What Is Wisp Vapor?
Wisp is a patent-pending, pod-based, software-driven vaporizing system that promises to deliver clean, convenient, and consistent results, without worrying about grinding, rolling, touching herbs, or dealing with potentially harmful combustion and the resulting odor.
Each of the system’s packaged pods contains a premeasured amount of herbs, which is simply inserted into the vaporizer, slowly heated up, and ready to go in about 60 seconds. This way, the company claims you’ll be able to enhance your life and take the guesswork out of herbal wellness, without worrying about additives or denaturing.
Regardless of your preferred herb or flower, the Wisp Vapor system seems to live up to its claim of being unique. But does this necessarily mean it's the best option for your needs? Give us a few minutes, and we'll help you find some actionable answers.
Smoking vs. Vaporizing Herbs: What’s the Difference?
In case it isn’t already clear, it’s important to point out that the Wisp Vapor website uses terms like ‘herbs’ and ‘flowers’ as euphemisms for marijuana, which is now legal (in some form) across 29 states, as well as in the District of Columbia.
Even in these states where marijuana isn’t available recreationally, it’s often available medically, due to its potential ability to induce appetite and ease nausea and vomiting, some types of pain, multiple sclerosis symptoms, as well as “psychiatric disorders (e.g., anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis).”
But are there any benefits related to inhaling THC-infused vapor (whether using Wisp or another device), versus smoke caused by combustion?
In this same Harvard Health article, contributing editor Wynne Armand, MD notes, “smoking marijuana can irritate the lungs and lead to breathing problems like cough, excess mucus, bronchitis, and worsening of conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis. It is not clear if smoking marijuana is linked to lung cancer.”
Comparatively, Leafly’s Jacqueline Havelka notes, “While there is very little research on cannabis vaporizing, studies over the years have shown that vaporizing does produce fewer carcinogenic compounds than smoking marijuana because it is heated but not combusted.” After all, she points out, “over 100 toxins and compounds are released when cannabis is burned.”
Taking a Closer Look at Wisp Vapor’s Functionality
In order to deliver this potentially healthier vapor, the Wisp system consists of two main parts: the vaporizer’s base and bottle, and its single-use pods.
The Wisp Vaporizer
First, Wisp's base must be plugged into a standard outlet in order to operate.
Users will start by removing the vapor bottle from the base, peeling the lid from their pod (more next), and placing it open side up into the bottom. Then, place the bottle firmly into the base and press the cloud touchscreen button to begin.
Note: Users can also utilize this button to select a passcode, as well as set up language preferences and security questions.
From there, Wisp’s proprietary airflow process—a microprocessor controls all aspects of temperature, speed, time, and air pressure—will take about three minutes to complete its warm up, vaporization, and cool down. Once finished, users can safely remove the vapor bottle, inhale through the mouthpiece at the top, and enjoy.
The Wisp Vapor System, including the base, mouthpiece, interior sleeve, and single-use pods. Credit: CannaKorp, Inc.
Don’t have the opportunity to immediately enjoy? According to Wisp’s FAQ, depending on “differing room temperatures, humidity levels, and other variables, the vapor collected in the Wisp vapor bottle will remain in vapor form for approximately 10-15 minutes, giving most users plenty of time to enjoy. After about 10-15 minutes, the vapor will solidify as residue on the inside of the vapor bottle sleeve.”
Compared to smoking, we’re told the vapor produced is much less pungent and offensive.
From a cleanup perspective, Wisp’s vapor bottle and mouthpiece are dishwasher safe, while the base can be easily wiped down on the inside and outside using standard consumer cleaning solutions. The bottle’s hygienic sleeve and one-way valve are also detachable for easy cleaning.
Wisp’s Premeasured Pods
Packaged by third-party cultivator partners, Wisp’s single-use, hermetically sealed pod cartridges are said to contain herbs that are natural, pre-ground, and third-party tested for mold, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants.
They’re available in various strain varieties, potencies, and blends from local dispensaries, with each one “precisely measured to ensure the user gets the highest quality vapor.”
Each pod is made of 100 percent recyclable materials and should be disposed of according to your local recycling program guidelines.
One of Wisp’s single-use pods, with its hermetic foil seal partially removed and almost ready to use. Image credit: CannaKorp, Inc.
Are There Any Potential Side Effects From Using the Wisp Vapor System?
As mentioned in the Leafly article above, there isn’t a lot of formal research related to the benefits and potential side effects of vaporizing marijuana, although it definitely releases fewer toxic compounds and can be less irritating to the lungs than smoke from combustion. Even then, it’s important to speak with your doctor before vaporizing cannabis, who could warn of potential side effects based on your diagnosis.
Outside of this, the company emphasizes that the Vapor System offers “several safety features to ensure that use of the product is by designated, authorized adults.” These include:
- A keypad passcode that must be entered in order for the device to function
- A mouthpiece with a one-way valve that only disperses vapor when users put their mouth to it
- Pods with childproof packaging that is compliant with all regulatory requirements
How Much Does Wisp Cost?
