MyDx responding to the industry demand for testing.
Large grows have access to state-of-the-art labs charging hundreds of dollars per to validate the heritage and chemical characteristics of product samples. For marijuana patients and recreational weed enthusiasts seeking testing services for the buds in their own bag, similar data about strains has becomes nearly impossible to obtain.
To address that challenge, Daniel Yazbeck formed MyDx Inc. in September 2013. In May 2015, the company went public after obtaining significant financial backing. As Yazbeck explains, “I wanted to understand the chemical makeup of cannabis and how different strains impact my mind and body. When I found out there was no suitable solution that existed at that time to answer my questions, I created MyDx.”
MyDx Inc. (OTCQB: MYDX), a science and technology company based in San Diego, California, now has seven full-time employees working to evolve the MyDX device. According to Yazbeck, “MyDx is the first battery-operated, handheld electronic analyzer for consumers. The company’s mission is to empower people to live a healthier life by revealing the chemicals in what they eat, drink, and inhale. MyDx uses nanotechnology to accurately measure chemicals of interest and has multiple sensors being developed in its lab that are all compatible with the MyDx App.”
The MyDX device presently retails for $699 per unit at CDXlife.com. Each device comes with fifteen disposable sample inserts. Additional inserts may be purchased in bundles of ten, fifty, or 100 for prices as low as $1.25 per insert. The CannaDX sensor in the device is guaranteed to last a minimum of six months; during in-house trials, each reportedly performed more than 1,000 tests with functionality. Replacement sensors may be purchased from the website for $69.95 each. Yazbeck notes the company offers discounts to a limited number of distributors and clients purchasing multiple devices. Store owners and other potential partners may contact [email protected] for information.
After dividing $699 by 1,000 uses and including the lowest price of $1.25 per insert, consumers can expect to pay less than $2 for each test they perform with the MyDX device. While that may seem like a high price point, Yazbeck points out, “There isn’t exactly a competitor that is comparable in this space that tests the chemical profile of cannabis samples and correlates it with a feeling or ailment relief. There are alternative testing devices, but they are far larger, lab-like, and cost $20,000 to $30,000 each.”
MyDX is intended to be compatible with soon-to-be-released new sensors for other types of testing. The OrganaDX, AquaDX, and AeroDX sensors, in development now, will add the ability to test food, water, and air with the same handheld device by simply swapping out the sensors and samples.
Additional sensors will provide increased applications for the device, especially in areas such as the detection of food allergens for at-risk populations like people who suffer peanut allergies. For now, however, MyDX is focused specifically on the cannabis sector. When asked if he has plans to expand, Yazbeck says “not yet, but we may explore allergens in later applications. Cannabis is the main medical application we are focused on at this time. OrganaDX, which looks for pesticides in agricultural products, is next. The technology is also used to detect tuberculosis in breath and in clinical trials in Africa to validate that application, so in the future, after we complete our current mission of helping people trust and verify what they eat, drink, and inhale, we will look to target other medical applications of our technology. “
The main downside to MyDX is that it is a leading-edge technology suffering from a corresponding range of inaccuracies and sample failures. “For cannabis samples that fall in the 15- to 24-percent THC range, our margin of error is typically within 10 percent at this time as compared to our GC reference database,” explains Yazbeck. “It is important to note we are only as accurate as the accuracy of our reference lab, and the accuracy is indeed improving as we improve the calibration data that we generate with existing labs.”
Taking those numbers as a given, a 24-percent THC sample should return a result somewhere between 22 and 26 percent. Data for cannabis samples below 15 percent or above 24 percent is not currently available, however, and neither is accuracy information for terpenes and other important strain characteristics.
For recreational cannabis users concerned about their privacy when using a digital device like the MyDX, Yazbeck notes, “We are HIPPA-compliant, so while we can review data on our backend software, it is always done anonymously, meaning we cannot identify the testing and feeling data input by a specific user unless that user gives us or his doctor or dispensary specific consent. MyDX users are identified only by an identification number in our data.”
Regarding data structure used by the associated MyDX app, he adds “We collect whether the user is a consumer, manufacturer, distributor, or regulator. We also collect data on the tests themselves—chemical profile and how it makes people feel or what it helps them relieve. We also collect data of inventory of certain dispensaries and link patients to dispensary inventory so patients can rate those strains and allow the budtenders to better recommend strains for patients seeking certain relief or feelings. We also provide consumers with a ‘nearest chemical profile’ for all strains tested in various dispensaries and will be able to allow consumers to find a nearest chemical profile at a local dispensary near them based on what they’ve already tested and how it made them feel. Finally, gathering all this data will help us convert anecdotal data into digitized data that can be leveraged to help the legalization efforts of the industry. Thus far, we have tested over 500 strains in-house via GC and MyDx. This data is publicly available in our app. All strains in our recommendation engine have also been tested via our lab testing partners in California.”
Regarding sales data, Yazbeck says “We can’t disclose the exact number at this time, as this is information people can trade on. We can say over 500 units are in the field with consumers.”
The MyDX may not be the Star Trek tricorder of science fiction fame, but it is the most cost-effective and convenient way to get immediate test results for marijuana strains. Work remains to improve the desired margin of error, and the current price of approximately $2.00 per test may still be outside the comfort zone of most shoppers, but those benchmarks should improve over time, leading more patients and adult users to invest in the handheld tester capable of identifying strain profile from plants as well as their favorite edibles.
“We expect to improve our backend database to detect more chemicals more accurately, and we are excited to be developing a sensor that looks for residual solvents in cannabis concentrates,” says Yazbeck.