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Using Cannabis as a Holistic Medicine with Donna Shields

donna shields holistic cannabis network

Interview with Donna Shields, Cannabis Culinary Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Holistic Cannabis Network.

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at cannainsider.com to get started. Now here’s your program.

There is a growing curiosity about using cannabis medicine, particularly as an alternative or supplement to existing traditional medicines prescribed by doctors. However there is a huge chasm between what doctors know about cannabis as medicine and what patients want from their doctor or healthcare professional. To help us sort through this I have invited Donna Shields, Cannabis Culinary Nutritionists and cofounder of Holistic Cannabis Network onto the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Donna.

Donna: Well thanks so much. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Matthew: To give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Donna: Well I am based in Boulder, Colorado. I am a registered Dietician/Nutritionist that has found their way actually from corporate food industry to a health education platform for cannabis. My cofounder, Laura Lagano and I have recently founded the Holistic Cannabis Network, as you’ve already mentioned, and we are building a cannabis education platform specifically for health practitioners.

Matthew: Okay. And what’s the interest here? What was the spark that caused this to happen and change from whatever you were doing before to get into this?

Donna: Well you know Matt like most things in life I think people find things because of a personal situation in their own lives. And for me that was a breast cancer diagnosis a few years ago which really put me on this path in being more interested about the therapeutic of cannabis in health conditions and realizing that as a nutritionist I had this great body of knowledge about nutrition and holistic healing modalities and why not combine that expertise with my own personal experience and really bringing it together to try and educate other practitioners about what I was finding to be true in the therapeutic world of cannabis.

Matthew: Okay. So tell us more about Holistic Cannabis Network, what that means and how we should think about it.

Donna: Well as you’ve mentioned in the introduction there is a huge gap here between what is traditionally been done with this healing herb and what modern day practitioners know about it, and basically they know very little. And so as we looked around and thought how can we try and educate consumers, educate practitioners and move this national conversation forward in a very legitimate and positive way. We came to the place we really have to get people trained and educated. So that’s exactly what we’re doing. The Holistic Cannabis Network is an online platform for providing cannabis education training for what I would call Holistic Minded Practitioners.

So when I say that I mean our audience are really practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, health coaches, nutritionists, Reiki practitioners, yoga instructors, everyone who is working in, already working in one of these holistic healing modalities and would like to integrate cannabis education into their practice not only to educate their patients and their clients, but we see this also as a great business building tool for the practitioner as well.

Matthew: Yeah gosh that’s a good point. I feel like there is such a huge shortcoming with traditional medicine. It’s a challenge but also an opportunity. I’m sure there’s a lot of healthcare practitioners that want to get this information, want to help patients with it, but you know it’s just not there. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems like the more into insurance a practice is, the less they seem open to cannabis. It’s more the healthcare providers that are not taking insurance. They’re more outside the system where there seem like they’re more open to it. That’s my perception. I don’t know if it’s true. What do you think about that?

Donna: Well I think you’re spot on. The reality is that the practitioners who are open to this and who want to integrate into their practice tend to be more of the integrative or functional medicine practitioners. And when I use those words, integrative and functional medicine, what I’m really referring to is practitioners who are approaching healthcare by getting at the root cause of a problem. You know in this country we do a fabulous job of treating acute situations with our means of surgery and medications and we’re good at that. But what we’re not so good at is really approaching all of the chronic health conditions that are plaging our country. Things like cancer and heart disease and fibromyalgia and these things that are just chronic problems for people.

And using that integrative or functional medicine approach really allows us to get at the root cause of what ails you. And that’s really where we see the shift heading in this country. There’s a big paradigm shift in this country moving from the mindset of let’s just relieve the symptoms with a pill to let’s dig a little bit deeper, find out the root cause and then we can really get people on the path to wellness.

Matthew: Great point. There’s an inspirational writer, Louise Hay, who says every time you take a prescription medicine you’re telling your body to shut up. I don’t want to hear what you’re telling me, what you’re trying to tell me about what’s going on and it’s masking it. You know I get the point there. Obviously there is conventional medications that are really important and that don’t fit that criteria, but I think a lot of times now we’re just looking to pills to you know quick fix. It seems like there’s a huge opportunity in just autoimmune situations alone because there’s a tsunami of autoimmune problems sweeping the country. I don’t know if it’s just from GMO foods or what, toxins in our lives, but it seems like everywhere you turn you’re seeing more and more autoimmune issues and that might be a good kind of entry way for cannabis to come into people’s lives. Where do you think the low hanging fruit is where we can incorporate cannabis treatments for different ailments?

Donna: Well you know certainly chronic pain is the number one reason that people cite for using cannabis. And so if we look at just that area along we know that a lot of that chronic pain is the result of autoimmune disease of inflammation. And we know that cannabis has great anti-inflammatory properties. So you know whether it’s arthritis, fibromyalgia, Chrohns, a whole host of conditions we believe that cannabis as an adjunctive therapy, and so I want to be really clear about that. That in no way are we suggesting to practitioners that cannabis is the panacea for everything because it clearly is not, but when used in combination with a lot of these other healing modalities, when you put the whole package together in an integrated approach then that is really a great way to get people to feel better more quickly with less side effects from medications, probably with less cost and it also empowers people to take responsibility for themselves.

I think people, many people certainly are wanting to participate in their healthcare, and so we’re getting away from this idea of healthcare is something that the doctor does to you or for you, but you have to have an active role in it. So as we can get people to understand the therapeutic value of cannabis along with a great diet with exercise, with meditation and other modalities, this is really where we want to bring people.

Matthew: Yes, consumer driven change too. I mean we’re beginning a golden era here with exponential technologies allowing and empowering patients to do more of what they want or at least exploring more of what they want. I just had my gut bacteria biome sequenced for under $100. I mean it’s really just a remarkable thing to think that that could happen.

Donna: That’s great and that’s exactly the kind of testing that, you’re right, is now more readily available where people can dig a little bit deeper to see what the underlying problem is. And so as registered dietician/nutritionist we see a great interplay with cannabis therapy and obviously diet because when you really stop and think about it this is a medicinal herb not unlike many other botanical herbs that we encourage people to incorporate into their diet. You know using tumeric for inflammation, using Ashwagandha for anxiety relief. So this is not a farfetched ideal and we are, what we’re communicating to people and to the practitioners that we’re training, you know, this has been around for a really long time and we need to think about this medicinal herb just like we would all of these other herbals that have a therapeutic effect.

Matthew: I want to circle back around to that term integrative medicine which is becoming more widely known and understood, but there’s still a lot of people out there that say I’ve heard that, I don’t know what it means. I mean you might see someone on TV like Dr. Andrew Wilde, the guy with the huge salt and pepper beard talking about it. But we just don’t know what that means. And you said hey that’s getting at the root cause, but how is that different than traditional. Can you just compare and contrast, integrative with traditional a little bit more?

Donna: In a traditional appointment with a physician you go in for your 7 minute or 15 minute appointment, whatever is allotted by insurance, and you tell the doctor your symptoms and the prescription or the therapy is based on relieving those symptoms. So you go in with an earache, a sore throat, whatever, you get an antibiotic. Well in an integrative approach the appointment typically would need to be a little bit longer because this requires a conversation between practitioner and patient to find out a little bit more about what’s going on in the patient’s life. What’s their diet like? What kinds of products are they using? And you know after a little more conversation and maybe thinking about doing that micro biome test that you just had, you find out that there is a dysbiosis that the bacteria in the gut is not quite what it should be. So gee your immunity is compromised and that’s why you keep getting all of these recurring sore throats and ear infections. So that means let’s stop this repetitive cycle of giving antibiotics because while they are relieving the symptoms of the ear infection and the sore throat it’s playing havoc with the bacteria in your gut thus compromising your immunity even more.

So what’s happening is sometimes the treatment that we give people in a conventional setting is really compromising and compounding what the root problem is. So it really requires stepping back, digging a little bit deeper and the therapy needs to address the root cause and in that example I just gave you would be repairing and enhancing the bacteria landscape in the gut that’s going to build your immunity, you’ll get less ear infections, less sore throats, end of story.

Matthew: What is holding back healthcare professionals from integrating cannabis more? I mean my sense is that there’s a lot of fear out there. It’s like hey if I talk about this with a patient, the DEA is going to bust through the window and I’m going to lose my license. Also there’s not really a clear way for prescribing cannabis so much. I mean doctors are used to saying take 10 mg of this and do you think it’s going to take moving more to cannabis oils and capsule form where they can know exactly okay this is what I’m prescribing. It’s very objective. There’s very little in the way of differences from one cannabis oil pill to another. What’s it going to take to surmount those challenges?

Donna: Well I think the first and foremost thing is that physicians as well as others need to get some basic training and education because they really are operating in the dark right now. To understand the mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system and all of the other things that go on with understanding how this plant impacts the different systems in the body. The thing that you’re suggesting about dosage and what’s going to be the best way to address this with a patient, this is a very individualized situation because one size does not fit all for every patient. So you really can’t just send somebody out of the office after one visit and say here, this is it, this is the dosage that may work for you.

You know people respond differently just like they do to other medications. And so I think first and foremost we have to get practitioners trained and get comfortable with this whole topic. And there is a certain amount of fear that exists that they think oh will my patient think I’m a little, you know, am I crack pot if I bring this up? You know am I compromising my professional ethics by even suggesting this? And certainly in some states it’s more readily accepted than in other places. And so I think this is going to be really a slowly evolving process, and the more that practitioners hear about this at conferences, I mean, I’m delighted to say that at our annual… those of us who are registered dieticians at our big annual meeting this year there’s a program on cannabis and cancer care. Now that’s a very mainstream conference and yet it has made its way onto the program and I’m delighted to see that.

So you know Laura and I are trying to do exactly that to get ourselves onto speaking panels for different medical professional conferences so we can start getting the word out and getting the word out in a way that is accessible, understandable and very practical. Because at the end of the day you know the practitioner wants to know okay how do I implement this in my practice tomorrow.

Matthew: Great point. Now with your nutritionist’s hat on, just looking at cannabis as a food, I know I’ve had guests on in the past that say hey you know I take the fan leaves of cannabis and I make a salad out of it or I juice and so forth. Do you hear anything like that going on?

Donna: Well I think everyone is going to be comfortable with a different form, Matt, and again that’s one of the areas that I think most people think oh the only option is to smoke this. Well we know there’s many other delivery systems; tinctures, topicals, edibles, what have you. So that’s one of the other areas that we’re trying to get people to understand that depending on your personal preference and what you’re more comfortable with, and again I really want to drive home this idea that you have to meet people where they are. Whenever you’re asking people to make a behavior change, whether it’s exercise more or change their diet or start incorporating cannabis, you have to meet them where they are.

So for some people you know the idea of vaporizing or smoking it may just seem a little bit too out there. So for them maybe a tincture or maybe incorporating it into a meal that they’re preparing is the way to get them to take a baby step moving forward. So I think we have to offer all of these options to people and just get them in their comfort zone with it.

Matthew: Now you have some infused edible prototypes in development right now. Can you tell us about those?

Donna: Sure. Laura and I have a brand that we are looking to bring to market called CannaBatana, and the premise of this product line is using botanical based ingredients as the foundation for these food products because if you look at what’s readily available for the most part in the edible category most of it is candies, baked goods, sodas, foods that are highly sugared. And while you know that’s fine it’s not fine if you’re trying to use cannabis in a real therapeutic way.

If you walk into a dispensary and you’re looking for an edible to take therapeutically and you’ve got an inflammatory problem, why wouldn’t we want to have a product available for somebody that also has some other ingredients that have some nutritional ethicacy. Maybe some green tea in there, maybe some tumeric, some rosemary. Some other herbal and other ingredients that are delivering on a nutritional benefit. So that is our concept with the product line that we are looking to create. And I would clearly say that if any of your listeners have an interest in collaborating in developing this kind of a product we are absolutely interested in speaking with people who have production capabilities and are in a like-minded philosophy of bringing some nutritionally based products to the marketplace. I’m looking to talk to collaborators on this topic.

Matthew: And let’s talk a little bit about the Cannabis Kitchen, a book you contributed to. You know back to talking about meeting people where they are, are there any popular recipes or dishes in that book which would kind of help people just get their toe in the water and experiment with cannabis cooking that you would recommend?

Donna: Well you know the approach of this cookbook which different from some others that I’ve seen out there is that these recipes needed to be doable and practical. It’s not fancy company recipes, although some of them are certainly appropriate for entertaining, but the idea was to you know create everyday recipes that people really could make. So one of the things that I really like about the approach in the book is that every recipe has three different tiers of the foundational oil or butter that one would make the recipe with. So there’s a beginner oil for somebody who’s just getting their toe wet with this. So the milligram dosage is fairly low. And then there’s a moderate and a more ramped up version.

