The cannabis experience is arguably best expressed though the phrase “sharing is caring.”
Whether you’re welcoming a stranger into your smoke circle, pinching off a piece of a nug for a friend in need or hitting a pipe passed around at a party, a communal mindset is ingrained in cannabis culture. What’s largely ignored? Just how many germs are involved.
The pandemic has obviously spurred a hyper-awareness to bacteria, but before we were even thinking about protecting ourselves and each other, Moose Labs conducted a study in 2018 that found that the average cannabis bong has 49% more pathogens than a public toilet seat — among other shocking stats like finding 92% more germs than an ATM keypad, 1,304% more than a dog food bowl and 530% more than a cell phone screen. Based in Los Angeles, Moose Labs recently started working with a harm reduction specialist at University of California Irvine to conduct further research on its filters.
The safety-focused cannabis design company was founded in 2014 and could never have predicted the surge in global need for its line of germ-free silicone mouthpieces. Six years later, Moose Labs’ innovation and foresight was recognized by Fast Company with an honorable mention in the 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards for the MouthPeace.
“Consumers are still going to share cannabis with friends — that will never stop completely — but we hope that after this pandemic, they will at least think twice before taking a hit from someone else’s joint or glass bowl,” shared Moose Labs co-founder Jay Rush. “I highly doubt that the people who were wiping down bags of chips or boxes of cereal from the grocery store will be quick to puff on a joint from a stranger. But after everything that 2020 has taught us, we truly hope consumers will take the extra step to make their smoke sessions with friends germ-free, but we also know that in some cases, old habits die hard.”
The MouthPeace is the first physician-backed, germ-preventing accessory designed to fit pipes, joints and vape pens for a cleaner smoke session among friends and family; and once consumption-friendly cannabis events start happening again, the Moose Labs team expects the MouthPeace to become common-place at social gatherings. Moose Labs saw a 631% increase in annual sales in 2020.
Available in two sizes (MouthPeace and MouthPeace Mini) the reusable devices are made with platinum-cured silicone, creating a sanitary barrier and preventing direct oral contact with a variety of shared smoking devices. The MouthPeace Mini Starter Kit comes with two mouthpieces, six disposable filter inserts and a storage tube while the MouthPeace Starter Kit includes one mouthpiece, two filters and a lanyard. Both retail for $9.99 with 10-Filter Refill packs available for $6.99.
“Most of what we know about design and product development was self-taught through trial and error,” Rush, who’s brother Dan Rush is also a co-founder, added. “We started out with a self-built 3D printer, prototyping and producing little knick knacks for friends and family. That evolved into mass producing parts by casting and molding what we printed in our basement. Our mother is an entrepreneur and she always fostered that independence and motivated us to create. We didn’t have much of a professional background, but we had the ideas and we were determined.”
The lightbulb moment for Moose Labs was at the High Times 2014 Denver Cannabis Cup when another exhibitor announced over a loudspeaker that their bong had given out 10,000 hits over the course of the weekend.
“This made all of our jaws drop, but for very different reasons. My brother Dan and I were super impressed by it, but our fellow co-founder, Maria (Testa), who ironically isn’t a huge cannabis consumer, thought it was absolutely appalling that this bong had been used by this many people.
Each MouthPeace Mini comes with a proprietary MouthPeace Filter designed to fit snugly inside the device. These replaceable filters use activated carbon and triple-layer filtration to remove resins, contaminants and tar particles from each inhale while allowing smaller molecules, like THC and CBD, to pass through. The result is a cleaner, safer smoking experience that protects both your lungs and your immune system.
“I knew there had to be a better way for people to avoid sharing germs when consuming,” recalled Testa. “Everyone was having fun and wanted to try smoking out of this infamous bong, and I couldn’t believe that they didn’t even think twice about it being covered in germs. We didn’t realize it then, but this was the moment when a simple idea would change our lives forever.”
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.