Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Jill Ellsworth, Willow Industries:

“Ozone is an organic way to safely clean cannabis without compromising quality”

“I found that contamination in cannabis was being tested for, but if the cultivator had contaminated product, they had no solution to get rid of it. Therefore, we invented a way to get rid of contamination: our WillowPure Systems,” explains Jill Ellsworth, CEO at Willow Industries. “I come from the food and beverage industry. When I started to look at cannabis, I realized a lot of the safety requirements are similar to the beverage industry, such as hazard plans and kill steps,” she says. “We wanted to find a way to adapt the decontamination technology to cannabis and improve consumer safety.”

Jill Ellsworth 

How does it work?
Jill explains that the WillowPure system is a fully contained system. “This is because ozone is really hard to produce and control. We actually produce ozone from oxygen. We pull it from ambient air, we concentrate that, we convert it through an electrical charge, and that turns it into ozone. It floods into a drum and oxidizes any sort of pathogen on the flower. Once that’s finished, all of the ozone converts back to oxygen. The system is really easy to use, and we make sure any operator can use it.”

The company makes sure the systems are safe for utilizing ozone, as ozone is a dangerous gas. “You’re not able to open the door of the drum or chamber until the machine knows all the ozone is gone. There’s no risk for the operator,” Jill explains. Moreover, the technology is very effective, she says. “We have really good kill rates that significantly impact overall compliance and increase pass rates. Of course, there are some situations where product is too highly contaminated, but those are rare occasions that identify a larger, underlying quality issue.” The system is also relatively fast, with the treatment time ranging between 1 and 6 hours. “If you’re using it as a kill step, you can run it for just 1 hour. If your product is really contaminated, it can take up to 6 hours.”

The technology is often used after the flower is dried, cured, and trimmed, right before testing. “When we started the company, the whole premise was to use it as a kill step. It would thus be used preventatively to prevent testing failures and ensure consumer safety. At the time we started, the industry was not yet at that point, as people were more reactive rather than preventative. Over the years, we have started to move our customers in the industry towards prevention,” Jill explains.

Extending shelf life
Jill explains that ozone also has the benefit of extending the shelf life of cannabis. “We notice that it makes the product stay fresh for longer, as it retains strong terpene and cannabinoid profiles. Also, you’re not going to see a lot of microbial growth, as that is knocked down so significantly that microbes don’t have the right environment to thrive.”

Jill also explains the benefits of using ozone against other methods of decontamination. “There are, of course, other methods, such as irradiation, radio frequency, and vaporized hydrogen peroxide. Ozone is gentle and considered organic. The cost is a lot lower, and very low power is needed. Also, it has a very small footprint, and you don’t have to do any facility modifications. We notice that cannabis regulators definitely appreciate the fact that the system is organic and that we pull a lot of our technology from food, adapting it to cannabis. Our intentions are always to improve consumer safety in the industry.”

For more information:
Willow Industries
[email protected]