CAPNA LABS: A STORY OF INNOVATION AND SUCCESS
It is 2012 and the legalization of recreational cannabis is on the ballot in both Colorado and Washington, while a number of other states including California have already passed medical use. The country is watching closely to see what happens, and some companies are betting strongly that the marijuana industry has only been warming up over the past few years - they were right. The bills pass in a wave of green and as of today, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize marijuana use in some form.
Since then, there has been a consistent pumping out of innovative technologies in order to keep pace with the growing demand. And that has, in turn, revolutionized many aspects of the cannabis industry for the best. The days of basement grow ops and kitchen-cooked extracts are gone. Ziplock bags have been replaced with childproof packaging, and concentrates have morphed from bubble hash to live-resin.
As companies look to stay competitive and stand out from their counterparts, they inevitably follow a path that leads to innovation and change. It’s simply not efficient to use old techniques to produce cannabis flower or extract isolates anymore because the market demands much higher volumes today. It was only a matter of time before someone realized this shortcoming and addressed it.
Vitaly Mekk and Gene Galyuk started Capna® back in 2013 during a time when many people were still getting their footing in a blooming industry. They were extracting cannabinoids on a relatively small scale and quickly realized that the process could be much more effective. Back then, you had two main choices of extraction techniques. Although butane was efficient, it was also considered highly combustible and obviously dangerous. CO2, on the other hand, was far too inefficient and not at all viable for large scale production. This was a very clear problem for anyone wanting to produce THC or CBD in bulk - so basically everyone in the cannabis industry.
Vitaly and Gene set out to solve that problem - building their own extraction systems in-house that would allow them to scale up without putting their safety at risk with dangerous explosives. Revolutionizing the industry was an undertaking, to say the least, and what they stumbled upon was something very special: a closed-loop system that uses ethanol at ultra-low temperatures.
The system had a few advantages. First, it eliminated the need for post-processing, which meant less work and cleaner products. It also happened to be much purer than the classic extraction techniques - around 80% THC. Something incredible had been created in this small extraction lab, and nobody in the world knew it yet but Capna®.
For a couple of years, Vitaly and Gene used their systems to pump out batch after batch of beautiful concentrates, until in 2016 when the decision was made to share their innovations with the cannabis community. Capna® made a choice to begin selling extraction equipment with the Ethos-4: a compact model able to process up to ten pounds per hour safely and efficiently. And it was just what the market needed at that time. This flagship model can be found in labs around the US and Canada and was only recently discontinued in October 2019.
Today, Capna® has a “design-for-scalability” operational philosophy which allows operators to plug-and-play hardware to scale their extraction process. They boast four types of extraction systems to meet the exact size of any lab: with their Atlas capable of processing 2000+ pounds of material per hour - yes, you read that correctly. This modular system offers long-term reliability with built-in redundancies, allowing clients to lower future capital investments and stay competitive in an ever-growing market. That’s a long way from where this process was in 2013, and the industry is incredibly thankful for it because without this type of innovation the process would simply not be efficient and safe enough for large scale production.
Vitaly and Gene weren’t done yet though. Capna’s goal is to help each and every one of their customers thrive in this rapidly expanding cannabis industry, and in order for that to happen, the proper groundwork must be laid. Not every lab is the same, and each one requires a unique setup to maximize ROI. So they created a custom ROI calculator to help with just that. Depending on the desired end product, it can calculate the cost of investment, cost of material needed and provide clients with an exact ROI, ensuring that they are prepared to stay competitive and at the top of the market.
Without these types of innovations, the cannabis industry would not be the powerhouse that it is today. And that’s the beauty of legalization: it allows thought-leaders like Vitaly and Gene to use the full capacity of their talents in changing an otherwise immature process into something that is reliable and safe. That’s good for everyone, consumers and producers alike. Companies like Capna® are perfect examples of how finding solutions to common problems can lead to breakthroughs in technology, and with the full legalization of hemp in 2018, we are poised for much more to come.