Cannabis Science Conference East 2019 just wrapped up at the Baltimore Convention Center and the Gentleman had a fantastic experience. Not only did I learn a lot, but the networking opportunity for the local industry was simply unparalleled. I found groups from many Maryland & DC medical dispensaries, cultivators, and processors in attendance. Plus doohickeys galore. Here, look at this thing!
Weed the People
I listened to Rikki Lake and Abby Epstein discuss their film Weed the People. The movie follows the struggles and triumphs of several families who are treating their children with cannabis medicine. I watched the trailer. I was blown away.
The reason that I'm putting Weed the People first is because it's coming out on Netflix in May. I am predicting an absolute social media storm when people can stream this thing for free.
Families in non-legal states are gonna be beating down capital doors for medical marijuana programs after they see this. This film is going to change the way people think about cannabis just like JAWS made 'em kill all the sharks. You just wait!
Or don't! You can rent or buy it on Amazon right now. Make sure to leave a review!
TIL: Pesticide Testing
I was all about the Analytical track. I wanted to hear as much about pesticides and current testing methods as I could. After listening to dueling lectures from competing lab equipment manufacturers Perkin Elmer and Shimadzu, one thing became crystal clear:
The science of pesticide testing is far from an established, universally accepted methodology. The cannabis plant itself provides unique challenges to analysis, as it is, biochemically speaking, both diverse and dense. I heard "sensitivity" and "signal to noise" repeated often during these lectures. Further, specific pesticides and toxins require different methods to detect- there's not one catch 'em all process.
What shocked me was the variance in pesticide testing requirements from state to state. Colorado doesn't test for heavy metals, for instance. Here in Maryland, there is a list of 48 chemicals you can't have above specific, tiny ratios. But in Oregon, there's 56. In California, there's 66. And in Canada, there's 96. Holy schnikes! That's, um, twice as many as we test for here.
The allowable ratios also differ from state to state. In Cali, you might have a .1 of chemical x that your weed can not exceed, but in another state, it could be .01. That's ten times as much Chemical X in your lungs!
Do Maryland patients and consumers need to be worried about those other 48 chemicals in our weed? I posed this exact question to Dr. Bob Clifford from Shimadzu and he repeated what I've been telling y'all:
- Realistically- there's pesticides in our food supply, too.
- That for many, many years marijuana was a black market product with no oversight and no testing. It didn't make people sick. If you'll remember, that was kinda one of its big selling points for legalization- weed is safe. Some testing is better than no testing. I'd add that's only true if the results are accurate.
The other thing I learned about pesticide testing?
Running a marijuana testing lab can be lucrative. In his lecture, Dr. Clifford showed how greater equipment efficiency can increase the number of tests you can run per day with a suggested figure of $225 a pop.
And a potential 90+ tests per day. Which is north of $20k a day. Which is north of half a mil in a month. Just for shoving some weed in a fancy refrigerator and printing out graphs? And you get to wear a labcoat? Dog, who wants to start a lab with me?
You Can Get Your Dog High
Your dog isn't gonna die from eating your stash. Stephen Cital, Director of Education & Development for ElleVet Sciences, told us about studies in the 60s and 70s where they tried to straight up kill dogs by pumping up to a staggering 9000mg/day of THC in them. Except for couch-lock and bladder-control issues, they were fine.
The recently reported cases of dogs dying from eating weed in Colorado were because the weed was baked into chocolate or raisins, both of which are bad for your pooch.
Cannabis Therapy for Epilepsy
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a renowned medical cannabis expert, discussed recent studies and clinical trials that prove marijuana-based compounds can reduce seizure frequency in many pediatric patients. It's not just anecdotal anymore!
That being said, I was shocked at how high the success rates of placebo treatment can be. Like, 20%, higher. Though it does make me feel better about how much I spend on New Age crystals.
Dr. Goldstein is an advocate for whole-plant medication but believes Epidiolex, the anti-epileptic drug recently approved by the FDA, can be a useful supplement to a treatment plan. In her experience, it is much better than nothing in states where cannabis remains illegal.
I was surprised to hear that the price of treating a child with cannabis medicine, even in a legal state, can be prohibitively expensive. On the high end, some patients require 500mg per day, some even more.
Dr. Goldstein has had to work tolerance breaks into some of these treatment plans so the cost doesn't become unmanageable. Those tolerance breaks often lead to seizure episodes.
While their overall quality of life is vastly improved, that's rather heartbreaking. Imagine if insurance paid for medicine that's been proven to work and these kids never needed to stop taking their medication!
Hannahtopia is an amazing start-up from the mother of a child with epilepsy. They want to provide bright, fun clothing altered to accommodate medical equipment like feeding tubes to children and young adults hospitalized for epilepsy so they have a sense of normalcy. You can support the vision of Hannahtopia by purchasing tee shirts from EmpowerYourOdyssey.com.
Coming back to placebos! The study by John Hopkins on depression and anxiety didn't have a control group and relied on self-reporting. Not the strongest study, but the results were promising enough that we should see more.
As of today, only two states have accepted Anxiety as a medical marijuana condition and none have accepted Depression. That makes me both anxious and depressed! I need more weed! Hold on!
Randy Reed, the owner of Olala Brands, a recreational cannabis company from Seattle, discussed his multi-award winning Multi-Phase CO2 extraction method. We're big fans of CO2 here at GTHQ! I'm looking forward to trying some Olala next time I'm out West.