So I think this is a great way to get people comfortable with hey let me try this recipe with the beginner oil. A more experienced person could ramp it up. So I think these are the kinds of tools and tips that we need to give people to get them to try this. There’s a lot of base recipes for drinks. You know, you’re busy. How to make a really good smoothie. Things that people already understand how to make a trail mix, something like a stuffed mushroom. Okay we all know what a stuffed mushroom recipe is like. Here’s a way to do it with a cannabis infusion. So I think Robin Lawrence who is the author of the book had about ten of us from around the country who are experienced chefs and recipe developers all contribute to this book, and I think what you get is a really nice assortment of recipes that speak to everyday cooking. So I think people are really going to enjoy this book. The photographs are beautiful, very appealing, and the book just came out a couple of weeks ago. So it’s out there for people to try.

Matthew: Many listeners out there have a deep interest in integrating cannabis into their work lives. You have a seminar coming out in early 2016 in this area. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and how people can learn more about it?

Donna: Sure. We are hosting the first ever Virtual Holistic Cannabis Summit. This has never been done before. We are hosting this February 16th through the 19th of 2016, and online summits for those who are familiar with it know that it’s a great way from the comfort of your home or your office to tune in over the course of several days and listen to presentations by renowned speakers. So we are doing exactly that. We are bringing together over the course of four days presenters from the integrative medicine world as well as clinicians and researchers, growers, edible producers from the cannabis world.

So we’re taking these two disciplines and we’re integrating them together for an online summit that is going to have 20 to 30 speakers. So people register for free. This is all completely free content. Our website www.holisticcannabisnetwork.com is what’s up right now, but very shortly and in fact right now we have a save the date on www.holisticcannabissummit.com. And beginning in January people will be able to start registering. You register, it’s free and then you tune in. If you’re not able to sit through four days worth of our presentations, you have the ability to get all the presentations with the PowerPoints. So there’s that option as well. So I really encourage people whether you’re a consumer, you’re a health practitioner, you’re in the cannabis industry, this is a great way to get access to a broad spectrum of speakers right from the comfort of your home without any travel.

Matthew: Okay and could you give out the URL one more time?

Donna: Sure that is www.holisticcannabissummit.com. So that’s where the information will reside for the summit and we will have all of the speakers up there with the presentations they will be giving. So you will have a very good idea of what you can expect when you tune in.

Matthew: Okay and is there any other ways that you would like listeners to follow you online or get a hold of you?

Donna: Sure, you know, our website is www.holisticcannabisnetwork.com and that is where we are actually having our training modules reside. Very shortly there will be very detailed information about our webinar modules which when a practitioners completes that we will be offering a certification as Holistic Medical Cannabis Coach. And this is going to be a great business building tool for the practitioner. It’s a way for them to get a competitive edge in the marketplace, establish a point of difference for themselves within their community and really be able to enhance their practice, bring more clients in and obviously generate more revenue for themselves in their practice.

Matthew: Well Donna thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate your time.

Donna: Oh well this was delightful. Thanks for having me.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, simply send us an email at feedback at cannainsider.com. We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[2:28] – Donna talks about how she got into the cannabis space
[3:26] – What is the Holistic Cannabis network
[5:36] – People outside the insurance system seem more open to cannabis
[8:16] – Cannabis for ailments
[12:14] – Donna compares and contrasts integrative and traditional medicine
[15:16] – What is holding back healthcare from recommending cannabis?
[18:13] – Incorporating cannabis into your diet
[19:42] – Donna talks about their edible prototypes
[24:32] – Donna talks about a seminar she is conducting in early 2016
[27:10] – Contact details for Holistic Cannabis Network

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year? Find out with your free guide at: https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

The Next Big Thing in Cannabis – Terpenes – with Dr. Jeff Raber

dr jeffrey raber

Dr. Jeffrey Raber received his PhD in organic chemistry from The University of Southern California with an emphasis on developing new synthetic methodologies useful in scientific drug discovery and development efforts. In 2010 Dr. Raber founded The Werc Shop and independent laboratory focused on botanical analysis with a focus on serving the cannabis community.

In this interview Matthew Kind and Dr Raber discuss the best practices of cannabis testing as go over why understanding the cannabis plant’s terpene profile is key to creating a successful harvest and infused cannabis products.

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at cannainsider.com to get started. Now here’s your program.

As the market for cannabis grows savvy companies are looking for interesting ways to differentiate themselves including publicly showing testing results of their cannabis and also creating unique terpene aroma profiles that make their cannabis more desirable. To help explore these subjects I’ve invited Dr. Jeff Raber from the Werc Shop to the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Jeff.

Jeff: Thank you Matt.

Matthew: To give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Jeff: I am in Pasadena, California.

Matthew: Okay. How did you get started in the cannabis industry? What’s your background?

Jeff: Yeah my background I’m a trained Chemist, Bachelor’s in Bio-Chemistry, a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from USC in Southern California here. The way I got into it my brother was actually working at a construction company at the end of 2008 and he was approached too build out a store front dispensary in Southern California. When he came home and he said we were asked to build out a dispensary and of course the questions start to begin from there. What’s a dispensary and how does that all work and how can that be legal.

Matthew: Right.

Jeff: And that was kind of where we started. I don’t know if you should do that that doesn’t sound right, but then I did understand that there was Prop 215 and SB420 and looked into the Civics class again and there state’s rights and there should be a way to go ahead and do something of that type and help improve and change society in a better way. And in the beginning of 2009 when President Obama said we’re not going to prosecute individual patients we’re focusing on drug trafficking organizations, I thought that was a good chance that he was kind of speaking to patients like myself and others as well and saying if you guys want to do this the right way we’re going to see what happens with the experiments and that was kind of how we got started.

Matthew: And what’s the Werc Shop?

Jeff: It is a scientific organization though we didn’t want to call it the Cannabis Company or the Cannabis Lab or anything like that. We’re solely based on sustainability and anything renewable. So it’s not just one plant. It’s any plants that are of interest to us. We’re really just a bunch of broad-based scientists with an interest in Chemistry and sustainability.

Matthew: Okay and how do you approach testing cannabis that’s perhaps different than conventional testing?

Jeff: It’s pretty similar. We use the same types of equipment. The same equipment you’d find in a dietary supplement house or a pharmaceutical company and its again just another plant. I think a lot of people asked us that when we first started. Oh really you guys can test this stuff. We don’t need a magic machine. These are machines that are bought right off of the shelf basically. They are technical machines. You got to know how to run them the right way and certainly testing cannabis is very challenging because there are so many active ingredients and it is so complex in many different ways. But really it’s the same way that you would approach any other plant for the most part just like if it was Hopps or other types of products like that; Ginseng, things like that.

Matthew: And how is the industry as a whole doing in terms of testing? Are they falling short in any areas or leaping ahead in any areas?

Jeff: Well it’s still an evolving process I would say for that one. They’ve certainly come a long way so far. They were significantly short in the beginning. There were not many of us. I think a lot of people didn’t understand what might be proper equipment to analyze cannabinoids. What’s the best approach for some of those things but I think we now see that most everyone accepts liquid Chromatographs and being able to see both the neutral in cannabinoid assets is very important for a large number of reasons but we’re still falling significantly short in Pesticides.

I think that’s a very big growing issue and literally a growing issue when they put them on during the cultivation cycle that can be a problem, and I think the industry still has yet to set standards in that respects looking to the regulators to try and guide what you should test for. When a testing lab hears the word Pesticide up to thousands of chemicals can arise inside of a Chemist’s head in that respect. That’s pretty much impossible to look for. You need to understand a narrow list, you need to understand the limits that are required, and that’s what we’re looking to state regulators to try and set so that we can understand how to configure the right equipment and go after that the right way.

Matthew: So if you could wave a magic wand and before you buy let’s say an eighth of cannabis you want to buy for yourself personally. What would you like to see on the side of that package? What variables we like to see measured? What chemicals measured? What tests done? What would be ideal?

Jeff: Well knowing that it just has a label I’d like to understand that it had microbiological screening and contaminant screening for Pesticides or residual solvents so that you’d know that there was nothing in there that could harm you. And then in terms of what information about the particular product would be useful. I’d certainly like three to five well I’d say four to six maybe cannabinoids at the very least. More is always better but sometimes it’s hard to get them in a good Font size. There’s a lot of info that needs to go on the label and what we have done with strains has been with terpenes as well.

We tried to put on the top five or seven of those so that that can help guide people to selecting which product is right for them and I think that would be most ideal. More information is better than none so if you have a way of linking that to electronic results or someone can share those results with you at the point of purchase that would be fantastic.

Matthew: So you mentioned residual solvents there. Is there an acceptable level of residual solvents or does it have to be none where do you weigh in on that?

Jeff: No I think most states have set it at 500 parts per million combined for all the solvents that they require you to test. I’d prefer to see that be a little bit lower. I think 50 is doable maybe a 100 would be better, 500 just feels like a little bit too much like they are on the side of leaving a little bit more in there. When you’re talking about in relation things can be more potent. Certainly those types of things can also irritate the airways. So I would say less is better in that respect but they; it’s not completely none. It was none in California for quite a while but with the laws changing here I think we’ll see that we have to set limits much like every other state has done.

Matthew: And you also touched on microbiological testing. Can you delve into that a little bit more? What that is and how we should be thinking about it?

Jeff: Sure there’s usually classes of pathogens. Total aerobic counts those bacteria that love oxygen and live in that fashion and Terrabacteria is a class that includes E Coli, Salmonella, Pseudamona. Some of the really bad players and combine yeast and molds. So when you look at those three classes in a broad sense it’s a general picture of cleanliness and sterility and how well the plants were taken care of. More specifically you’d want to look at certain pathogenic type things like Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Listeria, and E Coli so that you’re sure none of those gather there even in a very, very small amount because people could get extremely sick from that.

Matthew: Okay and in the lab is there any kind of results that come up more often than you would’ve guessed that just keep on coming up?

Jeff: We see the E Coli ones yeah in that class the Antero class there not always E Coli but that class of bacteria comes up more often than I thought it would. You kind of expect the yeast and mold failures. There’s certainly ubiquitous molds and everything around and sometimes they can really take hold and kind of exceed the allowable limits, but dirty ones from dirty hands and things that you just didn’t wash or contaminated nutrients. You might think that the manure is really good to put onto to your plants but it’s not very good when it’s all over the plant in the end. I think we were most surprised at some of those and then when you’ve got one that fails everything and there’s just an entire bacterial party that’s certainly alarming.

Matthew: So controlling the inputs into your cultivation facility and also making sure there’s the best practices around hygiene sound like two ways to mitigate that risk?

Jeff: Exactly, yep, yep knowing exactly what you’re putting on there and just general sterility, being clean, washing your hands, wearing gloves, washing your shoes before you go in, or wearing certainly only clothes like certain dedicated clothes to go in and out of the cultivation facility is another good practice as well.

Matthew: What is cannabinoid profiling?

Jeff: Well that’s taking an analytical look at the cannabinoids present inside of the plant or another product. So they call it a profile it’s probably a better word than chromatogram. It’s a little shorter, a little easier to say but that’s how you’re going to try and look at the different types of cannabinoids that are present in your product.

Matthew: I have a question about terpenes but before we go into that subject can you just talk about what terpenes are a little bit more so we can understand that for people that might be new to that term?

Jeff: Sure, yeah. Terpenes are the component that smell. They’re volatile and those are the ones that you can smell. We often use the term aromatic not to be confused with a type of chemical but it says that they have a smell and they smell good with the nose. On top of their smell in terms of cannabis they are physiologically exceptionally important. They’re the components that play along with the cannabinoids to form what’s called the ‘entourage effect.’

While terpenes are very small hydrocarbon based molecules they are key components and building blocks for many things of the plant the plant uses terpenes to ward off pests or molds or different types of signaling mechanisms between themselves that we don’t quite understand fully today but they’re meant for protection purposes for the most part for themselves. When we consume them they actually help elicit the different effects that are predominant between different strain varieties and different types of plant products like that.

Matthew: Are you starting to see businesses think about their terpene profile and how to get the best aroma, fragrance so their product is more desirable?

Jeff: Certainly have seen a great big interest in that much more recently. We first started testing for terpenes back in 2011. We were the first commercial lab to do that and when we did it most people were like why are you doing that are you just trying to charge me for some other tests? I have no idea why I would want any of that which is kind of funny today when you look back and you see today a lot of people are very excited about it. We’re obviously having a conversation about it.

