Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Cannabis for Inflammation

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 3 in the multi-media educational series Curt’s Cannabis Corner from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network.

This series is intended for cannabis and hemp professionals—and the enterprise organizations that employ them—who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, volatile business environment, and detailed regulatory oversight of this newly legal herb.

This week, readers learn about how cannabis and its constituent molecules may be of therapeutic value to humans—particularly in the treatment of conditions based in inflammation—from Sunil Pai, MD, a veteran clinical practitioner.

Pai is an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and author of the critically acclaimed 2016 book An Inflammation Nation. He is a lecturer and a contributing author to a number of medical textbooks and scientific journals.

Pai is a practicing doctor who combines an evidence-based approach with 20 years of clinical experience. Each year, he educates thousands of physicians and medical professionals about the nuanced biochemistry involved in the administration of hemp-derived cannabinoids and terpenes for the treatment of a variety of disease states and conditions.


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Cannabis

for

Inflammation

By Curt Robbins


In August 2021, Higher Learning LV conducted the following exclusive interview with Pai.

Higher Learning LV: “As a medical expert on the management of inflammation and author of the 2016 book An Inflammation Nation, how can the cannabis/hemp plant species help humans in terms of managing their inflammation and achieving improved health?”

Sunil Pai, MD: “The use of cannabinoids from cannabis and hemp can help with the self-regulatory process of lowering inflammation through a variety of biological mechanisms. These include stimulation of certain endocannabinoid system receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, in many organs. These include the brain, all bones and muscles, the GI tract, and many other areas. Cannabinoids provide immunomodulation by repairing and protecting the tissues in these organs. This, in turn and over time, can balance inflammatory conditions and achieve homeostasis, which is critical for overall health improvement.”

HLLV:  “CBD is being touted for treatment of a range of disease states and ailments. Is limiting one’s therapeutic viewpoint to a single phytomolecule wise?”

SP: “Limiting one’s consumption to one phytochemical has both benefits and disadvantages. The benefit is that, sometimes, using a single molecule can provide a stronger clinical response due to the ability to achieve a more potent and focused dose.

“However, the disadvantage is a lack of biochemical balance. Like a pharmaceutical, CBD can feature side effects and a relatively small therapeutic window before side effects begin to occur. The pharmaceutical industry likes single phytomolecules due to the ability to patent them and own the extraction process or resulting compound. It also allows them to make a medical claim because drug studies employ only single molecules. Like pharmaceuticals, the cannabis and hemp industries also like single molecules such as CBD. They allow them to advertise a new product and increase SKUs with new indirect claims to the general public.”

HLLV: “What other cannabinoids, beyond CBD, should wellness professionals and patients be paying attention to, Dr. Pai?”

SP: “That’s a great question. Here’s a few phytocannabinoids that have my attention currently and that I’m integrating into my clinical practice:

  • CBC (cannabichromene): Possibly helpful for brain health via support of the process of neurogenesis. Reduces inflammation and may target more CB2 receptors in gastrointestinal conditions (such as Crohns or IBS) and neuropathy.

  • CBG (cannabigerol): Interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and indirectly elsewhere. May reduce inflammation and tumor growth.

  • CBN (cannabinol): Possible sedative and anti-inflammatory effects.”

HLLV: “There’s been plenty of talk recently about the THC isomer delta-8. What are your thoughts on the medicinal efficacy and utility of this molecule that is being adopted by many patients and lifestyle consumers, especially in states where delta-9 THC remains prohibited?”

SP: “Many companies are providing delta-8 products for two primary reasons. First, the public wants something close to THC, with aspects that deliver euphoria and pain control, with less feeling of being ‘high.’ This is particularly true in states where delta-9 remains illegal.

Delta-8 THC is commonly called ‘weed lite’ or ‘diet weed’ because, for most consumers, it features lower potency and fewer side effects than delta-9 THC. Just as important, the industry is now oversaturated with CBD products, which is causing prices to drop really low. To remain competitive, cannabis and hemp companies need new product segments featuring new items.

“Unfortunately, to obtain adequate amounts of delta-8 from hemp, a process of synthesis must take place. This puts delta-8 in a grey zone in terms of regulation.

“Many delta-8 products on the market have been found to contain either delta-9 THC or other adulterants and chemicals. Until better regulations ensure safety and quality and its legal status is clarified, I prefer not to recommend delta-8 to my patients or colleagues. As you are aware, when it comes to hemp, I prefer to use the plant holistically, taking advantage of as many of the entourage mechanisms of these efficacious compounds as possible.”

HLLV: “Terpenes are often hailed for their medicinal properties, including their anti-inflammatory prowess. What are your thoughts about the usefulness of terpenes, particularly in the realm of their effectiveness for treating inflammation?”

SP: “I like the use of terpenes—either that occur naturally in the product or that are added. However, our knowledge of terpenes is still in its infancy. We understand the range of different types of terpenes and, to a certain degree, the effects derived from them. Some are anti-inflammatory, which I naturally appreciate. I believe we should strive to preserve the natural terpenes that occur in loose-leaf cannabis and hemp flower samples and other products. We also have the opportunity to enhance CBD with terpenes, especially those that possess anti-inflammatory effects.

