When Mehran Moghaddam looked around the cannabis industry several years ago, he saw an urgent need for higher quality and safety standards in the research, development, and manufacturing of medical cannabis. Moghaddam was confident that the two decades of combined experience in biotech, life sciences, and nutraceuticals had prepared him to lead the change. In 2014 he founded Kurvana, manufacturer of premium vape pens and cannabis oils. The brand has won acclaim from celebrities while establishing a reputation for product excellence and purity.
Moghaddam holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Exercise Science, as well as an MBA, from the University of California, Davis. His background in health and wellness stretches to his time as a personal trainer in college. Now a leading figure in the cannabis industry, we asked him why people vape, what’s being done about the deluge of cannabis waste products, and the artificial distinction between “medical” cannabis and “adult use” cannabis, among other topics.
Kurvana makes vape pens and cannabis oils. Who are your customers? What leads someone to vape instead of smoke?
We cater to all consumers who demand and expect quality in every part of their product, from the oil to hardware to the overall user experience. There are a few different reasons that a consumer would choose vaping over smoking. One would be that vaping is considered more ‘socially acceptable,’ in that it is typically odorless and does not contain the typical secondhand smoke effects, so it diminishes a lot of harm and bother to others. The oil also gets rid of a bunch of unnecessary plant matter that can be present in cannabis flower, so the concentrate that you’re inhaling is much purer.
If you Google “cannabis waste” it is clear processing and packaging are big challenges for the cannabis industry. Doesn’t vaping create a lot of waste, both of the cartridges and, eventually, the vape pens themselves, to say nothing about the upstream waste from processing cannabis oils and concentrates? What does Kurvana do to minimize and manage waste?
Waste is definitely an issue in the cannabis industry, specifically in the vape category with the popularity of disposable pens. At Kurvana, we are constantly moving towards more eco-friendly packaging. We just revamped the packaging for our All-in-One disposable pens to get rid of an outer bag that the pens came in. Every single part of our pens – from the cartridge to the disposable batteries – are also completely recyclable, and we have engaged in several recycling programs throughout the years. We use 100% recyclable materials in the design of our premium CPR packaging. We also have worked tirelessly to create the perfect reusable battery that consumers can charge and use over and over again. I don’t want to give too much away, but our marketing team is currently working on a re-engaging a project to reuse the bodies of the older models of our disposable pens for promotional items at our retailers. Our customers also inspire us to consistently create high-quality, all-natural products that are sustainable for the planet. To support this promise, we only partner with top producing growers with the highest cultivation standards in organic growing methods. We are committed to advancing our goals of educating while inspiring a connection between consuming and setting the standards for reducing the carbon footprint within the industry.
Tell us about your background prior to founding Kurvana and what prompted you to make the move into the cannabis industry.
My background is in both the science and business industries. I have a B.S. in Biochemistry and Exercise Science and an MBA. I have always been passionate about health and wellness, and I actually worked as a personal trainer for a bit while I was still in school. I was really drawn to the cannabis industry when I learned about cannabis’ therapeutic benefits and the range of diseases that it helps combat. My science side really took over when I started studying the cannabis plant more closely, and I haven’t looked back since.
There is research indicating that what motivates people to get a medical card is often what motivates people to go to an adult use clinic, if they have both options. Is there any real distinction between medical cannabis and adult use cannabis?
In short, cannabis labeled as medical is very often the exact same product as those labeled as adult-use. However, regulations under medical use have some limitations. These regulations can restrict the eligibility of qualifying conditions to become a medical use consumer, clarify the type of products and amount available for purchase, limit the percentage of THC in products, and dictate who can recommend consumers for medical cannabis. All of these restrictions limit who may be able to legally access medicinal cannabis, as opposed to allowing everyone of age to legally access it. I think there’s also definitely a stigma between medical and adult use. Medical use was obviously legalized first, so it has a more acceptable air around it now versus adult use, or recreational use, as it’s also referred to. That being said, I think cannabis is used in similar ways despite the label. While some consumers gear cannabis towards medicinal purposes – I’ve seen it used in cancer treatment, therapy, and in conjunction with pain medication for chronic conditions – I think recreational users also seek the same benefits. Cannabis has been proven to help improve mood, fight insomnia, increase appetite, reduce everyday anxieties, just to name a few. Even if you don’t necessarily have a diagnosed condition, I think everyone deserves to be able to benefit from this extraordinary plant.
It’s only taken about 10 years for cannabis to go from illegal everywhere in the US to the current checkerboard of prohibition states, medical use states, and entirely legal states. What do you think the industry will look like 10 years from now?
It’s my hope that cannabis will not only be legal in all states here in the U.S., but that a broader international market will be open as well. It’s exciting every time a new state legalizes it, and I’m looking forward to seeing cannabis become more accessible to consumers everywhere. I also see the industry becoming less stigmatized as education and the science around cannabis becomes more widespread.