting, sustained effects throughout the day," says  Kiva Co-Founder Kristi Knoblich, exclusively to Forbes.

Trend Forecast

Knoblich's company's microdosing philosophy is that in a couple years it is going to be the most popular way people use cannabis. "In the same way we take vitamin C and zinc to avoid getting sick, we will be taking cannabis to stay healthy and safely manage stress and anxiety,” she says.

According to data company Headset, in 2018, the total microdose market grew over 80% across recreational sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington. Last year alone, sales in the capsule and tincture & sublingual categories rose 125% and 250% in sales respectively, with capsules garnering $40 million in sales while tinctures & sublinguals brought in $90 million.

SUM however, makes a tiny, inimitable, discreet tablet that goes under the tongue. The company claims that each variety (Calm, Focus, Energy, Sleep, and Relief) contains a precise ratio of THC and CBD, maxing out at 2.5mg of THC, or one fourth of the standard dose of an edible. Anecdotally, microdosing provides just the right amount of high to get someone through the day or help someone unwind at the end of the day, without derailing him for several hours into a non-productive couch potato.

Not Exactly an Edible

What differentiates SUM from the rest of the microdose market is that it is not an edible. Unlike the aforementioned edibles, SUM’s tablets are purely water soluble.

"SUM dissolves sublingually, directly into the bloodstream, providing an almost instantaneous effect," says  SUM co-founder and chief marketing officer Steven Addis, exclusively to Forbes. 

However, due to the current schedule one classification of cannabis, SUM, like many other products on the American market, has not undergone any clinical trials and cannot make any claims of medical efficacy. This is why SUM and so many other similar new companies have opted into the marketing-strategy-manufactured "Wellness" space, along with other health supplements that have non-FDA approved disclosures on the labels. The rhetoric is honed not to promise anything specific or as a valid form of treatment, but rather as a contributor towards vague, overall "wellness," or as a "user experience," comparable to drinking a cup of tea.

"Microdosing gives people control of their experience. There has been a lack of knowledge and trust around cannabis edibles, and Kiva has set out to overturn those sentiments and redefine cannabis edibles," says Knoblich.

Carrying a pack of SUM is as discreet as carrying a pack of Tic Tacs and is a potential solution for people who want to consume cannabis in a non-obvious manner.

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