“That said, I must stress that controlling terpene dosage remains a major challenge. Terpenes are sold to manufacturers and processors for addition to their CBD products. However, this must be performed with expertise and caution.

“Terpenes can be dangerous; some consumers are allergic to certain terpenes! When companies in the industry use them, many lack formulation and manufacturing expertise and treat terpenes as merely another casual ingredient. With the growth of the use of terpenes in CBD and other cannabis and hemp products, there is increased danger of adverse responses from some patient and consumer populations to these compounds.

“Unfortunately, many manufacturers and distributors are focused on selling products in bulk and are not seeking safety and true medicinal efficacy. As an integrative medicine physician, I always consider how we can best use natural products like CBD safely and with maximum efficacy. If used properly, terpenes enhance the overall benefits of the other compounds, both directly and indirectly.”

HLLV: “Thanks for your time and sharing your deep clinical experience with our readers, Dr. Pai.”

SP: “Certainly. Thank you for the opportunity to help clarify the real science of how the phytocannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis may aid some patients and lifestyle consumers.”

WATCH THE FULL PODCAST ON MARIJUANA CHANNEL ONE

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: CBD For Epilepsy

Welcome to Season 2, Episode 2 of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, an education series from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network intended for cannabis and hemp professionalsand the enterprise organizations that employ themwho wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, volatile business environment, and detailed regulatory oversight of this newly legal herb. 

This week, readers learn about the recent scientific investigative work of Dr. Nicolas Schlienz, a research scientist and clinical psychologist. Schlienz was recently appointed to the position of Research Director for Realm of Caring, a pioneering non-profit cannabinoid research organization based in Colorado Springs with ties to the popular vertically integrated brand Charlotte’s Web.  


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

CBD

For

Epilepsy

 

By Curt Robbins

 


 

Dr. Nicolas Schlienz & CBD for Epilepsy

In July 2021, Schlienz coauthored a study entitled “Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Evaluation of Cannabinoid (CBD) Product Use and Health Among People with Epilepsy” that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Epilepsy & Behavior

“This study represents a refreshing collaboration of scientists, clinicians, patients, and advocates,” said Jay Salpekar, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Johns Hopkins University. Salpekar said that the study affirms that “cannabinoid products have value in the treatment of epilepsyas well as associated neuropsychiatric conditions.”

The study observed that cannabis “and select chemicals found in the cannabis plant have received significant clinical attention as evidence accumulates suggesting potential utility for varied health conditions.” It noted that multiple recent studies have “demonstrated the safety and efficacy of CBD in the reduction of seizures for several specific epilepsy syndromes.”

The study stated that the efficacy of CBD for those who suffer epilepsy goes beyond seizure control. “CBD products may prove valuable for their effects on psychosocial function and psychiatric health,” stating that a variety of behavior issues, including psychiatric disorders, are “overrepresented among people with epilepsy.”   

This study is of importance because it was conducted on human participants, not in test tubes or on animal subjects. Participants were “predominantly Caucasian (74 percent) with a roughly even split by gender (55 percent female), an average of 21 years old (51 percent were under 18), and the majority (90 percent) had no history of non-medicinal (‘recreational’) cannabis use.” 

93 percent of the study participants reported epilepsy as their primary medical condition. “The other seven percent reported epilepsy secondary to cancer, autoimmune conditions, neuropsychiatric conditions, chronic pain, insomnia/sleep disorders, or other conditions.” 

How They Did It 

The study participants employed a variety of cannabis-based products in the treatment of their epilepsy, including inflammation-reducing CBD, psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and several other cannabinoids that spanned anti-inflammatory cannabigerol (CBG), relaxant and sedative cannabinol (CBN), anti-nausea agent cannabidiolic acid (CBDA; the acidic precursor to CBD), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV; the varin version of THC), which is known to reduce appetite. 

“For purpose of analysis, it is assumed that these participants were using an artisanal CBD product. A subset of artisanal CBD users reported also using known THC-dominant products containing high concentrations of both CBD and THC or products in which the primary chemical constituent was a minor cannabinoid such as CBG, CBN, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), CBD-A, or THC-V.”

The study also found the safety profile of CBD to be acceptable for patients and consumers, particularly for those using it to treat epilepsy. “Among the 280 baseline artisanal CBD users, the majority did not report an adverse effect.” 

What They Found

For those who suffer epilepsy and are seeking relief from CBD, the results of this scientific investigation reveal potentially limited efficacy of this popular cannabinoid for seizure management specifically. “No group differences were observed in seizure control based on self-reported number of past month seizures,” concluded the study’s authors.

Elaborated the scientists: “Seizure control did not differ based on artisanal CBD product use in this study. This may be related to a number of factors, including those that could not be controlled in [an] observational setting.”

Significant CBD Benefits Identified

However, the researchers noted that participants enjoyed a range of significant benefits from CBD, including “generally higher quality of life, lower psychiatric symptom scores, and improved sleep.” The study also reported that “artisanal CBD users” displayed considerably “better epilepsy medication tolerability.”    

