Listen. Before you get the pitchforks out for this click-baity post title, hear me out.
Coming from a formal institutionalized education setting, for me, there was nothing more uninspiring than learning subjects such as organic chemistry and pharmacology in college. Textbooks and lectures filled with hard-to-pronounce scientific terminology, drawing amino acid structures of the Krebs cycle by memory, evaluating peer-reviewed clinical research studies, calculating specific macronutrient requirements for intravenous total parenteral nutrition……….
Did I lose you yet?
It wasn’t until I started working in the cannabis industry that I realized why this education is so important: its completely based on FACTS. Cold, hard, unsexy, lab-tested, clinically-tried facts.
The (hopefully waning) federal Schedule I designation of cannabis inhibits meaningful research that clinicians and scientists rely on to make educated decisions when it comes to healthcare. Maximizing patient care and clinical outcomes requires access to objective, data-driven facts and is the foundation that the entire medical community is built on. In order for hesitant clinicians to even begin having a conversation about integrating cannabis as a standard of care in their practices, the cannabis industry must break out of the current patch-work of rules and regulations that its currently operating in.
From a patient perspective, people with severe debilitating medical conditions using cannabis for sometimes life-saving treatment are currently forced to participate in an industry that operates in an inconsistent flux of information and best practices. The onus of self-discovering what an “effective dose” of cannabinoid-based medicine is doesn’t necessarily have to fall on a patient. Assuring consumption of a clean, pesticide-free, measurable and repeatable dose of cannabis should serve as the norm, not the exception.
My opinion is that the “grey” area the cannabis industry is operating in is being driven primarily by consumerism and not enough science. Branding opportunities, being first-to-market, lifestyle creation, customer engagement are all business opportunities an established marketplace has the luxury of deep-diving into, but the cannabis industry is not quite there yet. The roots and foundation of the cannabis industry are not deep and widespread enough to support the weight of social, corporate, and medical responsibilities that fall on it.
One thing that I believe both the medical and adult-use market will benefit from is standardized testing protocols of cannabis and cannabinoid-based products across state-lines and even internationally. When the meaningful research window opens up freely for the scientific and medical community, providing access to a measurable baseline will be crucial in establishing the life work for the next generation of scientists and physicians. In an established adult-use market, having reliable, consistent batch-to-batch testing of cannabis products will streamline and drive consumer confidence levels and eliminate the need for an illicit marketplace with potential health issues like the EVALI crisis of 2019. It’s a win-win for both sides of the coin.
Below is some research the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is currently engaged in with the cannabis space. Based on the universal recognization for setting standards of the traditional pharmaceutical industry and their involvement and ties with the FDA, I hope to see this organization flourish within the cannabis space!
United States Pharmacopeia Perspectives on Cannabis Quality
Cannabis Inflorescence for Medical Purposes: USP Considerations for Quality Attributes
TLDR of above video and study:
- The USP is an independent science-based organization that currently establish pharmaceutical industry standards
- They offer transparent standard-setting processes with strict conflict of interest provisions
- There’s a focus on reduction of harm from adulterated products using validated analytical testing standards
- The material is based on cold, hard, unsexy, lab-tested, clinically-tried facts