I think people have really kind of awakened to the idea that these are key components within the ‘entourage effect’ though they are the critical pieces that make cannabis very different than single molecule THC like Marinol. So it’s not just is there THC or CBD around but what else goes along with that from the plant so that we can have a much better interaction with our endocannabinoid system and I do see a lot of people paying attention to them nowadays. There are certainly cultivators that are trying to select breeds based on their terpene profiles.

There’s some trying to breed for them and certainly within other derivative products I think more and more people have become aware that forming a concentrate really strips out a lot of the terpenes. It can be a very different product and when you’re done processing that into THC or CBD such that it’s no longer representative of what was in the plant to begin with and now you have to figure out how can I get those things back in there.

Matthew: Great point and how do I get those things back in there and do I even need to use the original terpenes that were part of that cannabis plant? Maybe I can create a designer terpene profile. Incorporate some plants that aren’t even cannabis that maybe we want the aroma from lemon or combined with a different terpene profile of a different plant entirely.

Jeff: I would say those things are certainly possible. From our perspective a molecule is a molecule so you mentioned lemon. One of the popular terpenes inside of citrus fruits is limamine. So if I captured limamine at very high purity from the orange industry, orange juice industry, that’s the same molecule as the limamine that cannabis produces. So a molecule is a molecule and if I have that limamine I understand the product purity of that type I could use that in the same fashion that the cannabis plant would to create my concentrate product.

Matthew: So people aren’t complaining? Your customers aren’t complaining about the terpene tests anymore but they’re just really getting started in terms of customizing that terpene profile or are there any leaders that are already pretty far ahead in this game that have already created kind of a custom terpene profile on a finished cannabis product whether it be edible, drink, or some other kind of infused product salve or capsule?

Jeff: Sure I think there are some that are recognizing they are important parts of effects and also could be imparted in flavor if it’s a tincture or something of that type. Certainly some epileptic patients their parents have seen benefits with the tincture products where terpenes have been infused and typically asked if it could taste a little better that would be great so that their children are more willing to consume their medicine as opposed to not.

There’s also I’d say a lot of people are recognizing that that can standardize effects can produce desirable product in terms of vaporizing with vapor cartridges and electronic cigarette cartridges and we have seen some people pick standardized products so that patients can rely on them and are starting to baste those based on well engineered strains that they’ve had for a long time that they may have cultivated or bread themselves and found that a lot of people were benefiting from as well.

Matthew: So aside from an aromatic effect or a fragrance with these terpenes do you think there is a medicinal benefit as well from the terpenes? They have more than one thing that they do. There not just fragrant they also.

Jeff: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I mean we definitely have a big interest in terpenes and provide those types of compositions for infusion into other products and our goal in doing that was for the effects. It was not for the flavors or the taste or anything of that type. It’s so that you can standardize the effects. People can understand what types of products are best for them when it’s made in a reproducible and standardized fashion it’s consistent so that as a patient you can rely on that same type of effect time and time again. And it’s almost like the taste is an afterthought. It’s a little bit extra add on to that but there is an element that the way your mind and your nose are connected there is a scent memory and if things taste good and you feel good you might just smell that scent again and really kind of elicit some of that same feeling. There is a very interesting connection there on how we associate things with smells. It’s a very powerful memory trigger.

Matthew: Yeah.

Jeff: And if you are starting to feel better than that can be a really good thing and then there’s ways that you could play with putting that scent around in a lot of different fashions to just kind of elicit some of that mental I feel better effect which may be even advantageous in a number of ways, but terpenes themselves do have their own physiological impacts. There are a couple of different dietary supplement type products based solely on terpenes out of Europe and there’s certainly a number of components inside of a lot of different plants that we know are medicinal. Terpenes are definitely a very physiologically active class of compounds.

Matthew: You mentioned vape pens there. The market continues to spend a lot of money on this segment because vape pens are so convenient and discrete, but what about some of the solvents that are in vape pens and propylene glycol in particular. How do you feel about that and how do you feel the market might be turning away or to other alternatives?
Jeff: Yeah we’ve seen, yeah there’s definitely a concern there. I would say there has been studies done in the electronic cigarette market when you start to get heating elements they get really hot. Some of those diluting components they can turn into harmful components that you wouldn’t want to consume in any rate, let alone via inhalation. (PG) Peg we’ve seen the use of MCT which really kind of concerns us a great deal. Medium-chain triglycerides are fats and one thing that you can get from excessive fats is Lipid pneumonia where your lungs can’t clear them and you’re actually drowning in fat. So it typically happens with larger chain-fats but whether it could happen with large amounts of fats from cannabis or even MCT type oils remains to be seen.

So some of those are venturing into unknown territories and you might not know some things are not good until it’s too late. Others I think they’ve been around and been inhaled by many people for quite a while but things like PG can be irritants. They can irritate a lot of people’s airways. Some can develop allergies to those. Some people have no problems with them whatsoever and I’d say it’s a difficult choice to inform yourself with. There is a number of years worth of data in at least the E cigarette market about some of those but a lot of people are kind of trying to move away from that and understanding how they could utilize just the plant components to make sure that that would be a much more softer, I would say, approach. Things that you’ve already been haling being used is a much better approach as to adding things that you don’t know about.

Matthew: So it is becoming more popular to add medium-chain triglycerides or coconut oil and things like this as a way to make cannabis oil more viscous and easiest to vape but you’re saying that might not be the best solution?

Jeff: Correct. It would be less viscous, too viscous is why they don’t work in the cartridge so they want to thin them out. We can use the thinning out to make that standardized number so you can say every cartridge has a certain amount of cannabinoids in there which is certainly very advantageous from a standardization perspective but when you start to pick those types of pollutants you’re just not sure what the potential health affects maybe in that respect too.

Matthew: Okay so apart from propylene glycol which is used to cut cannabis oil or to make it less viscous and coconut oil or MCT oil is there anything else that appears like it might be safer or a better solvent to add to the cannabis oil?

Jeff: The other choice people use is Peg and I don’t know if one of those three is better than the other. I think the search is on to try and find other solutions that maybe be related to the plant and really figure out those types of components are a much better approach and solution to those who are concerned about what they’re inhaling. There may be no adverse effects from (PG) Peg or MCT at all we just don’t know so it’s kind of a hard one.

I don’t want to act like people should be scared of those we’re just not quite sure. I think what you are sure of is if you turn the battery power really high where you’ve got the voltages set high and using them for a while you can see those types of components start to break down and form other decomposition products that may be harmful like formaldehyde in a very trace amount. That is certainly a concern. I don’t think anybody wants to be inhaling that but you could also say even in an all natural cartridge if I do the same type of voltage am I turning the cannabinoids or other components into things that I don’t want either much like the combustion product.

So it’s a little marriage of kind of like software and hardware. So if the hardware works really well and it’s not getting too hot then I can use pretty much a broad based software and it’s going to work pretty well and I’m going to consume what I think I’m going to consume and not some sort of other derivative product that forms from overheating.

Matthew: Turning to CBD what are your feelings about extracting CBD from hemp versus cannabis I mean we’re talking about plants that are essentially under the same umbrella but there seems to be a big difference of opinion in terms of CBD coming from cannabis versus hemp. What are your thoughts there?

Jeff: I always find this one interesting. I mean hemp is cannabis.

Matthew: Right.

Jeff: Right so we start from the same plant Cannabis sativa L and underneath that fortunately for us I guess you could say the law has defined two parts of the plant in two different ways. So the flowering props and the foliage are called marijuana and the rest of the plant the stalk, stems, roots, seeds, and oils pressed from those parts are determined to be hemp. When it’s from that part of the plant and it has less than 23% THC. You kind of need both and really there’s next to no cannabinoids in the hemp parts of the cannabis plant.

So those who are saying that deriving CBD from hemp I really questioning exactly which part of the plant they’re deriving CBD from. I think some of the arguments get a little bit confused when they say CBD from hemp is not the same as CBD from marijuana. CBD is still CBD. I think the point in that is what else is going along with it. So do I have other whole plant components are there things like terpenes? Are there other minor cannabinoids, other fat components that may be going along with it in terms of an extraction?

So we are not really good fully well characterizing all of the concentrate components or the derivative components when we go and process the plant material to see how similar that is to the actual flower material that we started with and how is that compared to what people have been inhaling before is the other question. So I think the confusion comes from if they have really high purity CBD, say it’s like 99% pure or greater, and we have seen some of these products around. Well now that’s a single molecule right type of therapeutic, very different than a whole plant or broad based botanical profile type product where you might add CBD at 50% purity with the whole bunch of other minor cannabinoids, fats and waxes and it’s from say a CO2 extract for example.

There have been studies that have shown the single molecule CBD has an exceptionally narrow therapeutic window and it can be very difficult to dose that properly and it’s not predictable, if you take more you don’t get more of a response you might actually get a very different response in that respect. Whole like broad based botanical profiled CBD, whole plant people typically call it which I should clarify as well, that type of CBD product seems to have a much more linear predictable profile. So if I take a small amount I get a response. If I take a larger amount I get that response for a longer period of time.

That’s demonstrating how unique a broader based profile concentrate can be in terms of interacting with the endocannabinoid system. One single molecule with that system does not seem to elicit the best response. That’s why people don’t enjoy or find relief from Marinol at the same rate that they do from consuming via vaporization or something with all the plant components, whole plant cannabis. When I say whole plant cannabis it’s not that I took the whole plant and threw it in my extractor, eliminated everything and got a high purity CBD or THC product it’s when you’re trying to keep as many of the components that you can understand are present on the flower inside of the derivative product as well.

Matthew: We had a really big crackdown going on right now in Colorado over the last few months in terms of cultivators getting busted for using certain pesticides and fungicides in particular Eagle 20. How can cultivators raise healthier plants so they don’t have to treat their plants with pesticides and fungicides in a way that might be dangerous for their customers?

Jeff: Sometimes that can come down to the strain selection. So some strains are just much more robust and resistant to certain types of pests that’s because of their terpene profile predominantly. Your cultivation methods and practices certainly how built your room, how clean you keep your room, how sterile it is going in and out of that. Integrated pest management is a pretty viable approach.

There are some nicer more natural softer approaches that you can use to mitigate pests and you can even cultivate with other plants around that would actually cause a synergistic terpene mesh basically that would keep other pests away as well like growing with garlic and other things can actually be beneficial in that respect as well.

Matthew: Interesting. So if you were to create a product and you really wanted the chemistry in the terpene profile and everything to be just right what would your starting point be? How would you be thinking about it because we have a lot of entrepreneurs out there who are creating infused products or they’ve already created some or they’re thinking about it? What would your suggestions be for them in terms of making sure that they have products that test well?

Jeff: I’d probably call those guys at the Werc Shop. Yeah I think you really need to understand that you’re going to work with a good competent analytical lab and that can be an exceptional challenge. So just producing numbers doesn’t mean that the numbers are always right or that they fully understand what’s going on in that respect and I think that you do have to drive towards lots and lots of testing when you’re going to manufacture or produce a product so that you can understand the composition that’s there and what’s present or not present.

And what you’ll find is that it’s exceptionally difficult to try and standardize your process when you start to look at more than one component. It can become a very big challenge and then there has to be other ways that you might want to try to approach how can you get that reproducible profile inside of a product?

Matthew: Jeff as we close can you tell listeners how they can learn more about the Werc Shop?

Jeff: Certainly you can visit our website at www.thewercshop.com. And I think that there’s a great deal of information there. We do plan on updating that website in the not too distant future but you can certainly contact us or learn more about us on my website.

Matthew: Jeff thanks for being on CannaInsider today we really appreciate it.

Jeff: You’re welcome. Thank you for the opportunity Matt. I appreciate that too.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, simply send us an email at feedback at cannainsider.com. We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?  Find out with your free guide at: https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

Key Takeaways:

[1:42] – Jeff talks about how he got started in the cannabis industry
[3:06] – What is the WercShop
[3:37] – Jeff talks about testing cannabis
[4:32] – Jeff explains how the industry is doing in the testing space
[7:14] – Is there an acceptable level of residual solvents
[8:03] – Jeff explains microbiological testing
[10:09] – What is cannabinoid profiling
[10:41] – Jeff explains terpenes
[14:52] – Moving to creating terpene profiles
[16:07] – Do terpenes have a medicinal benefit
[18:09] – Jeff talks about vape pens
[22:46] – Jeff gives his thought on extracting CBD from cannabis vs. hemp
[26:36] – Jeff explains how cultivators can raise their plants without harmful pesticides
[28:51] – Contact details for the WercShop

Bringing Culinary Expertise to Edibles with Jamie Lewis

Jamie Lewis has a deep history with cannabis. After helping famed dispensary,Good Chemistry get up and running she went back to her culinary roots and started creating sweet and savory edibles and launched a company called Mountain Medicine. Learn more what it takes to run a winning edibles company in this interview.