Concluded the study, “Compared with controls, artisanal CBD users had greater health satisfaction.” It also found that the CBD-using epilepsy patients who participated in the research displayed “lower anxiety and depression.”

Despite its efficacy for many of the symptoms that accompany epilepsy, including psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, and insomnia, this particular study did not find that the cannabinoid CBD lowered the incidence or severity of seizure activity as experienced by those with epilepsy. 

Based on the observational and participant self-report nature of the study, the scientists noted that their results may be influenced by the loss of control that is inherent in observation research of this type. For a more comprehensive understanding of the topic, readers are encouraged to enroll in the Higher Learning LV seminar Understanding Cannabis.

Thanks for reading. Remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers at http://HigherLearningLV.co 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Business Ethics in the Cannabis Industry

A primary focus of emerging cannabis companies is social equity and inclusion. Such pinnacle issues beg those in the C-suite and middle management to consider the overarching issue of business ethics. This includes methods and programs to expedite the adoption and implementation of inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility programs in an industry that has yet to mature and find its stride. 

 


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Business Ethics

In The

Cannabis Industry

 

By Curt Robbins

 


 

Standards & Regulation

With legalization comes regulation. Most regulations are imposed at the governmental level. However, in some areas, such as quality assurance and advocacy, guidelines emerge at the industry segment level.   

The current focus of such management and operational standards involves product transparency and accountability to both consumers and distribution channels. This represents a small step toward ethical business practices in which players are accountable for their supply chain and overall strategy. 

According to many thought leaders, becoming a better corporate citizen necessarily involves business ethics. These ethics and their practice must exceed a simple accounting of how profits are spent. These practices must define and, arguably, power strategies regarding revenue and reinvestment.

Several tools are available in this arena. Assessing and benchmarking the ethics of the practices of a business can be aided by Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting standards. This modern corporate management methodology involves equal elements of environmental stewardship, social equity, and regulatory oversight.  

Mika Unterman & ESG 

In 2018, Canada shocked the worldincluding itselfwhen it legalized adult-use cannabis at the federal level. Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver have since become cultural and financial epicenters within the Canadian adult-use cannabis marketplace.

Mika Unterman is founder of the Apical Ethical Cannabis Collective in one of those epicenters, Toronto. Her expertise is in business intelligence and the commercialization of the once-underground culture of cannabis into the now legaland heavily regulatedindustry of cannabis. One of Unterman’s core passions is that all companies in the emerging industry might understand the potential benefits of ESG. 

ESG is “an actionable commitment that companies can invest in to make the world a better place,” writes Unterman in an article for the Alan Aldous PR and digital strategy agency in Toronto. “ESG investing relies on independent ratings that assess what a company says and does for the environment, social justice, and governance issues,” explains Unterman in the article. 

The Interview

Curt’s Cannabis Corner conducted the following exclusive interview with Mika Unterman in August of 2021. The goal is to educate cannabis industry professionals in our reading audience about the topic of ESG and ethical standards that they may desire to adopt and promote.  

Curt Robbins: “Mika, thank you for taking the time to share your expertise in business ethics and, more specifically, ESG and social consciousness within the burgeoning cannabis industry.”

Mika Unterman: “Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to speak on this topic.”

CR: “Mika, you have your finger on the pulse of business ethics within emerging legal adult-use cannabis markets such as the United States and Canada. What are the leading companies doing right in terms of ethics and ESG?”

 

MU: “The only thing I can say for certain is that it’s being discussed. What’s unique about cannabis as an industry is that most of the workforce is millennial and most of the consumers are millennial and Gen Z. The inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility initiatives of businesses are important to these demographics. It’s certainly being discussed when it comes to marketing initiatives.

“In terms of action, I’ve seen a wide range. Most ambitious have been cannabis investment funds that focus on small BIPOC-owned businesses. Some ESG reports have emerged within the last year. There have also been donations to specific social justice causes. But that is not the same as fundamentally changing the way you do business to build up the resilience of communities, both human and natural.”

CR: “The Apical Ethical Cannabis Collective website describes the cannabis industry as ‘fast paced and bootstrapped.’ Can you elaborate?”

MU: “As with any new industry or startup company, the work seems to never end. Not only is there very rarely a formal, tested process on which to rely, but the rules of the game are constantly changing. The challenge is like changing a tire without stopping the car. You have to figure it out as you go. Most companies are comprised of a relatively small team. That is very energy expensive in terms of human capital.

“The cost of compliance is very high. That’s what I mean when I say ‘bootstrapped.’ Planning and paying for a facility with the appropriate quality, security, and environmental mitigation equipment requires a long runway and heavy capital. Workers in the cannabis space will often hear from employers that they simply can’t pay market rate for their services and work…that there isn’t enough cash.”

CR: “What are emerging companies doing wrong in terms of embracing and implementing ESG programs?”

MU: “Not thinking about it early enough and not incorporating it into the business strategy from the beginning. Some confuse ESG and the practices around inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility to be more like charitable giving. Something you do after the profits are made. But ultimately, ESG is about how you run your business every day.”

