Welcome to The Cannabis Scientist
Back in the summer of 2015, Scott Kuzdzal (Shimadzu) brought to my attention a novel field of research: cannabinomics (you can read The Analytical Scientist cover story here: tas.txp.to/0916/cannabinomics). Up until that point, I must admit that I had been somewhat ignorant to the exploding medical cannabis market, but I was fascinated by both the research efforts and the analytical implications.
Fast-forward to Pittcon 2016, and the topic of medical cannabis came up again in a number of frankly absorbing conversations. In particular, Scott introduced me to the highly energetic and passionate Josh Crossney – founder of jCanna and a man on a mission: to build bridges between the analytical and medical cannabis communities. Sitting squarely in the analytical science community, we asked what we could do to help.
Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with some of the people who originally inspired Josh to begin his own journey – Tracy Ryan, for example, whose daughter’s diagnosis with brain cancer spurred her to act with courage and vigor. I’ve also spoken to other analytical chemists, like Scott, who have already embraced the opportunity to fill analytical gaps in a therapeutic field that must endure uncertain or shifting regulations.
Two main thoughts have condensed in my mind: i) Many people in the medical cannabis community are passionate about what they do. And they are keen to embrace analytical testing and quality control to ensure that they supply the best product possible to sometimes very sick individuals. Others are out to exploit a confused public. In either case, analytical science is key.
ii) There is still much we don’t know about the cannabinoid components of cannabis, how they affect the endocannabinoid system, or the synergistic role of other cannabis components, such as terpenes. Understanding the complex chemical composition of cannabis and fully leveraging it to address diseases, many of which we also don’t fully understand, is a huge challenge. Once again, analytical science is key.