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at cannainsider.com to get started. Now here’s your program.

As the cannabis consumer continues to spend more dollars on cannabis infused products that market is growing large enough to allow for segmentation and specialization. Foodies are gravitating to cannabis edibles and infused products that resonate with their values and creative expression. Edible artisans with backgrounds in culinary arts are taking their formal training and applying it to the cannabis industry. One such artisan is Jaime Lewis of Mountain Meds, and I’m pleased to have her on the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Jaime.

Jaime: Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here.

Matthew: Jaime to give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Jaime: In the world today I am in lovely Denver, Colorado embracing this beautiful fall weather that has come in.

Matthew: Yes it has come in with a hurry.

Jaime: Yes I’m exited actually. Not so much for winter, but I’m going to enjoy fall while it’s here.

Matthew: Pumpkin spice lattes?

Jaime: That’s right, that’s right.

Matthew: Well tell us what is Mountain Meds.

Jaime: Ah Mountain Medicine is a marijuana infused products manufacturer. It’s located in Denver, Colorado. We’ve been in business for over five years now. We just had our five year anniversary this month and we produce edibles. We are currently in 120 locations in Colorado. The logo for my company is the mountain goat, and the reason for that is that it symbolizes the industry in cannabis in my mind. This animal is extremely agile and strong and maintains great traction. And it sometimes survives in the harshest of environments which can be very similar to the ever emerging industry that we are currently operating in with constant changing regulations and trying to change the conversation of cannabis as a whole. So that’s Mountain Medicine in a snapshot. We serve edibles anywhere from chocolates to baked goods, and we’re about ready to launch a whole new line of products with beverages and healthier options for the cannabis consumer.

Matthew: And how did you get started in the culinary world and then intersect with the cannabis world with your culinary skills?

Jaime: Well I went to culinary school in San Francisco to the Culinary Institute. I wanted to be a James Beard rock star. That’s like the Academy Awards for chiefs in our world, and that was my path. I was extremely driven. I worked in some really high end restaurants in San Francisco under some amazing chefs. It’s where I got my epic work ethic just working in kitchen. It can be quite grueling and very brutal, but that was my role. Originally I set out to do all things wonderful in the culinary world.

And about ten years ago I got involved with a co-op in California who was looking to construct edibles. The gentleman who worked for the co-op his father was HIV positive. So he wanted a product that his father could use. His father was at a point where he could no longer smoke the medicine to get it in his system. So from there I began extracting and creating various recipes that were very helpful for him and started working with other members in that community in San Francisco and found it to be extremely fulfilling for me. Of course back ten years ago that was pre-marijuana industry so there wasn’t a lot to go off of in terms of simple recipes or extraction processes. So there was a bit of a learning curve and some misbatched brownies here and there, but overall what I got from it was a firm understanding of how helpful cannabis can actually be to patients, and there began my launch over into the cannabis industry. From there I came to Colorado about five years ago, paying close attention to the regulations that were about to come online and decided to close down in California and go all in in Colorado.

Matthew: Now you’re deeply involved in the cannabis in Denver. For many that aren’t familiar what that might look like and how it’s evolving, how would you describe it?

Jaime: Ah it’s been amazing actually. I was at a point… I came on at a point early on where we were just about ready to help pass House Bill 1284 which governs us under the medical marijuana. So I was already actively involved legislatively with that process. Was involved with the Trade Association. We then started our own Trade Association, The Cannabis Business Alliance, which actually has a strong edibles advisory council, and I currently sit on the chair of that association. But we were playing so well with legislatively over the medical marijuana process and then I was actively involved during the passing of Amendment 64. So I got a real hands-on experience in terms of what it means to do the process from legislatively all the way down to the rule making process with the Department of Revenue in terms of setting up two separate industries; one for the medical and for the recreational.

And the great thing about Colorado is you know we were the first obviously, but with that we were able to just have just this access to such a great community of entrepreneurs that came in early on. So we are a tight nit community in the cannabis industry as a whole, but in Colorado especially just because we’ve been established a little bit longer than some of the newer states that have come online.

Matthew: And how would you describe some of Mountain Medicine’s edibles so we get a sense of what they’re like?

Jaime: Yeah my company produces products that are on the high-end side. With my culinary background my recipes are really honed in. I specialize in baked goods as well as high-end chocolates and confections. I’m getting ready to launch a whole new line of products; some beverages. I have a coffee drink coming out. I also have some honey that’s coming out that I’m really excited about. It’s locally sourced. I try to pull in that sort of sustainability, experience that I had in California and San Francisco. You know I was in the industry right about the time that Alice Water blew up. So the concept of sourcing everything within 100 miles, I really try to apply that to Mountain Medicine as best I can to get those local products. I try not to use refined sugar, and I’m very cautious about where I source my trim making sure that it’s grown properly, working with the growers to get that right precision of THC to CBD for certain products as well as just having my hand in the mix to make sure that everything from the top down is of quality going into the Mountain Medicine products.

Matthew: Now you said you have a coffee product coming out. Is that going to be a hybrid, a sativa or indica? I’m curious because I’ve often wondered what it would be like to combine a coffee drink with like a strong sativa that has an uplifting type of feeling to begin with and combine it with a coffee makes it a little more fast acting. I’m just trying to understand what’s possible in there in the coffee arena.

Jaime: That’s a really good question. Our R&D department worked really hard on this process because of that and a few other things too. We’re using a different extraction process in this and we wanted to make sure that emulsified correctly. Coffee it helps activate the THC in your system so we were very sensitive to using a hybrid. So it’s a 60/40 split on the sativa side and that sativa is a hybrid as well. So it’s got a nice uplifting feel to it, but it doesn’t add to the intensity that the caffeine will give you as well. And it’s going to be launched on the recreational side so my dosage is limited to that 10mg. So it’s just a little 10mg shooter that you can actually add to coffee or you can just drink it as a standalone beverage, either hot or cold.

Matthew: Okay. And so I’m trying to understand. Your background is with the dispensary Good Chemistry is that correct? I know you guys are related somehow or you worked there. Can you give us a little background there?

Jaime: Absolutely. I was one of the beginning members of the team in Colorado when they launched five years ago. So I played a very active role in setting up the operations from everything from the cultivation to the dispensary as well as the MIPS which is Mountain Medicine, it was sort of a sister company of Good Chemistry all owned under the one entity. So I worked in the very beginning stages getting everything up and running. I did everything from helping to hang the curtains in the dispensary to designing the dispensary as well as the inventory tracking systems. As you can imagine coming into a new industry and trying to set it up as well as trying to set up your company can be quite a mission, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

So I often explain that I went to the Harvard Business School for Marijuana. I got all the aspects of it, and I worked with a great team at Good Chemistry. They were amazing people to work with. I learned a lot, and in January of this year I decided to go out on my own, purchase Mountain Medicine as my own company and separate myself from Good Chemistry. I had taken Good Chemistry to amazing places and just kind of wanted a new challenge so to speak and to start something all on my own. So for good or bad I made the choice and here me and the billy goat hang and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do for it very similar to what I did for Good Chemistry.

Matthew: Great. Now do you feel like your background with dispensaries and Good Chemistry kind of puts you in their shoes when you’re approaching a dispensary that you want to carry medicine. How do you approach them differently than maybe someone else without a background in cannabis?

Jaime: Oh absolutely. That’s a great question. In Colorado it’s a very competitive environment that we dwell in. There are over 500 dispensaries in the state. The population of the state total is somewhere around three million. So that gives you an idea, or the Denver metro area is in the three million. So it gives you an idea of the small populates state with a large density of dispensaries and edibles manufacturers as well. So it’s an extremely competitive environment which actually makes it a very well educated environment. So I find the bud tenders and the dispensary owners to be extremely educated. So I approach them as business owners having the same knowledge that I have.

The great thing that I learned at Good Chemistry was having that dispensary bud tender to customer/patient relationship to really try to hone in on what markets best to the consumer and the patient. How to get the consumer or patient interested in edibles as a whole because some of them may not be familiar with usage as well as it just being a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis. So I think Good Chemistry was a huge lay out for me in that realm, and then also just having a well-knowledged industry that I work with makes it really easy for me because there’s not that sort of base 101 education that has to start.

Matthew: Yeah. You mentioned a little bit about the regulations you have to deal and you have to be adaptable like a mountain goat.

Jaime: Yes.

Matthew: There’s a dispensary here local in Boulder that’s really good and really popular and they made their own line of edibles and they were selling really well, but I talked to the Operations Manger and she said we just can’t keep up with the landscape of all the regulations around edibles. So we’re just going to buy wholesale from X, Y and Z. And I thought that was really crazy because hey, here they are people asking for edibles that they made, they were good, they were selling, but there was just too much to keep up with. Can you talk a little bit about what that means like keeping up with all these regulations and what that feels like?

Jaime: It’s constant. I mean I really channel my muse, the billy goat, when it comes time to talk about packaging because I have to be in a very centered place. It’s a constantly moving target. I mean just this last session there was new legislation that was passed that put it in the department’s hands, the Marijuana Enforcement Division that governs us in the State of Colorado. Some oversight to put regulations in place to further restrict the way edibles are packaged and sold, and it’s a constantly changing conversation in the sense that when you buy packaging at the beginning of January of this year, literally less than a year ago, my packaging will become obsolete in about six months. And from a manufacturer’s perspective we purchase our packaging in two year blocks as most manufacturers do in the sense that when you buy it in bigger bulks you’re able to get a discounted rate. So when you can’t do that you have to pay absorbent amounts in cost just in shipping alone to have smaller freights dropped just to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that you’re not sitting on additional packaging.

So the packaging requirements I find to be the most difficult and extremely helpful to the consumer all of the regulatory language that is on there, but the one piece is is that they just keep adding to the regulatory language without giving us any time to see if it actually works, and that seems to be the biggest things that we have to go through is that you know we just passed legislation two years ago. We don’t have enough data and statistics to show if that works before we seem to be changing it almost every year with different stuff coming down the pipe. It’s interesting and you know we’re a lower marginal product that’s sold. I mean flower obviously is one of the highest marginal items as well as extractions. And when you come to edibles we’re sold on the cheaper side on the medical marijuana side with a heavy amount of milligrams in it. We have really tight margins to go through. It is literally just like running a small kitchen and those are very competitive and very rough to keep going.

Matthew: So you really have to be a Swiss army knife here. You’ve got to have a really good sense of what the marketplace wants in terms of the edibles at the right milligram level. You also have to be a packaging expert and a regulatory expert and then an operations expert. Are those kind of big categories you would say?

Jaime: Absolutely. I say it all the time. I’m a lab. I’m a kitchen. I’m a manufacturing plant. I’m a distributer. I’m responsible for the deliveries of my own products. We have a sales department. We have an R&D department. There are a lot of moving pieces to being in the edibles business, and moving forward rightfully so. I mean I do appreciate and understand the regulations. The difficult part is just to keep your numbers really tight and stay afloat in the first few years so that you can get through this sort ever changing regulations. As the dust settles I do think, I’m hoping anyways, I hope when the dust settles it will be a much easier process to move through, but I mean it’s only been less than two years in terms of it being a regulated product sold recreationally. So I will say overall for the past two years for all the hiccups. I am still very grateful to be in this industry and wake up happy almost every morning. So for that I’m blessed.

Matthew: Good. Now you talked a little bit about sourcing ingredients when possible in 100 mile radius. How else do you approach ingredients? I mean when you’re creating a new edible do you just have something that pops into your mind. Are you saying hey, something with caramel. I mean how does the whole process start when you’re creating an edible that you think will do well?

Jaime: Well unfortunately I have a chef’s mentality. So I think about it in terms of what looks lovely and delicious and good in my mind and then put that to market. There are a lot of different moving pieces to that. So I actually have an R&D department and I have a gentleman that runs it. I come up with the ideas and he figures out how to streamline it into mass production. And it’s actually a really beautiful system that we have. I don’t launch a product often. When I do it’s usually, this will be the first time that I’ve launched new products in almost two and a half years.

And we developed these products over a period of nine months. So there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into it to fine tuning the recipe, to making sure that the THC and CBD and cannabinoid profiles are broken down correctly and we’re getting consistent test results as well as making sure that this product can be packaged. You know it’s very wonderful to think about a beautiful, you know, cupcake but when it comes time to figure out how to get that into child resistant packaging out goes the cupcake because it’s virtually impossible. So my R&D guy thinks along those lines. He thinks packaging first. I think product first and we somehow meet in the middle. It’s just a perfect synergy that we have. He’s my rational R&D guy, I’m the creative one.

