The future of weed? Cloudious 9’s Hydrology 9 combines vaping and smoking

Weed culture is a particularly interesting pocket of Americana, with heavily stratified groups of consumers separated by their preferred method for getting high. Handheld vaporizers have become popular among low-key stoners over the past few years, while less discreet users might prefer joints, blunts, or bongs — “water pipes,” if we’re being technical.

The amusingly named Cloudious 9, a Fremont, California-based startup (and one of surprisingly few cannabis companies at CES this year), wants to bring those groups together via the Hydrology 9, a gadget that splits the difference between vaporizers and water pipes, all while looking like a contemporary pepper grinder. We invited Cloudious 9’s founder and CEO, Richard Huang, to come by our booth at CES  and show off his invention.

The Hydrology 9 largely operates like a vaporizer; open the bottom of the unit, put in some (preferably ground) flower, and the microchip processor precisely monitors oven temperature to ensure you’re not inhaling unwanted carcinogens during use. “You can see it as the modern version of a water pipe,” says Huang. “We saw that a lot of companies in the cannabis space are racing to create the smallest, most portable vaporizer, but the water pipe [market] is underserved. Our target audience could be anybody, but especially casual users who don’t want to have a big ol’ bong in their house.”

While most modern vaporizers feature small, straw-like mouthpieces, the Hydrology 9’s detachable, borosilicate glass mouthpiece is intended for your lips to fit inside (like with typical water pipes). With a magnetized cap, you can be sure dust will never get in when you’re not looking. The H9 is built from borosilicate glass and “spacecraft-grade” aluminum alloy, and outfitted with precise heating control that allows users to select from five separate temperature levels.

What sets the H9 apart from most vaporizers is its water chamber, which is sealed with a unique, 360-degree antileak mechanism. Vapor flows through the water chamber, so users get both the “cooling effect” of a water pipe and the clean vapor of a vaporizer. Hydrology 9 is currently available for $250 via the Cloudious 9 website or at select retailers nationwide.