On the Up and Up
The cannabis industry is moving into the mainstream – and the big analytical players are on board.
Charlotte Barker | | Opinion
I recently returned from San Diego, California, where I represented our sister publication – The Cannabis Scientist – at a two-day event exploring all scientific aspects of the (in)famous plant. On my way to the Emerald Conference, I chatted to various interesting characters – much like Dorothy (though my yellow brick road felt much longer – and there were no lions). Inevitably, the question would arise: “So, what takes you to California?” When I replied that I was attending a cannabis conference, I was surprised (and perhaps a little disappointed) that I didn’t raise a single eyebrow. Instead, responses ranged from polite interest to outright enthusiasm.
This positive response from strangers reminded me just how much public perception of cannabis has shifted in recent years – and the conference itself showed me how the industry has changed likewise. Even in the three short years since we launched The Cannabis Scientist, the difference is palpable. Back in 2016, a number of instrument manufacturers kept a low profile in an area that was still considered “edgy” at best. This year at Emerald (“the most technical cannabis science conference in the industry,” as the organizers proudly say), there was no such reticence; five of the top sponsorship spots were taken by major international equipment and consumable companies – all of whom are releasing masses of application notes, technical information and educational materials specific to the cannabis market.
A growing number of scientific conferences and journals are springing up and, though there are still those who believe cannabis cures everything from cancer to the common cold, the deluge of “anecdata” is gradually being replaced by scientifically valid clinical trials and large-scale observational studies, which regularly appear in the world’s biggest scientific publications.
In the early days of legalization, the cannabis industry was often referred to as the Wild West – complete with a “green rush” of amateur growers, dispensaries and testing labs. Now, as regulations become stricter and as scientific understanding increases, the industry is becoming more pioneer than cowboy.
From the start, The Cannabis Scientist has maintained a strong scientific focus – just like all of our other publications – so it was particularly gratifying to hear scientists at the Emerald Conference saying that they value the magazine’s intelligent, nuanced approach. The USP of our magazines has always been to take a high-level view of complex concepts in an accessible way, without either dumbing down or getting lost in technical details – and we believe that is especially valuable in a field undergoing rapid change.
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