“There is a lot of confusion in the cannabis industry about ozone as a decontamination method, but it is important to know that not all ozone is created equal. Many cultivators have put ozone generators in their dry and cure rooms that can be really damaging to the plant material because you’re not able to control the concentration of ozone,” says Jill Ellsworth, CEO at Willow Industries. “Our WillowPure system finds the exact ozone concentration in relation to the treatment time to decontaminate cannabis. The system pulls ambient oxygen, concentrates that oxygen, and, through an electrical charge, turns the oxygen into ozone. The ozone then floods the drum and is held at the specific concentration that gets rid of microbes on the flower without doing any damage. Once the process is done, the system pulls out all the ozone and converts it back to oxygen.”

Jill Ellsworth

Is using ozone risky?
Jill explains that generic ozone generators are not created with the cannabis industry in mind. “More importantly, there are risks to using ozone generators. If you put an ozone generator in your dry room, you have no idea of the concentration. After turning it on, you could walk into the room, and it could be filled with ozone, which is highly dangerous. The WillowPure is an enclosed system with controlled ozone levels. With three levels of internal safety and containment, it ensures a safe work environment,” Jill says.

Organic and energy-efficient
According to Jill, there are many benefits to using ozone over other methods of decontamination. “Ozone is a process that is deemed organic by the FDA and USDA. It’s also a really gentle surface-level decontamination. Our systems aren’t going to sterilize the product, it’s going to be a more natural treatment.” Jill also says that their system is more energy efficient. “You can plug our system into a standard outlet, and the energy costs are extremely low with our technology.” Another benefit is that ozone is shown to extend the shelf life of cannabis. “We have seen that time and time again with our partners. Ozone adds a kind of protective layer around the product. So it’s not only a kill step, it also acts as a shelf life extension.”

Prevention or emergency solution?
The Willow Industries team doesn’t just drop off the system and lets the growers figure things out by themselves. “We’re helping cultivators to uncover what’s happening upstream. Decontamination can ensure that you pass testing, but if you’re not fixing the contamination issue in the cultivation process, you’re never going to have ultimately healthy plants. When I started the company, this solution was always intended as a gentle kill step at the end of the process, similar to how it’s done in the food and beverage industry. It was never intended to be used as a way to treat horribly contaminated flowers. Luckily, over time, we’ve certainly seen the industry start to adopt prevention more and more instead of using emergency solutions. Willow aims to be a partner in this, ensuring that producers move towards GMP standards,” Jill adds.

For more information:
Willow Industries