CR: “What can small operators, who employ from three to 20 employees, do to understand the benefits of ESG and implement their own programs and standard operating procedures?”

MU: “I think these small businesses are the ones with the potential to take the most action. Larger companies are inhibited by bureaucracy and red tape. Small businesses can be nimble, try things, fail fast, and try again, in an iterative path to true improvement for all parties affected or involved. Another big benefit: Done properly, ESG programs can be both sustained over the long term and their benefits quantified by cynical accounting.

“The best way to start implementing ESG is to be open to asking yourself questions. This includes identification of all stakeholders and externalities. The environment is almost always an important one.”   

CR: “What can the United States learn from Canadaand what can Canada learn from the U.S.in terms of their respective ESG implementations?”

MU: “In this case, it might be the blind leading the blind. I think we have much more to learn from the European Union and Japan in terms of how we incorporate the cost of externalities into our business and how we are accountable to society. We must create an industry that is built for our environment and all in societynot on its shoulders.”

WATCH CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER ON MARIIJUANA CHANNEL ONE

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Cannabis Consumption Lounges.

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, often confusing business environment, and dynamic regulation of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the increasingly popular trend of cannabis consumption lounges. While not permitted in most of North America (including, surprisingly, the majority of adult-use legal states), some jurisdictions are beginning to warm to the idea of what might materialize as something similar to alcohol bars, except for cannabis (and probably featuring fewer angry brawls). 

How might the cannabis industry differentiate itself from established mainstream lounge business segments such as coffee shops and taverns that focus on alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, and non-infused food? Will modern cannabis lounges borrow the speakeasy environment from a century ago? Or will they invent something entirely new?

 


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Cannabis

Consumption

Lounges

By Curt Robbins

 

 


In early June 2021, the state of Nevada passed AB341, legislation that permitted the tightly regulated legal operation of a limited number of cannabis consumption lounges.  While 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new law—particularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegas—won’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after. 

Typically progressive adult-use cannabis jurisdictions, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have mulled the idea of consumption lounges for years, Nevada is among the first to actually implement and regulate what is likely to become a robust network of specialized retail facilities (many of which will cater to tourists, a speciality of both Las Vegas and Reno). If successful, consumption lounges will soon be available to nearly every weed consumer in the state (two-thirds of whom reside in the Vegas metro area).

“I think this really solidifies us as the cannabis destination,” said Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of Bill AB341.

Lounges Appeal to Tourism

“Consumption lounges are so perfect for our tourism industry. The sooner we get out there, the more we’ll be looked upon as a marijuana-friendly city and state,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. Segerblom, a former state senator, led an earlier attempt to legalize cannabis consumption lounges in Nevada in 2017. He called the new law “a game changer.” 

“Done the right way, consumption lounges cannot only be beneficial to the public, but also to government coffers at all levels, adding jobs and additional tax revenue,” said David Farris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Planet 13 in Las Vegas, one of the city’s most famous adult-use dispensaries. 

In California, legislation was recently approved by the state’s Assembly that would allow licensed cannabis lounges to sell non-cannabis foods and drinkssomething that is prohibited under the Golden State’s existing adult-use cannabis laws passed back in 2016. 

The bill, AB 1034, was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom on behalf of the City of West Hollywood to better address the state’s position regarding marijuana lounges and allow the on-site consumption of non-infused beverages and foods. 

“Just like in bars and restaurants, people want to be able to socialize with friends while consuming cannabis,” said Tim Wright, CEO of Shasta Management in Imperial County, California. The company plans to in May open the “largest consumption lounge in the U.S.”

Evolution of Lounge Laws

While informal cannabis lounges have appeared throughout North America for decades, they typically have been either illegal underground operations or openly operating under what basically have been loopholes in local ordinances and state laws that allowed them to operate as private clubs. 

 

Examples include the bohemian Northwest Cannabis Club in Portland (a private lounge requiring membership that is tightly regulated by the local municipal government) and the trendy Tetra Lounge in Denver. The Tetra Lounge calls itself a social lounge and notes that it offers “private consumption” of cannabis that, like the Northwest Cannabis Club, requires customers to be members to legally dispense its services.

The first state to pass formal legislation in support of cannabis consumption lounges was Alaska in 2019, which amended its existing adult-use marijuana law with an on-site use option available to all licensed dispensaries. Colorado followed with 2019 legislation (HB 1234) that permitted limited lounges called “tasting rooms.” 

“Not having on-site consumption [in Alaska was] detrimental to the tourist industry. There [was] nowhere to smoke and it made [tourists] feel alienated,” said Jake Warden of SWOT Team Solutions in Anchorage. 

“Lawmakers’ approval and the governor’s enthusiasm for signing them into law indicate the state is ready to move forward with fulfilling Amendment 64’s promise to regulate marijuana like alcohol,” said Jordan Wellington of Denver lobbying firm VS Strategies regarding Colorado’s tasting room law shortly after it was passed.

