One of those innovators, Horatio Delbert, spent years in the film and television industry only to leave and become a scientific guru who revolutionized extraction techniques. He also has created a line of unique, high quality medical products.
Herbal Dispatch spoke on the phone with Horatio from his home in the forests of British Columbia.
Do you work for a specific company or for yourself?
I work for myself, I’m completely independent.
The incredible products you create are pretty unique, would you consider yourself more of an artist or scientist?
It’s more art than it is reading and math. There’s a process of discovery where I’m not technically trained.
How did you get into the science and the art of extraction?
It was understanding the plant. As you understand the plant you see that extraction is moving the plant forward. We all hope the plant is going to fight pharmaceuticals and that nature is able to heal us.
When I looked at it, I said this is cool but this can’t be the ultimate goal. This isn’t going to get someone off of Fentanyl. So when the rise of more concentrated extractions came out, it seemed that if there’s going to be a holy grail for cannabis it is going to be in figuring out how to [extract] the right way, not just the quickest way to turn a buck.
I just started experimenting at home. I already had a background in steam distillation for essential oils.
Were you a marijuana user at the time you started looking into extraction?
Most of my life has been deeply connected with marijuana.
So when you get into extraction it’s clearly from a love of weed and then how did that become a stepping-stone to a career?
Literally I just started looking at butane hash oil and thinking how the fuck is that bubbling, I don’t understand why it bubbles. So, first it was understanding every other extraction method, what it was at its core and what its limitations were in the long run.
[Then] I looked at the principles and thought okay, there’s butane, and you can [extract using] this and you can die, or there’s this limonene thing, which statistically seemed like the ultimate solvent. Then you keep reading and you see that everybody has tried [limonene] and it’s never going to work. It’s not light and fluffy like a gas so just quit it and do what everyone else is doing.
Then I thought about what [extracting using limonene] would mean, 75 percent of weed has limonene in it. There’s a solvent available in the plant, how can this not be a match made in heaven?
So I figured nobody has ever tried to understand limonene, they just tried to do whatever alcohol did and it didn’t work.
So I read a 49 page document on how limonene was going to change everything. The document was about green chemistry and moving away from things that had natural toxicity.
For the newbies in our readership, what exactly is limonene?
Limonene is typically what you would consider a generic citrus terpene. Between oranges, limes, grapefruit, any of the citrus family of plants, it will always be the most dominant terpene in the soup of citrus terpenes.
So what exactly are you doing?
I buy extracted limonene and refine it to a grade that is fit for cannabis extraction.
My first breakthrough was being able to remove the limonene, I could only remove it if I made THCA, the active molecule, perfect. If it was discovered that it tasted like limonene, if it looked like any other extract, it tasted funny. But as soon as the medicine was absolutely perfect enough and at its maximum potency, the flavour was gone and it was pure.
That breakthrough then reflected back into my regular products.
How do you know what products and areas to focus on?
“I look at where people have their deepest hopes and where they are being failed the most. So I had my distillate now, which is a pure cannabinoid and asked, what’s the situation with these topicals? They do fuck shit.”
Then I looked at the world of pain creams like Robaxacet [and saw] there’s a way to get medicine through the skin, but I don’t think just mixing it with some coconut oil is going to cut it.
I started studying transdermals. What are the athletes getting? When a million-dollar player screws up his knee, how do you get him back on the field in fifteen minutes? You can’t dope him up because he will fall.
So I realized, athletes can’t take ibuprofen, they put that ibuprofen in the kneecap. What if this could be done with cannabis? So I went and worked on inventing in that category.
I took my unique concentrated cannabinoid to see what it’s like if I put that into the sports medicine realm. I thought, what if I could make a product that you could put on your parent’s knees, and because it’s not ingested, they wouldn’t consider it as drugs?
You could never get your grandfather to try a joint, but you could instantly get him to rub some cream on [one of his] joints.
Activated LHO TransDermal Balm, THC direct delivery acute care in a pharmaceutically elegant finished gel. Transdermal medications are absorbed through the skin or mucosal membranes instead of by oral or injectable routes. Transdermal delivery of concentrated cannaboinoid compounds can be effectively used for both acute and chronic therapy. #HashChurch #Nutraceutical #Medicine #Healing #QualityofLife #liveterps #terptesla @tverzura @bcbubbleman @ucanncorp @hempxxx @atn420 @dnagenetics @ettalews @jenndoe420
What did you decide to create after your balm?
I started looking up what was not being addressed.
So, you know how you might get a strain that works really well for sleep, but then a grower produces it differently and now it’s not working for sleep anymore because a specific terpene is missing? [I realized] that cannabis isn’t the only medicine that’s been with us since forever, what else is on the list?
I looked at the top twenty herbal plants that have been with man. We have other essential oils but they’re dirty and not inhalable. I knew how to clean up terpenes because I refine my own limonene, so I started refining other essential oils.
I started developing formulas [with the essential oils] and made an anti-depression terpene profile that gives you a sativa high when you use your distillate. It’s a waking focus drug high. It makes your eyes sharp, and everything becomes clear, it’s like a clarity drug. It’s made out of a combination of clary sage, ylang ylang, and lime. People dab it, people eat it and people vape it.
Then the big one that came for me was creating a profile that addresses anxiety. I released that terpene profile and it became my number one selling product all of a sudden. It became bigger than live resin, bigger than dabs, and bigger than the balm. The fact that everybody has anxiety and rarely can people get a consistent result out of cannabis.
Can these products help get people off pharmaceuticals?
They are addressing psychological suffering. Rather than people just using cannabis for their back pain, they use cannabis to get out of a crisis.
The type of cannabis that can get people off opioids.
Exactly, I’m always looking at the power of opioids over the human and the role of cannabis. Cannabis produces the main drug, but the terpenes are the other half of the drug. That’s why weed with no smell has shitty effects.
The terpenes can be the dominant effect and what THC does is it elongates the effect. So there are people who are not cannabis users who smell my anxiety terpenes as a very powerful aromatherapy.
There can be the combination of two terpenes [for example] that makes people laugh every time and you can use it as laugh therapy but now the therapy lasts four hours because you mixed it with THC.
What makes strains unique is the terpenes which give the basic THC its twist. Amnesia Haze has this unique smell that gets you racing high and Kush has a unique smell that gets you couchlock.
Are you constantly experimenting with new products?
I go back and forth between creating different products based on the demands of the populace. There’s never a satisfaction with what I’m doing until I’m absolutely sure there’s nothing more I can do. I’m true to the medicine, I try to make it as pure as possible and try to make it as non-harmful as possible.
Do you sell your products in many places?
The number one place I use as a gauge is Herbal Dispatch. They’ve been so comprehensive in their client feedback, so all of my clinical trial data is within the way Herbal Dispatch built their site.
As more patients and consumers decide to leave pharmaceuticals and embrace marijuana as a natural and effective medicine, people like Horatio Delbert are a necessary commodity in the cannabis world. Without scientific minds like his, we would still be baking weed into brownies with the hopes that it could help whatever ailments we had.
Now, we can rub marijuana cream on sore muscles, ingest pure oils that will target a myriad of health conditions, or simply get the same trusted, consistent high we want on a Sunday afternoon.
Keep inventing Horatio, the world is watching!
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