Baltimore, MD – Tetragram CEO and founder Otha Smith III knows how to turn life-changing tragedies into a successful business focused on improving people’s lives.
Launched in 2020, Tetragram is a mobile app for cannabis users to keep track of their products, rate the effectiveness of them, and share their personal stories with a connected cannabis community.
Recognized by Marijuana Venture Magazine as one of the 40 Under 40 – Rising Stars in the Cannabis Industry, the Maryland native’s popular cannabis technology company took the industry by storm and now launched its second version with enhanced capabilities and increased education for consumers.
“The Facebook of cannabis is now Tetragram,” Smith said. “Patients can share their cannabis journey in order to improve their quality of life. We saw the potential with the beta version that there was a real desire for people to keep track of the products they are using.”
The HIPPA-compliant app now allows cannabis users to create specific groups to interact with people dealing with similar medical issues. Consumers can also share their cannabis usage data with clinicians, researchers, and dispensaries.
Brands and dispensaries are able to engage directly with consumers. Clinicians have the ability to advertise their services while consumers can now schedule help with these medical professionals through Tetragram.
“When you show Tetragram to someone who has never seen it before and you hear ‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’, you realize you made something magical,” Smith said. “It is my life’s work to show people the beauty of cannabis. There is so much more to this plant than just THC levels.”
Tetragram has partnered with New Frontier Data which is one of the leading data, analytics, and technology firms focused on the thriving cannabis industry.
“Given we have this large patient population that we work with and that is really who Tetragram is targeting, I thought there would be a great opportunity to work together,” said Amanda Reiman, the Chief Knowledge Officer with New Frontier Data. “I view Tetragram as really guiding the patient through the process of making the best choices for what is going to meet their needs. It provides the ability to really understand the relationship between different products and outcomes. With the updated version of the app and the ability to share information with your doctor and others in your community, it really struck me as a science-informed product you can use to improve health and well being.”
For Smith, two life-altering events prompted the creation of Tetragram.
After a near-deadly car crash in 2006 that left him with a traumatic brain injury, Smith was prescribed opioids for the pain. He quickly knew that was not a solution for his pain relief and turned to medical marijuana.
“My car accident led me down a dangerous road of using prescription pills,” Smith said. “I was one of the fortunate ones that was able to stop popping pills and repurpose my attention on the benefits of cannabis.”
Finding it difficult to remember what strains had what effects, Smith began laying the groundwork for Tetragram’s inception.
But it was another tragedy that truly propelled Smith to educate people about the deadliness of opioids and the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
In 2017, his older brother was killed by a woman driving a vehicle while high on prescription drugs.
“At the time, my brother had recently married, a father of two and his life was taken by someone who chose to get behind the wheel high on pills,” Smith said. “Painkillers is another reminder of why I work tirelessly, day and night on Tetragram seven days a week. I believe in the power of cannabis to help all users both medical and adult-use get the most out of their cannabis experience. If the woman who killed my brother had access to cannabis instead of prescription drugs, my brother would be a phone call away.”
After years in development, Tetragram was officially born in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first year, the app usage far exceeded the company’s projected goals.
Smith and Tetragram CTO Julius Moore immediately began working on upgrades to the beta version.
For Moore, the most exciting part of the app update is seeing how strangers can now create groups and share their experiences.
“Whether it’s parents of autistic children or veterans suffering from PTSD, giving those people a safe space to talk about cannabis is important,” said the 37-year-old University of Maryland grad. “They talk about the horrors they have experienced in life and how to use cannabis.”
Like Smith, the development of Tetragram was personal for Moore.
“My dad didn’t take care of himself and experienced a series of health issues that shook me. He was an untreated diabetic with lower back pain who started taking opioids after he was diagnosed with a crushed disc in his back and went through multiple surgeries,” said Moore, whose background is in computer science. “My dad never used marijuana for medicinal purposes so I thought if I help build something that will help people maybe it could help him.”
As cannabis usage increases, the spike in cannabis-related businesses has also jumped. That is where Tetragram sets itself apart from other cannabis startups.
“We are part of the culture. We are grassroots and have credibility. We are tapped into the vibe of the real industry,” Smith said. “We are not building tech to get rich, we are building to improve people’s lives. We are here for the people.”
Smith, a Bowie State University graduate, understands the importance of data and sharing information between cannabis retailers, producers, researchers, clinicians, and consumers.
“Tetragram is well positioned for significant growth in the coming years. As more states legalize cannabis use,” Smith said. “We will have the ability to help more people discover the right product to meet their personal needs. Our data will be the driving force in helping not only consumers, but brands, and doctors understand the impact of the various products in the market.”
For more about Tetragram, visit the website and download the app on the Apple Store or Google Play.