Although yet to manifest as visitable retail establishments, the recent adult-use law passed in New York (S.854-A/A.1248-A) includes provisions for cannabis consumption lounges. Also of note, but not directly related to lounges, New York’s law allows cannabis consumption in any public space that permits the use of smoked tobacco (sorry, New York peeps, but this excludes beaches and public parks).

Interestingly, New York’s law is polar opposite that of Nevada in terms of ownership restrictions. While Nevada gives preference to existing licensed adult-use dispensaries for eligibility for lounge licenses (allowing only 20 non-dispensary licenses in the entire state), New York prohibits a consumption lounge license holder from also possessing an adult-use dispensary license. (Similarly, the Empire State prevents cultivation and processing/manufacturing licenses from owning retail dispensaries.) 

Connecticut Enters Adult-Use Fray

The most recent entrant to the adult-use legalization party is Connecticut, which on June 22 passed SB 1201. Although the new law does not itself directly permit consumption lounges, it includes language regarding potential implementation of lounges in the future. 

The state has committed to, no later than January 1, 2023, “make written recommendations concerning whether to authorize on-site consumption or events that allow for cannabis usage, including whether to establish a cannabis on-site consumption or event license.”

A review of the new Connecticut law brings to light an interesting and unique element wherein the state will require cities featuring populations of greater than 50,000 residents to “designate a place in the municipality in which public consumption of cannabis is permitted.” How this comes to fruition will be very interesting to observe. (Follow this series for updates as implementation of the new Connecticut adult-use law evolves.)

While this may give proponents of consumption lounges reason to celebrate, this language was followed by more sobering regulatory realities: A declaration that such amendments to the law “may prohibit the smoking of cannabis and the use of electronic cannabis delivery systems and vapor products containing cannabis in the outdoor sections of a restaurant,” for example.

However, in the reasons to celebrate column, Sec. 89 of the legislation, which becomes effective July 1, 2022, states that “no hotel, motel, or similar lodging shall prohibit the legal possession or consumption of cannabis in any nonpublic area of such hotel, motel, or similar lodging.” Nicely done, Connecticut. 

That’s a Wrap

While 18 U.S. states to date have adopted adult-use marijuana laws, most do not include provisions for marijuana consumption lounges. The success and impact of Nevada’s new lawparticularly in entertainment- and hospitality-smart Las Vegaswon’t begin to manifest until 2022, with the legislation going into effect Oct. 1, 2021 and licensing windows opening soon after.

Will other adult-use states follow in the footsteps of Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New York by adopting formal laws that recognize and regulate marijuana consumption lounges for those 21 and over? Only time will tell if this is the beginning of a larger wave of pot lounge culture (and commerce) that’s about to sweep the United States. 


CURT’S CANNABIS CORNER THE PODCAST: Join host Curt Robbins (Higher Learning LV) , co-host David Rheins (MJBA/MJNews) industry thought leaders Alex Brough (Cannabition/Kaneh Ventures) and Alana Armstrong (Alan Aldous) as they discuss how the mainstreaming of cannabis will go well beyond public consumption lounges, to include restaurants that feature infused menus, CHABA massage therapy, pot tourism, music & marijuana events, puff and paint, and even museum experiences.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Leafreport Delta-8 THC Market Survey

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry, often confusing business environment, and dynamic regulation of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about the exciting new hemp/cannabis molecule that is being widely marketed across America, delta-8 THCand how it is being marketed and sold across the United States. 


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

LEAFREPORT:

Delta-8 THC

Market Survey

By Curt Robbins

 


In June 2021, Leafreport released a market survey report regarding one of the hottest new phytomolecules to hit the market in a long time: Delta-8 THC. 

The report contained some shocking news for both consumers and industry professionals alike: The majority of the 38 products examined by Leafreport contained illegal levels of delta-9 THC and an incorrect amount of delta-8 that did not match package labelling. 

The sibling to isomer delta-9 THC, the delta-8 variant delivers roughly 50-75 percent of the psychoactivity of delta-9. Perhaps more significantly, delta-8 has gained the interest of wellness professionals due to its desirable characteristic of being less likely than delta-9 to produce negative side effects such as increased anxiety, discomfort, disorientation, and panic attacks.  

The biggest takeaways from the Leafreport delta-8 THC market report, authored by Canadian CBD journalist Gleb Oleinik and California-based nurse practitioner Eloise Theisen, are listed below.

  • 53 percent of the 38 delta-8 products surveyed were over the hemp legal limit for delta-9 THC (0.3 percent), containing up to 15.2 percent delta-9 THC.
  • 34 percent of the products surveyed did not clearly list their delta-8 content either via the package label or an online product description.
  • 68 percent of the products contained the wrong amount of delta-8 THC (different from product packaging).

“It’s kind of ironic because the whole point of these [delta-8] products is that they’re a legal alternative to delta-9 THC,” said report co-author Oleinik during a June 18 guest appearance on the Curt’s Cannabis Corner video podcast

“I work with patients who want to use cannabis as a treatment,” said Theisen. “Most of them are older adults, so they’re very concerned about the euphoric effects of delta-9. Delta-8 is being presented to them as having less psychoactivity and less euphoria. But I don’t think that the research really supports clinical implications yet for delta-8.” 