Matthew: Do you feel limited at all about the milligram dosage limits on the rec side? Do you feel like that limits your creativity or ability to do things? How do you feel about that in general?

Jaime: No, I actually embrace the limited milligram dosage on the recreational side specifically just because this product has been on the medical side for so long those patients have an understanding of milligram dosage and all of that. And then there’s also the process in place for recreational where you’re dealing with a lot of novice consumers, and with those novice consumers you really have to educate them on going slow and low and making sure that they have a really good experience on our products otherwise they won’t come back to enjoy them again. So I completely support a low milligram dosage on the recreational side. I do not support it on the medical side for various reasons and one being mainly that we’re talking about a medical marijuana patient who’s trying to manage an extreme amount of pain or needs a lot of this medicine in their system constantly. So it’s not as necessary on the medical side, but on the recreational side I find it to be very helpful and a good way to message to the country as well in terms of how this product can be launched safely and effectively.

Matthew: Great point. And to give listeners a sense of context here 10mg is the limit per edible in the recreational side of a dispensary, but a medical dispensary it could be ten times that or you know 50 times that. It can be, I don’t know, is there a limit on the medical side, I don’t know.

Jaime: There isn’t. Yeah there’s no limit. And there is a limit on the rec side is 100mg totally but they have to be individually packaged in 10mg dosage. And on the medical side, again which I think is very important, is that there is no limit and rightfully so. And generally in my business I sell anywhere between 100 to 250mg. I don’t go above that and it intends to be around that 100mg sweet spot that seems to be what consumers and patients seem to purchase the most of.

Matthew: So you have a fun way of categorizing the dosage that relates back to the mountain goat. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jaime: I’m glad you picked up on that actually. I thought it was very creative. Obviously being in a state that is now recreational where we don’t just have to market to the medical marijuana patient we were giving a great opportunity to market and brand a little bigger than we ever thought we could. And with that I wanted to have some fun with the mountain goat but also have it a fun, educational sort of jumping off point. So I categorized my milligram dosages into four categories. It’s the rookie grazer, the veteran and then the old goat. And it goes along the line if you’re a rookie grazer you should start around that 5mg, wait 2 hours and see how you feel. If you’re a veteran you can jump up to that 10 to 15 even possibly 20 spot. And then when you get to the old goat we suggest a 20 to 25mg dosage. So it’s just a fun way to educate the consumer on milligram dosage. I also use a pretty crafty tagline that I like very much that’s the “Don’t Graze and Drive” just to educate everybody to make sure that they consume these products safely and don’t get behind the wheel. So I like to plug the mountain goat in wherever I can as an educational tool.

Matthew: Now which of your edibles is the most popular? What sells the best?

Jaime: Ah the most popular product that I have is the chocolate dipped pretzel. That one has just been a staple of ours for quite some time. It’s dipped with a dark Belgian chocolate that we outsource as well as there’s something to be said about that sweet and savory element. So that is my number one product on the medical side. And on the recreational side I offer four product lines right now and they’re the high-end chocolates and they’re little chocolate discs. And my popular on that side too is that sea salt chocolate. So I have salty and savory on both sides sort of winning out all the other edibles.

Matthew: Yeah and you got some crunch there. I feel like if something has a fat flavor, sweet, salty and crunch it’s like there’s a tractor beam pulling me in and I can’t. There’s no way.

Jaime: And that right there is how I have my creative process. What tastes good, feels good. I mean so it’s really thinking about a fat kid, what you like to eat I think.

Matthew: How have you seen edibles evolve over the last couple of years and where you do you think they’re going in the next couple years? I mean we touched on packaging a little bit, but edibles themselves how do you feel like it’s where you were and where you’re going to? How is it going to contrast?

Jaime: Well I think it’s a really exciting time to be in this industry overall. Obviously it is growing all the time. So being involved in it on the ground up is very exciting in any of these industries, but the edibles especially because what we’ve noticed in the State of Colorado is there’s an increase in sales recreationally speaking on edible consumption where flower and cannabis smoking on the medical side is still a very popular item for the patient to consume. So what we’ve seen is that the novice consumer and the recreational consumer wants to eat the product rather than smoke, and I think that opens us wide open to an untapped market that maybe never has had access to this or even though about consuming it. So I see the market growing for edibles manufacturers and demand. And I think that’s a pretty exciting for us at Mountain Medicine. In the next couple of years I think it will just grow even more. I think that the science behind it will help us also and I think we’ll see more tightly controlled, extracted cannabinoid edibles coming out on the market here soon if not already and pretty genius branding the marketing coming out too just from what I’ve seen in Colorado.

Matthew: Do you mean the ability to dial in at a more surgical level, maybe the terpene profile and the strains and so forth combining into a unique blend for your product?

Jaime: Absolutely and I explained this like ten years ago because I was involved in this industry when it was just a movement, before it was even an industry. We were all fighting for something we believed in. And so much of that has changed. In the beginning stages I mean we couldn’t even get people to talk with us you know attorneys, accountants, you know nobody would touch us. Now that it’s become a viable industry we have access to so many intelligent people that do this in other industries. So I’m really excited about being able to tap into that.

As you know I sit on NCIA which is the National Cannabis Industry Association and I’m also the chair of it and we have been having these conversations about setting forth industry standards and testing standards and moving forward with this sort of overall standards and with that we’ve been approached by various companies to how they can help us; from testing companies to manufacturing companies. So I think just having access to smarter people than ourselves or people that we weren’t actually able to have access to in the past, they’re going to help us pull this industry even further along than it already is and the cannabinoids and the terpenes, with the sciences that can come on and the extraction operators. I mean I think it will be very exciting actually.

Matthew: Now earlier this year in June you were at the ArcView Group Cannabis Investor Forum in Denver and you hosted a very popular cannabis cooking class for ArcView members. Can you tell us about that?

Jaime: I can. I was really excited because I thought I was actually going to do the cooking demo, but instead I actually gave a really amazing sort of open forum conversation around a light explanation about what edibles look like in the State of Colorado. And I went from everything from compliance to packaging and a lot of what I took from ArcView I incorporated into my conversation with people that joined us around the marketing and branding of products because as we know that’s really become a big thing that a lot of companies are paying attention to. So we focused a lot on how companies are marketing and branding in the edibles realm and how they’re marketing and branding in the extraction world as well to really get their products out to the consumer. And a lot of those questions that came from the crowd were around that in terms of how companies were branding, how companies were marketing and packing requirements and restrictions were also a hot topic as well.

Matthew: Jaime, how can listeners learn more about Mountain Medicine and find your edibles?

Jaime: Well if they are over the age of 21 in the State of Colorado they should most certainly go to my website which is www.mountainmeds.com and from there we have a location on the webpage that shows you all the 120 dispensaries that we are located in to get access to the recreational. And if they are a medical marijuana patient, they can do the exact same thing on the website to find out where our products are sold.

Matthew: Great. Well Jaime thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today and educating us. We really appreciate it.

Jaime: Thank you very much for your time. Always a pleasure.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, simply send us an email at feedback at cannainsider.com We would love to hear from you.
Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[2:07] – What is Mountain Meds
[3:16] – Jaime explains how she got started in the culinary and cannabis space
[5:20] – Jaime talks about the evolving cannabis market in Denver
[6:40] – Jaime talks about some of the edibles at Mountain Medicine
[9:09] – Jaime discusses working with Good Chemistry
[10:50] – Approaching dispensaries about marketing her brand
[12:51] – Keeping up with the regulations around edibles
[16:33] – Creating a new edible
[20:02] – Jaime talks about how she categorizes dosages
[21:18] – Jaime talks about her most popular edibles
[22:36] – The evolution and future of edibles
[25:24] – Hosting a cooking class at the ArcView Group Cannabis Investor Forum
[26:25] – Mountain Medicine’s contact details

Learn more at:
http://mtnmeds.com/

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?
Find out with your free guide at: https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

The Pot Baron of Colorado, Andy Williams

Andy Williams, CEO of Medicine Man Denver. Pot Barons of Colorado

Andy Williams, founder and CEO of Medicine Man Denver and co-star of MSNBC’s The Pot Barons of Colorado shares his insight into being a cannabis entrepreneur, raising money, creating an innovative grow and pivoting to provide what customers want. Learn more about Medicine Man: http://www.medicinemandenver.com/

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at cannainsider.com to get started. Now here’s your program.

In Denver, Colorado there are more cannabis dispensaries than Starbucks Coffee Shops. In other words it is a competitive market. However, some cultivators and dispensary owners stand out in their ability to run thriving businesses despite the competition. To help us understand how to run a successful cultivation and dispensary operation in this competitive Denver environment I’ve invited Andy Williams of Medicine Man on CannaInsider today. Welcome to CannaInsider Andy.

Andy: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

Matthew: Andy I mentioned Denver are you in Denver today? I just want to give the listeners a sense of geography?

Andy: Yeah I am in Denver today. I have two stores here one in Denver, one in ([1:48] unclear) and my cultivation is in Denver and then I also just started a new manufacturing product company and that’s also in Denver I have a building there.

Matthew: Great, great. How did you get started in the cannabis industry? What’s your background?

Andy: Well my background I’m an industrial engineer and I’ve been in manufacturing in the corporate world for the majority of my adult life. But I’ve always also been an entrepreneur and I’ve had multiple businesses over the years that have failed to one degree or another but it’s a real passion of mine. I’ve always wanted to have my own successful company. It’s been a lifelong not just goal but activity of mine and my brother is also a lifelong entrepreneur and he had a successful tile business. He also grew as a caregiver in his basement under the Colorado laws and was actually making very good money doing that. And when the Ogden letter came out in October of 2009 I went to him and I saw what he was doing and he’s a great grower and a great inventor, and I said let’s go big with it and he quickly agreed. So that’s how we got into the cannabis business.

Matthew: Oh okay. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on a tour of your facility and dispensary and it’s very extensive to say the least. Can you walk us through your grow room so listeners can get a picture of the scale and technology involved?

Andy: Sure you know when you’re in our facility I don’t know how recent you’ve been there Matt but we have 40,000 square feet in one building. We started with half of that and it’s kind of a museum of our company’s history in that when we first started we didn’t have a lot of money to work with and we did what we had to do in order just to get a crop out and while you won’t see the early, early stuff you’ll see some of the early stuff still in use in our facility.

Then over time as we got more money we just built out as we learned things improved, processes changed, techniques changed, and you see that growth through our facility until the newest side which is 20,000 square feet all by itself. It looks like a lab. It’s white, it’s bright. It’s extraordinarily clean, it’s very aseptic and we have rooms ranging from of course our clone rooms where are babies are which are relatively small. They contain lots of little plants growing. And then we have two large vegetative rooms that are about 100 feet x 18 feet x 10 feet and both of them contain all of the vegetative plants and mothers, and then we have 18 flower rooms as well that range, most of them are about 75 feet x 18 feet x 10 feet. And then of course we have our cure rooms which the finished products are in and our trim room as well. So that’s what the cultivation facility looks like. There’s a lot of rooms within a large warehouse space.

Matthew: So Andy do you break everything down into smaller rooms to mitigate risks or is that too provide what you’re doing by function or what’s the strategy there?

Andy: There’s multiple reasons for that. One is power. I only have so much power in the building. Right now we have about 5,000 amps in our facility. In order to maximize how many lights that I can build in that facility I have to restrict whether they can come on and off at any certain time. So I have big switch boxes that throws power from one side of a room to another side of a room every 12 hours and because of that I can have twice as many flower lights in my facility than I would be allowed otherwise. So that’s one reason just capacity.

And then another is that control. So if you have a room and you just have a big warehouse full of plants that are growing; one you have to have a large crop all at once which is not very good when it comes to harvest time. But also the dangers of pests and mold and mildews and what not would flow throughout the entire facility all at once. So those rooms do mitigate bad things that might happen to your crops as well. So with that those are the reasons that we do it. Oh and one more we also control the climate that way. So having nice; you know we try to control the climate in the entire warehouse it would be much more difficult than controlling climate in our facility.

Matthew: Yeah speaking of the climate control I noticed it looks really extensive. Something like you’d see at NASA or something. There’s these big columns it looked like it might be a German name on the climate control. Can you give us a little summary of what’s going on there?

Andy: Yeah as an industrial engineer and in manufacturing I know that to have a consistent and high quality output you need to control the inputs into our process and we also need to control the environment and the climate as well as these plants are growing. And so what we’ve chosen is what’s called a STULZ unit and STULZ is a manufacturer of what are called CRAC units and a CRAC unit C-R-A-C is computer room atmosphere control and these units are typically used to control the atmosphere in data centers.