According to the Wisp website, their Vapor System will be available in select markets in late 2017, although they emphasize they’re “planning on a state-by-state rollout.”
Upon release, it will have an MSRP of $249, with pods priced between $6 and $12 each, depending on the state in which they’re sold, as well as the strain.
Pro tip: Wisp’s FAQ emphasizes that you should ensure pods are available at a dispensary near you before purchasing a system.
For this price, customers will receive the entire system, along with two replacement mouthpieces and three vapor sleeves. All systems come with a one-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship under normal home use.
In order to request one, you’ll need to reach out to the company at 844-319-7314, 781-435-1812, CustomerCare@wispvapor.com, or via their site’s contact form.
The website indicates that replacement sleeves will be available through the website, although no details were provided regarding the number of uses each one will provide, or cost. We reached out for additional details, as well as information about the release date and refund policy, but hadn’t received a response as of publishing.
What Do We Know About the Company Behind the Wisp Vaporizer?
Wisp is manufactured by CannaKorp, Inc., a Melrose, MA-based startup (a state where both medical and recreational marijuana is legal) founded in 2014.
As the manufacturer of the world’s first single-use pod and vaporizer system, the company was co-founded by inventor Michael Bourque, CEO James Winokur, and VP Jeremy Krause. Does their pod-based system remind you of any popular coffee makers?
According to a 2016 Forbes article, Michael is an engineer who was prescribed medical marijuana but found himself confused by all the different strains, strengths, and administration methods available.
As a result, he "teamed up with Dave Manly, a former vice president at Keurig Green Mountain Inc., maker of the pod coffee machine and James Winokur, a technology executive” to dream “up a machine similar to the Keurig coffee maker, but for marijuana vaporization.”
Based on what we learned during our research, it appears that the company’s original vaporizer version was marketed as CannaCloud (no longer available), although the rebranded Wisp seems to feature some meaningful design and functionality differences. But is there currently anything else like it?
Wisp vs. Other Dry Herb Vaporizing Systems: Is There Any Competition?
Searching online for ‘dry herb vaporizer’ returned hundreds of different results at the time of our research—everything from small, sub-$30 battery operated devices, to full-blown desktop systems priced at several hundred dollars.
If you’re looking for the same Keurig-esque pod functionality of the Wisp Vapor system, however, it’s currently your only option. Does this necessarily mean that you should invest in one? Keep these considerations in mind:
Consideration #1: Do You Have a Local Pod Dispensary?
Repeating the company’s highlight from earlier, the most important determinant will be whether or not the company’s single-use pods are available from a local dispensary. If not, you’ll end up with an expensive vaporizer and nothing to put in it.
To this same point, we think one of Wisp’s biggest potential advantages (the pods, which could deliver ease of use and no-mess setup and cleanup) also represents one of its biggest potential disadvantages.
For example, what happens if dispensaries near you stop stocking these pods? The device only operates using them and doesn’t appear convertible to standard dry herb, so you could end up with an expensive paperweight on your hands if this was to occur (or, if you unexpectedly run out).
Consideration #2: Price
Marijuana isn’t cheap as it is, although many users report that vaporizing dry herb is less wasteful, and therefore more cost-effective, than smoking it, which could certainly add up over time. With this said, let’s run some quick numbers on the Wisp system:
In CO (the first state to legalize recreational marijuana back in 2014), ColoradoPotGuide.com reports that the average pre-tax retail price of a gram of dry herb is just shy of $6. This means that, at about $6-$12 per Wisp pod, the average CO marijuana enthusiast would consume the cost equivalent of one to two grams worth of dry herb during each vaporizing session.
Now, it’s important to point out one important factor we’ve yet to receive a response from the company about: the amount of vapor produced and held in the sleeve. In other words, how many draws will users get, and what would this amount to compared with conventional smoking methods (e.g., a handheld pipe or other type of bowl, joint, etc.)?
Until we learn more, there’s really no way to calculate exactly how much Wisp’s price compares to your current method of marijuana consumption, although it certainly seems on the higher side at this point. Let’s wrap everything up in the next section.
Our Final Thoughts About the Wisp Vapor System
If you enjoy coffee, you might have considered purchasing a Keurig system at some point. Perhaps you already own one (or more) of the devices.
Either way, if you decide to purchase their premeasured, prepackaged pods, you likely understand that you’re paying considerably more per-cup for the ease of use and mess-free convenience they potentially provide, compared with traditional brewing methods. And in our minds, it seems to be much the same regarding marijuana when it comes to the Wisp Vapor System.
As such, in the end, it will be up to you to decide whether or not paying more for these benefits will deliver meaningfully more value in your life.
In the meantime, be sure to bookmark this page, and we'll update the article as soon as we hear back from the company about sleeve capacity (and recyclability and replacement cost), release date, and refund details.