Said Oleinik, “The process used to make delta-8 from CBD actually creates a lot of delta-9 as a byproduct. If you don’t remove it after you do that, it’s going to stay in the product and it’s going to be illegal because of that.”

“They’re cutting corners there,” added Theisen. 

The issue of regulatory oversight and standard business procedures is an important one for ensuring that delta-8 products maintain adequate minimum quality levels and accurate packaging in an effort to avoid misleading consumers or producing adverse reactions that could have been avoided with accurate labeling. 

“In the production and manufacturing of these products, is there the proper protocol? Are those processors employing testing as part of that?,” asked David Rheins, Executive Director of the Marijuana Business Association in Seattle. “And who is doing it? Who is certifying those labs and against what standards?” 

“There seems to be no standard in terms of what’s mandated and then no enforcement even if there is a standard,” said Rheins.

Unfortunately, the implications of delta-8 products that list no delta-9 but offer significant doses of the molecule can be severe for both lifestyle consumers and patients.   

“We’re definitely seeing increased reports, thorough poison control, of delta-8 products where [consumers] are experiencing confusion, anxiety, increased heart rate, and vomiting. The question really is, is it a delta-8/delta-9 combination, is it a large dose of delta-9?” 

During the podcast, Theisen echoed Rheins regarding the lack of standardization within the industry. “We don’t have standardization for testing,” she said. “Every state sets their own levels. We’ve even heard reports of laboratories working with companies to produce the levels that the companies are looking for.”

Theisen said her biggest concern as a healthcare professional is potential residual solvents that may remain in products, even those that undergo testing for other substances. 

“The thing I always come back to is education. There’s a lack of education for consumers and I think [we need to] hold some of these companies and brands accountable,” she said. 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: “Branding Bud” Author David A. Paleschuck


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Branding Bud Author 

David A. Paleschuck

By Curt Robbins


 

Author David Paleschuck, a mainstream marketer who honed his craft working on mega brands like Pepsi, American Express and Microsoft has been involved in creating and marketing some of today’s leading cannabis brands (including DOPE). His new book, “Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis” is a must-read primer for any professional involved in product creation, branding, packaging, marketing or retailing.

This week on Curt’s Cannabis Corner, host Curt Robbins sat down with David Paleschuck (virtually), along with an international assemblage of marketing, branding and PR professionals ( Alana Armstrong, Alan Aldous, Toronto; Wesley Donohue, The 9th Block, Denver; Colleen Kibler, Maple Valley Pharms, Waterville, Maine; and David Rheins, MJNews, Seattle) to discuss the mainstreaming of marijuana, the emergence of grassroots canna brands, The 14 Cannabis Brand Archetypes and how Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, Big Pharma and Big Retail are changing the dynamic marketplace.

With Altria, Amazon and Canopy Growth all in the news this week, the subject of the commercialization of cannabis could not be more topical.

Curt’s Cannabis Corner is a series of educational articles and podcasts from technical writer, author and educator Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network.  The collection is designed especially for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this special—and newly legal—herb.

If you would like to be a guest on Curt’s Cannabis Corner, or have a suggestion for a CCC topic, please email us at: info@mjba.net

Turn On. Tune In. Catch the Buzz. Marijuana Channel One is a creation of MJBA Publishing LLC. Copyright @2021 All rights are reserved. For more information, contact us at: info@mjba.net #mjnews #MJChannelOne

 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Conversation with “Cannabinologist” Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Conversation with “Cannabinologist”

Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal

By Curt Robbins


 

Welcome to this week’s installation of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, a series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this special—and newly legal—herb.

This week on Curt’s Cannabis Corner, educator, author and host Curt Robbins takes a deep dive into the science of cannabis medicine with Dr Sunil Kumar Aggarwal. Based in Seattle, WA, Dr. Aggarwal, MD, PhD, FAAPMR, is a practicing physician, researcher and self-described “Cannabinologist” http://www.cannabinologist.org/.

Tune into this fascinating podcast as Curt and Dr Aggarwal go granular in a fact-based discussion of our evolving understanding of the endocannabinoid system, medical geography, the practice of cannabis medicine, and the complicated relationship that humans share with the cannabis plant.

Explore more installations of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, the educational series designed specifically to meet the needs of the working professional in legal hemp and cannabis, exclusively on MJNews Network.  

Flower One Announces Record Quarterly Revenue as the Top Flower Producer in the State of Nevada

First Quarter 2021 Guidance Reflects Record-Breaking Company Performance Following Successful Restructuring

NEVADA & CANADA:  Flower One Holdings Inc., the leading cannabis cultivator and producer in Nevada, is pleased to announce its record-breaking first quarter 2021 performance, including unaudited preliminary first quarter revenue guidance and operational highlights the Company has achieved in 2021 thus far.