What benefit it offers us is that it controls temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels and is completely programmable. So that we can tell it we want our humidity at this level and our CO2 at that level and our temperature at this level, and if it deviates from that over a specified range, the range we specify in any way we get notices. Whether it’s a text notice or whatever we can program it in there and we get warnings if things are out of tolerance. In addition we can program that machine to take action on this so if we have a spike in humidity we can tell it to slow the fans down to 71% which helps draw some humidity out. Raise the temperature up to 80 degrees and pull the humidity out of the room and then cool the room back down. It also keeps data for us and then we have a lot of data on the rooms so if one room is doing better than another room we can actually determine why and mirror those same qualities that help the other room out now.

Matthew: Now if there’s someone’s just won a license that’s listening to cultivate cannabis you know one of the big threats is obviously pests, funguses, and mold and it impacts almost all growers at some point or another. What do you think the best way is to mitigate those risks to have an optimal harvest?

Andy: Yeah that’s a really good question. So a little history on that in Colorado, specifically Denver there’s very little that we can use in terms of pesticides. They’ve really cracked down on that and there’s really very few pesticides even though they might be safe to use on our products it hasn’t been proven as such, and if it’s not proven as such or if the definition of its uses are broadly defined enough we cannot use the pesticides. So our hands are very tied on what we can use for control once something has been identified.

So really where we put our biggest effort is prevention. And so we have an integrated pest management system that is multi-faceted but we look to very much prevent any outbreak and we do that through cleanliness, we do it through restricting access to the rooms to only people necessary, and making sure that; we have uniforms that our employees will change multiple times each day. When they go from one room to another they wash up, etc. There’s mats on the floor that they walk over when they go in to get any contaminates on the bottom of their shoes.

I can go on and on. There’s a lot of stuff that we do that takes time and energy throughout the day but controlling those outbreaks and whether it’s a pathogen or an insect of some sort is very important because getting rid of them once they occur is typically destroying a lot of plants because we don’t want it to spread. That’s very costly.

Matthew: I noticed that there’s wheels on your cultivation tables. Can you explain why you do that?

Andy: Yeah so one of the things this industry; if you get into this industry that you have to be an inventor. We don’t have off the shelf products. So those tables are one of our inventions and what we do is; the way we run our shop is we run it off a 6 light system. So in our flowering rooms everything is on a 6 light system that’s in there and under those 6 lights we have 54 plants and those 54 plants are divided among 3 tables and we use 3 tables because they’re easier maneuvered than if we had two or just one. It’s not as heavy.

And we designed these tables to be able to fit close together. We have an extended halo around the footprint of the table to allow us a little bit more canopy space and they go together as one unit. When you’re looking at it it looks like one big table but then when you want to work on a plants to whether it’s Scrog which is to; we use a Scrogging system to screen a green so our plant canopy is tied down to a net and so to do that you have to get in between all of the systems. So we have to move the table apart. So those tables move very easily from side to side so that our growers can get in there and work with the plants if necessary.

Matthew: I noticed on the tour of your facility you cleaned the water before delivering it to your plants. That’s something that’s really not talked about very often. Soil medium is talked about, lights, humidity, temperature, but not water. Why do you feel it’s important to treat the water and how do you treat it?

Andy: Yeah that’s something that is very important in that remember I said we have to control the inputs to the process to get the same output.

Matthew: Right.

Andy: And water is the biggest input to a plant. It’s what it drinks and if you’re not controlling the water that it’s getting the nutrients that are in it and the minerals then you’re going to have a product that’s not consistent. So treating that water with a purification system is important to us. So we have a purification system that pulls all the solids out of the water so there’s less than one part per million of a solid in that water. It’s more pure than deep; it’s wonderful water. We actually also treat it after that to deionize it and we’ll use deionized water to spray the plants and deionized water will help clean the plant or whatever. It helps treat the plant a little bit and it’s a very safe way to do it. So the water is a very big portion of controlling the input to the plants life.

Matthew: What do you think the ideal growing medium is for cannabis plants? What do you use?

Andy: Well that’s interesting. My brother used to use hydroponic crossed with an aeroponic system in his basement and we thought we would move that right into our warehouse and replicate what he did in his basement and we soon learned it’s a different world in an industrial level than it is in the basement, and we didn’t have the knowledge to control in a large scale what he did on a small one. So we quickly found that going to a soil medium was much more forgiving but then we also found that when you buy your soil to put the plants in you purchase bugs with the soil.

So we went to a Soilless coco and we did a lot of experimentation with different mediums and the coco that we’ve landed upon is wonderful. It’s a sterile medium. We don’t get bugs with the mixture and being sterile we also can control exactly what the plant is uptaking as nutrients. So again we’re controlling the inputs to the plant. But it’s also very forgiving in that we don’t have to worry as much about; because if you’re not using a medium like that you have to control the water temperature very much and pathogens within the water as it’s recycling and lots of other things. So I really like the coco medium on that mix with ([14:47] unclear).

Matthew: And where do you stand on LED lights? I know it’s kind of a controversial subject. A lot of people think they’re not ready for primetime but perhaps when we need to do have devote a small area to the cultivation facility to test things and see how they work. Where do you stand on LEDs?

Andy: We do a lot of testing like you said, and lately LEDs have been improving. The testing that I’ve done with LEDs now are coming close to the results that I’m getting with the high pressure sodium bulbs but it’s still not the same. I don’t; it’s not quite as much production in flower from the LED and I don’t want to poo poo it though because I think somebody better with LED lights and the different spectrums that they can put onto a plant might be able to replicate that.

But right now in terms of mass production, mass sell, and mass use I don’t think it’s quite there yet. Now I do think that in the vegetative state the LEDs are very good and very useful right now but it really needs to be designed ([16:07] unclear) light. So the rooms that I have designed for the HPSs, High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halides and in replacing them with off the shelf LEDs isn’t feasible because they’ve already been engineered so I need new construction. I certainly would look at LEDs for vegetative but there are some other lights that are on the market right now that I would also look at for flower ([16:32] unclear) and others they’re doing a good job.

Matthew: Is there any technology that is emerging for the cultivation room that really excites you? Either something you’re considering making or something that’s out there in the marketplace?
Andy: You know I’m having a lot of fun right now with greenhouse technology. This is something that we’re looking to get into. Not exclusively I like having my industrial space and the controlled environment but having a greenhouse environment is something I’m playing with right now. And my brother’s actually been working on a design for probably a year and a half and I think it’s pretty nailed down on what he’d like and we’re going to move forward with that and see what we can do. So that’s kind of taking up some creative juices from both my brother and I.

Matthew: Do you feel like there’s any lingering misconceptions about cannabis cultivators? For someone that’s on the outside looking in that just thinks like hey I put some seeds in dirt and then I make millions. I mean what are some of the misconceptions out there versus the contrast of the reality you live day in and day out?

Andy: There’s a really big cut so I get a lot of education. We have local politicians and local officials come through. Yesterday we had our monthly police department tour through where we take police not only from Colorado but from other states and give them an idea of what a cultivation facility looks like and then people from all around the country come through and I hear their reactions and their reactions are wow I never expected this. They expect the stoners sitting around kind of smoking dope with dirty clothing on and probably haven’t showered and working on these plants that are just on the cement floor in the warehouse and they’re watering them and maybe cutting them and watching tv and playing games and what they walk into is a manufacturing facility. They see people in uniforms. They see things; tools and what not hanging in their place. They see a very clean environment. They see very organized. They see charts up there tracking data for us so that we can improve what we’re doing.

They see a business and that’s what shocks them and then they start thinking wow how do they do this without a bank and then all these questions start coming up that really start hitting home for these people and like you said this isn’t something that you get into the cannabis industry and you’re just a guaranteed success. This is like any business. It is very competitive and in new markets it’s typically a little bit more forgiving in terms of margins and some mistakes can be made and still survive but as this market; and that’s not even a guarantee but as the market matures if you’re not able to produce at a low cost and high quality and serve your customer well, you’re not going to stay in business.

Matthew: Can you tell us a little bit about the infused products you’re manufacturing now?

Andy: Yeah I’m really excited about this. So right now we don’t have any products of our own on the shelf. We use our own product. We use our own marijuana and we have other people do extractions for us and so it’s really our own product that we grow. But we are now going to be able to do our own extractions and our own products. This facility is being built right now so it’s in its initial phase but it’s going to be focused on the medicine side of marijuana. And I have teamed with a gentleman named T.J. Johnsrud and he’s from NuCara Labs. He owns and has been running pharmaceutical labs for over 40 years and he has 27 labs around the country and they do fractionalization and compounding formulation in dosage forms for different medicines and working with the FDA etc.

So these guys are really good at creating and making, manufacturing medicine, and so we teamed up with them. We’ve teamed up with other folks as well in the medical community and we’re going to be doing not only in order to keep our lights on an extraction business where we create our own extractions and sell them in the marketplace but also doing research and manufacturing necessary to really take marijuana to a medicinal level because right now it’s very therapeutic. It’s whole plant medicine. We’re not really quite sure that the mixture of the compounds that are impacting people for different reasons and we want to isolate those, we want to identify them, and then be able to produce it in a way that’s reliable and reputable for people and it’s extremely exciting for me.

Matthew: So Andy switching gears to your dispensary one of the things visitors to Medicine Man Dispensary in Denver will notice upon entering is that there are two sides to the dispensary. There’s medicinal and adult use. Can you tell us why they are separated?

Andy: Yeah there’s a couple reasons for that. One the state requires us to track our inventory separately and of course our point of sale we have to make sure that we’re charging the proper tax and what not with the different products that we sell because it is different between medical and recreational and so that’s one reason.

Another reason is that on the recreational side we pre-pack things so that if you come in you’ll see eighths and quarters pre-packed of our different strains and while you can still look and smell the different strains from sample jars it’s not the same as on our medical side where we have large jars full of the marijuana that people can look at under a magnified lens and really get some nice aroma from the jar itself and take some time shopping. It’s meant to really speed things through. We see a lot of people on a recreational side and we just don’t, we just can’t take the same amount of time as we do with the medical folks on that side.

So that’s one of the reasons we have actually two ways to serve customers. On the medical side we get more of a; I don’t know of a consultation session where the bud tender is very knowledgeable to help you out a little bit more privacy. It’s not as close to the others the recreational side. That’s not to say the recreational side is hurting or uncomfortable. It’s just different.

Matthew: So you touched on a good point there Andy. Why would anybody in Colorado consider getting a medical cannabis card and you mentioned one of the reasons is that the tax treatment is very different so you can tax less. But also in terms of edibles and infused products you can get a much higher dosage is that right? What are we talking about in terms of dosages between the rec side and the medical?

Andy: That’s right. On the rec side the dosage for any one product in terms of an edible can be up to 100 mg and on the medical side there really is no limit although most of the products are 500 mg or less. Although there are some that are a little bit higher and the reason for that is people that are medicating with marijuana will develop a tolerance to it that they need more milligrams in order to have the desired result.

And of course on the recreational side we have a lot of people that maybe aren’t frequent users or even first time users that has been publicized by so well in the media that people have over consumption issues with cannabis if they’re not careful so that’s one of the reasons they restrict the amount in those edibles.

Matthew: Andy in terms of strains are there any particular strains of cannabis that are selling well right now or trending in a positive direction?

Andy: You know with strains we’re always working our genetics and Girl Scout cookies has been doing well for a while. I have heard there’s some new strains that are becoming very popular and ([25:00] unclear) at the moment but one thing that is very popular is live resin. That seems to be something that is very popular which is you take a plant; a whole plant without trimming it and freeze it and then we use an extraction technique to extract the cannabis from the method and it’s a very heavy terpene extraction. So you get a lot more flavor and smell in the extraction and more live plant properties or whole plant properties than you do when you use just a straight extraction so that’s very popular right now.

Matthew: Yeah you touched on terpenes there that really seems like a word we’re going to start hearing much more and maybe even the creating a terpene profile that really delights customers because of the flavor. I mean that’s what we’re getting down to is the flavor. I mean it impacts your perception of the cannabis even before you consume it if the terpenes have a pleasant psychological effect. So do you think that’s a big trend moving forward? Do you think we’re going to see a lot more about that?

Andy: I do. I think extraction techniques are going to improve so that we do see more of the terpenes surviving the extraction. They’re very volatile and so getting them to survive the extraction is you know so getting better at doing that is what’s going to be important and quite honestly I have a feeling that terpenes have some benefit medicinally for people. So it’s not just; I have a feeling anyway that it’s not just the cannabinoids that are making this beneficial health effect for folks but it’s the combination of the cannabinoids and the terpenes that are having that effect. So it will be fun to see over time what research proves for that.