“We are extremely proud of our team and the tremendous collaborative effort put forth by so many to successfully restructure Flower One and become the top producer in Nevada,” said Kellen O’Keefe, Flower One’s President and Interim CEO. “For us to have accomplished what we have under the circumstances was nothing short of remarkable and something our entire team can be very proud of. As a company, we have never been in a stronger position and will emerge from the pandemic a different company on an entirely new trajectory. We continue to break records month after month, ending April with all-time high monthly sales and the highest average selling price per pound in our company’s history. We are extremely well positioned for future growth as Vegas comes back online; and, we welcome the first Cookies store to the strip this week.”

First Quarter 2021 Performance Highlights:

  • The Company announces its first quarter 2021 preliminary unaudited revenue guidance of more than USD$13.5M, representing a record revenue quarter for the Company, surpassing the Company’s previous record revenue quarter of USD$11.9M in the third quarter of 20201.
  • As of March 2021, the Company is now the top flower provider in the state of Nevada, recognizing both the number one (Cookies) and number two (NLVO, the Company’s in-house brand) as top-selling flower brands in the state2;
  • In addition to holding the two top-selling flower brands, the Company is also the leading producer of distillate, bulk and white label flower sales in the state of Nevada;
  • The Company’s yielding cultivation analytics are reported up to 135.7 grams per plant through the first quarter of 2021, at an average cost per gram of USD$0.58. The Company has historically has reported its average cost per gram to be between USD$0.40-0.69;
  • Through updates to its post-harvesting process (drying, curing, trimming and packaging), the Company has recognized over 300% growth in its processing capacity in the first quarter of 2021, in comparison to fourth quarter of 2020.

1 The Company expects to announce the date for its filing of the fiscal 2020 year and first quarter 2021 in the coming weeks.
2 Data from BDS Analytics (BDSA) from January, February and March 2021.

Completion of Debt Restructuring:

The Company announced, on April 14, 2021, the approval of its convertible debenture resolutions and corresponding debenture amendments (the “Debentures”). As a result of the approved amendments, the Company has exercised its right (the “New Conversion Right”) to convert 60% of the principal amount of the Debentures for units comprised of one common share and ⅚ of a warrant (each, a “Unit”) – resulting in the total principal amount of the 9.5% unsecured debentures due March 28, 2022 being reduced from CAD$42,471,000 to CAD$16,988,400; and, the total principal amount of the 9.5% unsecured convertible debentures due November 15, 2022 being reduced from CAD$9,276,000 to CAD$3,710,400.

 

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: Medical Cannabis Misinformation

Welcome to the next installment in the series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about medical cannabis misinformation, a problem that has plagued the producers, processors, and consumers of the herb since the early 1900s. At the time, a wave of anti-narcotic legislation spurred by food and drug purity activism (a popular progressive movement after the turn of the century) was sweeping the state governments of the United States (led by, ironically, California in 1913). 

The era, sometimes referred to as “reefer madness,” involved the first generation of American pot prohibitionists, a small cabal of powerful bureaucrats aligned with corporate barons, all motivated by the common goal of cultural and corporate protectionism and characterized by pronounced bigotry.

This first wave of marijuana misinformation managers—who carefully crafted urban legends regarding supposed harms delivered by the herb—operated in sharp contrast to the modern carpetbagging companies that also make false claims about the plant, only theirs proclaim inflated benefits in an effort to spur sales.  


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER 

Medical Cannabis

Misinformation

By Curt Robbins


A study released in March 2021 investigated the validity of medical cannabis information commonly available via the internet. The research examined the occurrence of phrases such as “marijuana health” and “cannabis benefits” in the lay press, as located using the Google search engine and the marketing service Buzzsumo (a fee-based “bank of social engagement data”).

The study sorted the information sources and articles retrieved into 81 categories. It revealed that a staggering 80 percent of the information retrieved was false. In addition, the study’s authors deemed only five percent of it to be “true” and factual.  

“Health claims were compared to…existing [clinical] trial evidence and categorized as not true, partly true, and true. Disagreements were resolved by discussion,” reported the study’s authors regarding their inclusion and evaluation methodology.

The researchers concluded that “the inadequacy of the current evidence enables the proliferation of untrue claims, which inform the current social discourse on the health benefits of cannabis” and warned that patients and wellness professionals “should be cautious consumers of health information on the internet given the current state of the evidence and proliferation of false claims.”

Non-Clinical Data Not Considered

It should be noted that this study compared the health claims that it found on the internet to “existing [clinical] trial evidence.” Much of the body of credible research regarding the medicinal efficacy of marijuana has been revealed not in clinical trials involving humans, but by animal studies (labelled in vivo). Other times, valid results are obtained from “test tube research” involving no living creatures (called in vitro studies). 

Many clinical practitioners and scientists believe that the data revealed by research outside of human trials is of real value, although it is objectively less reliable and yields less practical or usable data than that provided by carefully executed clinical trials. 

Expensive placebo-controlled double- or triple-blind human trials involving dozens or hundreds of carefully qualified test subjects are the gold standard for researchers in any area of medical science. However, the results of studies involving animals such as rodents often provide valuable insight into underlying biochemical mechanisms that are common to a range of mammals, beyond humans. 

The 2021 study, however, strategically did not encompass non-clinical trial evidence, creating what could be argued to be a bias in its data capture methodology (and, by extension, its conclusions). If the study had limited research to peer-reviewed journals involving both clinical and non-clinical published results, a significantly larger percentage of the articles almost certainly would have been categorized as true, beyond the meager 4.9 percent reported.

Dealing with Misinformation

Misinformation and urban legend have plagued humans and their businesses since the dawn of organized societies. It’s no secret to consumers that, sometimes, companies and their marketing campaigns make claims that are based not in scientific research, but rather in the greed of their owners or investors.

The internet and social media are rife with urban legends spurred by arguably unethical marketing claims from hemp and cannabis companies throughout North America. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the issue of misinformation in the modern legal cannabis industry and its real impact on patients and lifestyle consumers.

Savvy entrepreneurs should obviously strive to ensure that their medical cannabis information sources are reputable. Many companies, including the author’s clients, refuse to develop content marketing materialssuch as product descriptions, blog articles, white papers, or other promotional assetsthat cite sources outside of peer-reviewed research studies published in reputable journals. 

While most organizations do not limit themselves to research results from clinical studies involving humans, the reliability of medical claims is obviously considerably greater when based on the results of large-scale, comprehensive human trials (more of which would benefit the industry).

Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™ by sharing this article far and wide!

Curt’s Cannabis Corner: What Are Flavonoids?

Welcome to the next installment of Curt’s Cannabis Corner, a new series of educational articles from technical writer Curt Robbins at Higher Learning LV and MJNews Network. This collection is intended for cannabis and hemp industry professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of the nuanced biochemistry of this specialand newly legalherb. 

This week readers learn about flavonoids, a third category of wellness molecule produced by the hemp/cannabis/marijuana plantbeyond psychotropic cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes. 

Please remember to #LearnAndTeachOthers™ by sharing this article far and wide!


CURT’S

CANNABIS

CORNER

What are Flavonoids?

By Curt Robbins

 


Most cannabis consumers are familiar with cannabinoids and, more specifically, the two commercially dominant examples produced by the cannabis/hemp plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). However, the herb produces two other families of wellness molecules beyond the set of roughly 146 cannabinoids discovered to date: Terpenes and flavonoids. 

The functional distinction between these two families of phytomolecules is clear. Terpenes employ aroma to protect hemp and cannabis plants from pests and predators while simultaneously attracting pollinators (insects or human cultivators). Likewise, flavonoids perform the same basic evolutionary function, but do so with plentiful pigment rather than abundant aroma. 

Modern peer-reviewed research has revealed that both terpenes and flavonoids possess value in the treatment of literally hundreds of disease states and adverse health conditions. All three families of chemical compounds produced by hemp have exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This makes these phytomolecules potential therapeutic agents in the treatment of common diseases such as cancer, arthritis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and a variety of eating and sleeping disorders. 

The following excerpt from the Higher Learning LV™ course Cannabis Core Concepts will teach you more.


Overview

Flavonoids, sometimes called bioflavonoids, are the third major family of wellness molecules produced by the hemp plant. The lack of attention to flavonoids by hemp industry professionals and the scientific community has inspired some thought leaders to label them “the red headed stepchildren of phytomolecules.” 

Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant chemicals found in a large number of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. These special compounds are responsible for the sometimes vivid colors of the plants that produce them. Perhaps of greater value to humans, they also have demonstrated significant medicinal efficacy—most notably anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Like terpenes, flavonoids are produced by thousands of plant types in nature beyond cannabis. In fact, tens of thousands of plant species collectively make more than 6,000 types of flavonoids. Of these, about 20 appear in the hemp genome (DNA). 

Flavonoids = Pigmentation

The Latin root of “flavonoid” is flavus. Literally interpreted, flavus means “yellow” (it is sometimes translated as “organic/natural yellow”). Despite the understandably common misinterpretation of the root term’s meaning as “flavor” in modern English, flavonoids serve the pigment-driven evolutionary function of attracting pollinators and dissuading pests for the plants that produce them (flavor, for the most part, is provided by terpenes).

In this respect, flavonoids are the visual equivalent of the aroma produced by terpenes. Both serve as sensory siren songs for pollinating insects (of critical value to the propagation of the species) while simultaneously warning predators to stay away and seek their meal elsewhere.

The Butterfly Effect

Interesting, flavonoids provide the color for not only thousands of plants in nature, but also some of the insects that feed on them. In fact, one of the most photographically coveted insects in nature, the butterfly, maintains an intimate relationship with flavonoids and the plants that produce them.  

According to a 1994 article by Nicolas Wade entitled “How Nature Makes a Butterfly Wing” that appeared in The New York Times, flavonoids are responsible for the sometimes vibrant dyes in the wings of butterflies. 

“In the pupil stage, the patterned wing cells develop a rainbow of tones as each crafts a scale of a single hue,” wrote Wade. It seems that butterflies are among insect species that are incapable of producing flavonoids. “The rich palette of dyes in butterflies’ wings are all derived from…flavonoids, which the insects cannot make themselves and must sequester from their food plants,” he continued. 

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