Matthew: Since you’ve started in this business how have you seen preferences change in terms of flowers, concentrates, edibles, gums, candies? Has it surprised you at all to watch this evolution?

Andy: No it really hasn’t surprised me. We’ve seen the preferences go from over 80% flower to probably in my stores anyway high 60% flower and then of course the remainder other whether its concentrate or edibles. And so it’s still in my stores predominantly flower but the trend certainly is for concentrates and edibles and I see that continuing over time. I don’t think flower is ever going to go away nor do I think it’s going to be a minority but it sure is convenient to have a vape pen or a candy bar or whatever if you want to; if you need to medicate or just relax in a very discrete way.

Matthew: Do you have any ideas where consumer tastes will be in three to five years? We touched a little bit on terpenes playing a more important role but do you have any guesses on what the market will look like then?

Andy: Well the cannabis market is going to mature of course. There’s going to be a consolidation in terms of ownership a little bit anyway during that time. Of course a lot more states are going to come online during that time maybe, maybe as many as ten more. And one of the things is there’s going to be a lot more research and development so different types of extraction methods are going to be utilized, and we’re going to have different products in terms of concentrates and edibles on the market with different dosage forms so different ways to deliver cannabis. So we’re going to see our choices opening up. We’re going to see the quality of cannabis getting better and more reliable, more consistent, and we’re going to see prices drop. So it’s going to be tougher to compete so all those things are going to be happening in the next three to five years no doubt.

Matthew: Now you went to the ArcView Group and raised some money for Medicine Man. Would you mind just discussing how that experience was for you?

Andy: Yeah that was fun. Well I had been chasing money for three years because Pete and I when we started we had some seed money from my mom and what little we could scrape together and we just; every dime we made we put back into the business to be able to cultivate more and better and I didn’t take a salary for the first couple years. I worked another job to boot. And so in order to stay on the forefront of the cannabis industry here in Colorado we had to work really hard to make money to spend money, and so I tried finding money that we could borrow in order to expand faster and ArcView is what gave us that opportunity.

So Troy Dayton the leader of ArcView told me once that they were because they; ArcView is if you don’t know it’s a Shark Tank for the cannabis industry. They bring qualified investors together with entrepreneurs who need money and they provide that forum for the qualified investors to listen to those entrepreneurs and make a decision whether or not they want to invest. So it brings people together for that purpose and he told me; and then when they first started it was just for ancillary businesses. So if you were maybe BioTrack and supporting the cannabis industry with your software it might be a place you would go and get money or other people it supported in the ancillary faction didn’t touch cannabis to get money.

And he told me that someday they were going to open it up to cannabis businesses and I said well as soon as you do let me know, and so I got that invitation in the summer of 2013 and there’s a selection process that I had to go through and was able to do that and able to present. I was the first cannabis company to present with them and we were able to raise about $1.6 million in unsecured loans through its members in order to help build our newest and greatest cultivation in our facility. So since then we’ve actually improved upon what we do and we have newer and better now but at the time it was the best. It enabled us to double in size from 20 to 40,000 square feet in one build which was fantastic.

Matthew: Wow, wow. That is amazing.

Andy: Yeah it was fun. We really enjoyed that.

Matthew: Now one thing I neglected to mention which is a huge deal really is that you were on MSNBC’s Pot Barons of Colorado which was a show that kind of gave people an inside look into the life of people in the cannabis industry. How was that experience for you?

Andy: That was a lot of fun too. The Executive Director of that, Gary Cohen and his crew did a phenomenal job and they did just hours and hours and hours of footage of us and I really liked them and they didn’t ask us because we’ve had other camera crews follow us and they’re always wanting us to act out a scene that helps their drama a little bit and while we don’t do that Gary’s crew never asked us to do it. They would ask us every once in a while to relive a moment that they didn’t capture, but they didn’t ever ask us to do something that was fake and they just got that raw footage and it was just so much fun doing and I had a really good time watching that in that I got to see some of my friends like Bob and Trip and others in their normal day to day life that I don’t necessarily get to see all the time so it was great.

Matthew: And in closing Andy how can listeners learn more about Medicine Man and all you do?

Andy: Well you can go to our website which is www.medicinemandenver.com and at that site you can hook up with all of our social media outlets and what not and see lots of pictures of our facility and then you can also go to if you’re looking for a consultant or would like to learn more about what we do on the consultancy side you can go to www.medicinemantechnologies.com and soon we’ll be having a website for our production company but that remains to be done yet so.

Matthew: Okay well Andy thanks so much for being on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Andy: My pleasure. Thanks for having me Matt.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, simply send us an email at feedback at cannainsider.com. We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[2:03] – Andy’s background
[3:20] – Tour of Andy’s grow room
[6:56] – Andy talks about the climate control system in his facility
[8:54] – Andy discusses controlling pests, funguses and molds
[12:13] – Andy talks about treating the water in his facility
[13:28] – Ideal growing medium for cannabis plants
[15:05] – Andy talks about using LED lighting
[17:45] – Misconceptions about cultivators
[19:41] – Andy talks about his infused product line
[21:45] – Why the dispensary is split between recreational and medical
[23:49] – Differences in dosages in medical and recreational
[24:48] – Andy talks about popular strains
[26:10] – Andy discusses extraction techniques
[27:58] – Andy’s predictions for 3 to 5 year trends
[28:58] – Andy’s ArcView experience
[32:52] – Medicine Man’s contact details

Amsterdam’s Cannabis Scientist – Joost Heeroma from GH Medical

joost heeroma

Joost Heeroma is a scientist and researcher at GH Medical in Amsterdam. Joost shares the important science around cannabis that isn’t often talked about and discusses the future of cannabis technology and science.

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Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at cannainsider.com to get started. Now here’s your program.

As the perception of cannabis evolves from a back alley drug for society’s misfits to a plant medicine that can help a myriad of conditions the question on the mind of millions of people is how? How can this plant treat so many disparate conditions? Part of the answer lies in how cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system. I am pleased to welcome Dr. Joost Heeroma, Director of Science at GH Medical in Amsterdam, to better understand the promise of unlocking the many secrets of the endocannabinoid system. Welcome Dr. Joost.

Joost: Thank you Matt. Thanks for having me.

Matthew: Joost before we get started can you tell us your background and how you got into the cannabis research field?

Joost: Yeah sure. I’m a medical biologist by training with 15 years of research experience behind me and that’s mostly in the fields of genetics and neuroscience and in short the central theme of my research has been homeostasis which is basically balance in your body. How it is your body preserve its integrity throughout life. That is, so that will be the central theme and to go slightly deeper into that for instance as a student I was fascinated by diseases like Cancer and Alzheimer’s and how they are essentially flip sides of the same coin if you will. So in Cancer cells sort of forget to stop dividing and in diseases like Alzheimer’s cells forget to do the opposite. They forget to stay alive and I was fascinated by these processes. How this worked and how they govern the integrity of your body if you will and that started my research.

That later turned into does the same thing happen in the brain? Is this homeostasis just balancing things important for your brain? It turns out that it is. In fact all the learning rules are based on these principles. Without going deeper into that I then started studying human genetic mutations and how these mutations disrupt the feedback mechanisms that usually keep you alive and how these mutations can in turn cause diseases like for instance Epilepsy. Then finally I used all that information to devise intelligent ways of curing diseases for instance by common opportune therapy for epilepsy.

Now that was my career in a nut shell and then the economy collapsed and I found myself looking for a job and then basically as an act of serendipity I saw Arjan and Franco on an episode of Strain Hunters and I had my epiphany and well the rest is history. Now we’re talking to each other.

Matthew: Okay. We’ve had Arjan on the show but can you give a little background on what GH Green House and what they do there in Amsterdam with seeds and what GH Medical is so people can kind of have a context of what the operation is there?

Joost: Yeah definitely. So the Green House is one of the most successful if not the most successful cannabis seed selling companies and they also have a string of coffee shops or cannabis cafe’s in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. And what sort of separates the people at Green House from the rest of the industry as I know it is the passion that Arjan and Franco show for keeping the diversity in cannabis strains in tract and in order to do this they have organized these Strain Hunter expeditions basically traveling to the furthest corners of the globe to find the original land races of cannabis that have essentially not been tampered with by 17 of crossing and this crossing was essentially done for one purpose, the recreational purpose. How high can you get out of it?

So in short Arjan and Franco and the Green House have been looking for less chemical cannabinoids in distinct land races of cannabis and I found this hugely interesting because I’m not sure if you know but the cannabinoids are receiving huge amounts of attention in the medical world by now but 99% of this information is based on THC. Now CBD is sort of getting into the game but there are tens if not more other cannabinoids that are virtually unresearched. So this was the point that got me hooked. When I saw the Strain Hunter’s travel the globe finding these new or old untempered cannabis races I thought bingo that’s, that’s the pharmacological gold mine that we’re looking for. So that in short is how it got started.
Matthew: Yeah and land races just for people to understand that’s a plant in this case the cannabis plant that evolved over a period of time to be ideally suited for its environment is that how you would describe it?

Joost: Probably yes. So a land race is nothing more than an original race so it hasn’t been tampered with by us.

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: And to give you an indication in let’s take the West, Europe and America. Since 1937 when the UN imposed its ban on cannabis the only selection criterion for cannabis was of course how stoned do you get and you can really see the results of this. So in the last couple of months I’ve profiled a lot of different strains of cannabis that you can find here in Amsterdam and essentially they’re all the same when you look at cannabinoids. That basically means we have found a way to purify THC and luckily THC has lots of therapeutic potential but all these other cannabinoids that are in there are practically unresearched and that’s what we want to do and for that you actually need these original races.

Matthew: Okay. Now switching gears to the encannabinoid system.

Joost: Yeah.

Matthew: How would you introduce that to someone that still quite doesn’t understand that?

Joost: Yeah and I can understand why it’s difficult to grasp because until about a year ago I didn’t have a clue and that’s strange because I actually found out that this endocannabinoid system is the mother of all feedback systems and therefore I should have known about it. And so what does it do? I would say that the endocannabinoid system is basically what puts; what stands between us and bacteria. If you see humans as successful life forms, we consist of billions upon billions of cells and to me as a biologist is actually surprised that we are not just a pile of, an amorphous pile of cells. Now we’re actually very nicely sculpted human beings and for that to happen you need to have a system that keeps several factors in check.

First of all, all cells in your body need to know whether or not to divide. If this goes wrong, if cells continue to divide when not necessary you get diseases like Cancer. If cells stop dividing where they should be you get degenerative diseases like for instance Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s and many other diseases.

Another thing that is crucial to successful multicellular life is the distribution of energy. Each cell needs to get the right amount of energy not more, not less, etc. Now failure to control the flow of energy in your body can lead to diseases like Obesity on the one hand or anorexia on the other or Diabetes. Anyway all these metabolic diseases sort of indicate that there’s some level of regulation going wrong. Now the other factor that is crucial to successful multicellular life is the immune system. Your cells need to know what is self and recognized as from anything foreign that invades your body. Anything that is self you need to protect. Anything that is foreign you need to viciously attack.

And finally the cells of your body need to be able to communicate to each other. Now the best example of this is the brain. You need brain communication, neurocell communication in order to be successful in your life. Now the four things so cell division, energy, metabolism, self recognition, or immune response and cellular communication or brain activity those four pillars of life are in fact colonized or governed by the endocannabinoid system. Does that answer your question?

Matthew: Yes, yes. And so those are things; those are kind of background operations that are going on in our lives and we really don’t notice it until there’s a problem perhaps.

Joost: Yeah.

Matthew: Is there any way that people can experience their endocannabinoid system without a problem? Is there something they can see in their life where they say hey that’s my endocannabinoid system at work?

Joost: Hmm good question. I think the most noticeable function of your endocannabinoid system may well be the runner’s high. Are you familiar with the runner’s high?

Matthew: Yes.

Joost: Yeah so I think this story started about 20 years ago and it was primarily explained as an endorphin based story. So endorphins are the body’s own opiates where endocannabinoids are the body’s own cannabinoids and it turns out that the happy feeling you get whilst running is endorphin based and the satisfied feeling that you get after running is actually caused by endocannabinoids. So that is an actual thing you can experience yourself where your endocannabinoid system is at work keeping you happy.

Matthew: Now we’re throwing around the word cannabinoid a lot but what exactly is a cannabinoid and how does it fit into the endocannabinoid system?

Joost: Let’s see to put things in a slightly broader perspective. Have you ever heard of the citric acid cycle?

Matthew: No.

Joost: No. Okay well the citric acid cycle is like the sense we’ll have in all our metabolism and whether you’re bacterium, or a horse, or a human it’s all the same and what this citric acid cycle does is it takes everything that you consume, everything that you eat, sort of grinds it down to atoms and from that your entire; every component of your body is constructed again. From the citric acid cycle everything is made and parts, the three major components of products that are made the energy that you need to keep your body up and running. The lipids to produce all your cells or the membranes surrounding your cells and the proteins of DNA which are essentially the machinery that our body’s work on.

And so straight from the citric acid cycle from the central hub of our metabolism all lipids are made and one major subdivision in these lipids is diacylglycerol which will mean nothing to you but it is like the top of the pyramid of all endocannabinoids. So what I’m trying to say by this is straight from everything that you eat lipids are made and from these lipids your endocannabinoids are made which govern pretty much everything in your body so. Cannabinoids are very natural substances if you will.

Matthew: How can the endocannabinoid system become dysfunctional or overpowered? Does that go back to what you were talking about with Cancer and Alzheimer’s?

Joost: Yeah. So I would say a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system is for instance caused by a mutation. A mutation in your genetic information which may lead to I don’t know Cancer or any other disease that is based on ([15:53] unclear) metabolism or cell division or immunity or brain communication. Did that answer your question?

Matthew: Yes.

Joost: Okay. Now.

Matthew: Go ahead.

Joost: One other thing that I wanted to mention is so all the endocannabinoids are made out of diacylglycerol. It very much, very similar to this all plant cannabinoids are made from terpenes. Now terpenes is also something you’ve probably heard before.

Matthew: Yes.

Joost: And know that we’ll be discussing later on but what is crucial to your understanding of cannabinoids and terpenes is that they are essentially the same thing. Terpenes are very basic chemical building units and for instance if you take one unit you get the smell of menthol, take three units stack them together you get the smell of ginger, you take four you get cannabinoids, you take six you get cholesterol, sex hormones that kind of thing. Take eight you get carotene antioxidants in your body. Have you ever heard of Q10?

Matthew: CoQ10 or something like that?

Joost: Yeah exactly so but the stuff that’s in all these creams for your face and etc, etc. Q10 stands for ten units of isoprene, ten of these terpene units.

Matthew: Okay. So you stack these isoprene units and you get different compounds as you stack them?

Joost: Exactly. You get different compounds with completely different properties and to go one step further if you stack thirty of these compounds on top of each other then you’ve got latex. So that’s sort of to show you the, well the background against which all this stuff is happening. The central point here is that terpenes, terpinoids, cannabinoids are really natural compounds and they are involved in every step of multicellular life.

Matthew: Okay. So terpenes, there’s a lot of talk about flavor and fragrance and so forth. What’s happening with terpenes there that gives us that experience? I know you mentioned the stacking but can you tell us anything about how we experience terpenes from fragrance and so forth?

Joost: Yeah. So as I just said and so one isoprene unit gives you the smell of ([18:40] unclear) and two isoprene units gives you the smell of menthol, etc, etc. Basically every odor, every essential oil that we know of is a terpene. That’s, yeah.

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: Every smell is a terpene and is also important to realize how all this works. It’s not for nothing that we can smell something. The only reason we can smell something is because we have a receptor and it’s also not for nothing that it has an effect on us. For instance if you smell Pinene so the smell of pine it has a physical effect on you. It dilates your lungs which is already making the crossover in between the food substances that we know as terpenes and the medicines that we will get to know as terpenes later on.

Matthew: Do terpenes affect our metabolism in any way?

Joost: Well yeah they do but it’s not really easy to give an example of this. But for instance I’m sure you have smelled nice food and all of a sudden got your gastric juices pumping and before you knew it you were hungry.

Matthew: Yeah sure.

Joost: Yeah so the physical process behind all that is it is fueled by terpenes and in the end it primes your body for eating. So does it have an effect on your metabolism yes definitely?

Matthew: And where can cannabis have the biggest impact on fighting illness and disease right now do you think?

Joost: That’s also a difficult one. Well seeing as cannabinoids actually show therapeutic potential in some of the most well prevalent and debilitating diseases in the West. I can think of Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Insomnia. I would say the total potential impact of cannabis and cannabinoids on disease is huge and which one will prove to be the biggest or which one is the biggest right now I actually have no idea. Everything.

Matthew: When you smoke a joint versus taking an edible, an infused product how is that different? How does that affect your endocannabinoid system differently?

Joost: The differences are huge. For starters when you eat cannabinoids they invariably end up in your stomach. Your stomach is full of acid and that acid immediately breaks down like 50% of all cannabinoids. After your stomach the cannabinoids enter your guts and your intestine or through your intestine and end up in your blood and they get metabolized by your liver which again causes a 50% reduction. So basically if you eat cannabinoids you are already at 25% of the total effect that you could’ve had if you would have injected the cannabinoids which of course no one does but that’s the standard against which we weigh it.

So if you want to preserve cannabinoids for their medical function you probably don’t want to eat them and other roots of application are for instance you could use topical application, just rub an ointment on your skin which will for instance work well for Eczema or Psoriasis but if you got Cancer probably there is a better way of getting the cannabinoids unless it’s Skin Cancer. Speaking of Cancer then you probably want to have a really high dose of some particular cannabinoid in a very specific spot so you might be thinking of an injection or you might be thinking of; for instance if you want to reach your brain and you want to reach it very quickly nasal injection or a nasal spray would make more sense.

If you want it to get there more slowly then maybe eating is better. You see that’s, it really depends on the specific condition that you’re looking to treat. It really depends on that for your choice of rules of application.

Matthew: I really haven’t heard of people injecting cannabis as a medical treatment but is seems like it might be a good idea. Is that happening more or are people talking about that more?

Joost: Yeah. To be honest I don’t know of anyone who has injected cannabinoids either but I know this is how for instance the ([24:03] unclear) so the drug lap of the DEA got their data, you need to have a standard measurement of pharmacological products and the standard is pretty much what happens if you inject it. That constitutes 100% biodegradability and it is against this biodegradability that for instance everything that happens when you do a nasal spray or you already consumed cannabinoids everything is weighed against what would theoretically happen if you inject. Does that make sense?

Matthew: Yes, yes.

Joost: And like I said for real, real nasty cases where you need a really high dose of cannabinoids such as for instance Cancer. I can well imagine that the way to treat it in the future will be an injection. At the moment I don’t know any examples.

Matthew: Joost based on what you’ve seen. Let’s say God forbid you develop some sort of Cancer would you be treating it with cannabis?

Joost: A very good question. I think yes. I’ve spent the last year reading everything I could about cannabinoids and their potential to cure diseases and even though I know we’ve only scratched the surface of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids I would say the promise is huge and especially for Cancer. I mean people have more or less known that cannabinoids can work against the nausea, basically against the side effects that you have from regular Cancer treatments. But now we actually know that THC kills Cancer cells. It actually kills Cancer cells whereas it leaves non Cancer cells alone. That finding in itself is huge.

Of course we need more information, we need more tests but I think a system that can decide whether a cell is Cancerous or not and then eliminate the Cancer cell is just way better than what we have been able to come up with in regular medicine. Which one will prove to be better I don’t know.

Matthew: Okay. Do you see any clinical trials going on that are promising in Europe or elsewhere with cannabis or cannabis oils?

Joost: There are a few clinical trials going on not too many and a lot of these clinical trials are still being done with synthetic cannabinoids and so these are still primarily initiatives from Big Pharma who of course love patents of all drug and for that you need synthetic cannabinoids. For the plant cannabinoids it’s sort of getting started now. We hope to launch as many clinical trials in the next couple of years as possible and we should be thinking about 100 or 130 different types of disease indications for which we could launch a clinical trial. The most important one going on right now I don’t know.

Matthew: Okay. And where do you see GH Medical going over in the years ahead?

Joost: Well basically doing precisely that launching clinical trials. So what we’ve done in the last year is basically nothing else but making an inventory of all the knowledge that is out there. So I have screened or am in the process of screening approximately thirty thousand scientific papers on fifty different disease areas and this is work that has been done in the last forty years or thereabouts by scientists who did it anyway even though they weren’t supposed to and I’m categorizing all this data trying to find the lacks in our knowledge and trying to supplement that.

So now we’ve more or less reached a point where we know the bits of knowledge that are lacking and we can start formulating the research that is necessary to actually go further and because cannabinoids are such a hugely safe, biologically safe class of product I think we can go straight into the clinical trials and forget about most of the pre-chemical research that’s usually done before. Which is like to find out how safe is the compound? How much can we tolerate, etc, etc.? We already know from thousands of years of user experiences that you can tolerate as many cannabinoids as you want to test so we can skip all that straight to the clinical trials and we’ll take it from there.

Matthew: Yeah that would be great if we could get some solutions quickly here. There’s a lot of people suffering and its like why wait years when it’s really a benign influence at worst. So why?

Joost: Exactly.

Matthew: Why can’t we move forward? So.

Joost: Yeah but the problem is as you are probably very well aware of that everyone is waiting. Well they’re the policy makers doing it at the moment.

Matthew: Right.

Joost: And the whole world I mean I would love to start 100 clinical trials tomorrow but if we would do that we would be shutdown the day after tomorrow.

Matthew: Yeah.

Joost: And we are finding ourselves in a very strange situation that we’re actually dealing more with policy makers, with politicians, etc, etc., than with the actual science.

Matthew: Yeah that’s unfortunate. What’s the reaction from the policy makers? Are they becoming? I mean Amsterdam and the Netherlands are historically liberal relative to other countries but are they receptive to the message of cannabis as medicine?

Joost: Not really. I think it was the Dutch Minister of Justice who said A) that he knew people that have died of smoking cannabis which is impossible. But it does show you the level of information that they use and so I don’t expect much out of the Netherlands anytime soon. But what is very interesting is that we are now being contacted by other governments around the world who are actually sick and tired of having to chase old granny’s that have a bottle of cannabis oil because they have Cancer. People are just getting tired of having to incarcerate other people for just that.

And so the interesting development is that we are now being approached by governments who are actually looking for our advice in how to change the rules so that we can do our research and that’s new.

Matthew: Yeah.

Joost: And maybe this will be the way in which we can start our research but we just don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen next week. Hopefully what’s going to happen is we’re going to get our license to do our research and then we can start our trials. But who knows?

Matthew: Joost what’s the best way for listeners to learn more about GH Medical Green House Seeds, Arjan’s cannabis cafe’s there in Amsterdam? Where should they go to learn more about these things?

Joost: Yeah. So first of all to learn more about GH Medical you can go to www.ghmedical.com and that website basically contains all the information that you need to see whether cannabinoid based therapy might be something for you. How it works, etc., etc. It also contains a white paper where we explain our backgrounds, disease backgrounds, and the potential of cannabinoids to cure all these diseases and that is probably good background reading material for most people, for patients, for healthcare professionals, for policy makers and what not. Now going to the Green House as the larger company, Green House Seeds. For information you can go to www.greenhouseseeds.nl.

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: And finally if you want more information about the cannabis cafe’s or coffee shops as we call them over here. You can go to www.greenhouse.org.

Matthew: Okay. Yeah and the cafe’s are really well known there in Amsterdam and very kind of classy places and while we have legal retail shops here in Colorado I hope we go to the next level and have cafe’s similar to what you have in Amsterdam there where there’s a social aspect. Because while it’s legal we can go to a retail shop and then everybody goes home. There’s no public forum.

Joost: Yeah.

Matthew: Which would really I think enhance the experience for everybody so I hope we get to that step soon. But again also Arjan and his partner Franco are also a great place to find them is on Strain Hunters too which is a really kind of interesting show where they go all over the world finding these land race cannabis strains which Joost spoke about a little earlier.

Matthew: So Joost thanks so much for being on CannaInsider and educating us. We really appreciate it.

Joost: Thank you. I hope you learned something from it and hopefully meet again.

Matthew: Thank you.

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Key Takeaways:
[1:52] – Dr. Joost’s background
[4:41] – What is GH Medical
[8:42] – Joost talks about the endocannabinoid system
[12:24] – Joost explains the functions of the endocannabinoid system
[13:27] – What is a cannabinoid
[15:28] – How your endocannabinoid system can become dysfunctional
[18:30] – Joost talks about terpenes
[20:32] – Cannabis’s biggest impact on fighting illnesses and disease
[21:27] – How do infused products, edibles and joints affect your system
[23:49] – Joost talks about injecting cannabis
[26:55] – Cannabis clinical trials
[28:04] – Future of GH Medical
[30:54] – Are policy makers receptive of cannabis as medicine
[32:38] – GH Medical Green House Seeds contact details