The intricate world of drugs and the underlying reasons behind their prohibition. We uncover the similarities and differences between the psychedelic and cannabis industries. Both highly regulated, these industries present unique challenges, including the need for extensive research into potential therapeutic benefits and widespread consumer education. To navigate this fascinating landscape, the insightful Emma Beckerle joins us to discuss. 

  • Differences between plant medicines and compounds
  • What and how micro dosing works 
  • Research, Cannabis, Veterans 
  • and so much more

About Emma:

Emma has spent her career leading, building & scaling rapid-growth businesses in the travel, restaurant and cannabis industries. Emma’s track record of success includes a $390M acquisition of a Series C start-up by Grubhub in 2018; being a Founding Member of LeafLink Financial, one of the first and largest debt financing facilities in the cannabis industry to date; driving the Go-to-Market strategy for a direct-to-consumer ACH product for one of the most valuable technology company in cannabis; and helping raise over $400M across the organizations she has worked for and with.

ABO Performance was born from Emma’s passion for small businesses and deep experience in leadership, scaling & fundraising.

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The Dime is a top 50 Cannabis Podcast 

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Nature vs. Nurture plays a critical role in cannabis. Understanding how and why these traits are expressed can help the cannabis industry how to create a consistent, reproducible product. 

This week we dive into cannabis genomics with Dr. Daniela Vergara, Founder Agricultural Genomics Foundation. We discuss 

Theory behind breeding 
Defining synthetic plant-based or full synthetic
Minor Cannabinoids
Cannabis genomics
And so much more

About Dr. Daniela Vergara

Guest Links 

Dr. Daniela Vergara is an evolutionary biologist, data analyst, educator, scientific writer, and public speaker. In addition to her multiple publications, she founded and directs a non-profit organization, the Agricultural Genomics Foundation (AGF; AGF aims to make hemp and cannabinoid science available to a broad public. Vergara has been part of e scientific teams at private companies including Steep Hill, Inc. who are a global leader in agricultural testing, and the biotech company Front Range Biosciences.

Follow us: Our Links.

At Eighth Revolution (8th Rev), we provide services from capital to cannabinoid and everything in between in the cannabinoid industry.

8th Revolution Cannabinoid Playbook is an Industry-leading report covering the entire cannabis supply chain 

The Dime is a top 5% most shared  global podcast 

The Dime is a top 50 Cannabis Podcast 

Sign up for our playbook here:

🎥 YouTube:  The Dime

📸 Instagram:  The Dime

🐣 Twitter: Bryan Fields, Kellan Finney

🎙 The Dime Podcast: 

[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: What’s up guys? Welcome back to the episode of The Dime. I’m Brian Fields with me as always, this Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guest, Dr. Daniela Bera, founder of Agricultural Genomics Foundation, Dr. Daniela, how you doing? Good. How are you? Excited to talk to you, Kellen. How are you doing?

[00:00:19] Kellan Finney: Doing really good. Really excited. Excited to talk to Daniella, uh, especially cuz it’s a, a science-based episode finally. So

[00:00:26] Bryan Fields: it certainly is. I think it’s really important though, we get to exactly where Dr. Daniella’s current location is so that we can make that little East coast, west Coast Palo. So, Dr.

[00:00:34] Daniella, your location please. Bloomfield,

[00:00:38] Dr. Daniela Vergara: New

[00:00:39] Bryan Fields: York.

[00:00:40] Kellan Finney: I think we were talking though before the show, and she might have some loyalties on the west coast though

[00:00:47] Bryan Fields: she certainly might have some loyalties and experience on the West Coast, but her current location would put her on coast team, so that is another one for us.

[00:00:54] So you’re, yeah, I’m making up the rules as we go for, I like it. I [00:01:00] like it. You know, Dr. Danielle, if our listeners aren’t familiar by you, can you give a background about

[00:01:04] Dr. Daniela Vergara: yourself? Uh, okay. Where, where do you want me to start? Like, I am Colombian originally. Um, and I moved to the US to do a PhD in evolutionary biology.

[00:01:19] I then met, who’s now my husband, and decided to stay. And when, and we moved to Colorado. I did a postdoc there at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I still have a lecture and researcher appointment there. Um, and that’s where I started studying cannabis. It was by chance I was gonna study sunflowers, but you know, it was a Friday night with my husband and his friend, and then it turned into cannabis that Friday night.

[00:01:51] Um, and, uh, From then I started doing genomics, um, and bioinformatics, which was the lab that I was [00:02:00] in at Nolan King’s lab at U Boulder. And he and I still have a strong collaborative environment and a grant that’s ongoing with one of his, uh, graduate students. And then a, on late 2021, I moved to New York State.

[00:02:14] Okay. Before that I worked for the private industry. I was funded by Steep Hill Labs, so I worked for Steep Hill Labs for about two years. Um, while doing research at CU Boulder and then the r and d team from Steep Hill got purchased by Front Range Biosciences, so I moved to Front Range Biosciences and continued doing research and then there were some financial issues with Front Range and I had to find a job.

[00:02:40] I looked for a job, found this one at Cornell Cooperative Extension, and moved for three days between Colorado and now where I am in Bloomfield,

[00:02:50] Bryan Fields: New York. I love it. So for our listeners that maybe are un familiar about genomics, can you give them the, the basic definition of what that means and how it work fits into cannabis?[00:03:00]

[00:03:00] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Absolutely. So genomics is the study of entire genomes, right? So a genome is all of the collection of dna, n a, of genetic material of an organism. So all of the, you know, agcs, you know, ninth grade, like all of your d n a, all of the collection. So one genome. I have a genome of myself, right? I have my genome, right?

[00:03:19] Brian and Kellyann, they have their own genomes. If we compare the three genomes, we’re comparing our three genomes. They’re gonna be similarities and differences. Um, and then what I did was that I looked at genomes in cannabis, so hemp type, marijuana type, and I look at differences and similarities. Steep Hill was very interested.

[00:03:40] I I come, my PhD was on. Sex. Why is there sex? Why do organisms reproduce sexually instead of cloning themselves? Like that was, and this was a question that Darwin himself asked, like, why would organisms not clone themselves? And so my thesis was on that. So when I [00:04:00] jumped into cannabis, I was coming with that mindset and I was interested like, oh, it has monia, so, so what people call Hermes.

[00:04:07] So it has monia individuals and males and females, and that was what I was interested in. But, you know, I started being paid by the industry and Steep Hill was like cannabinoid jeans. So I started doing cannabinoid jeans, which I absolutely love. Like at the beginning it was like, oh, I don’t wanna, but then I was, this is so fascinating and I absolutely love them.

[00:04:29] So I really know a lot about cannabinoid jeans. Um, and that’s what I did for a, for, I have several papers on cannabinoid jeans. That’s, so when we

[00:04:37] Bryan Fields: say

[00:04:37] Kellan Finney: cannabinoid genes, are you referring to the sequence and the D n A that codes for like the enzymes that make these cannabinoids? Is that what you’re looking

[00:04:46] Dr. Daniela Vergara: at?

[00:04:46] Absolutely. That’s a great way to say it. Yeah. The enzymes that make T H C A or C B D A or C B C A, yes.

[00:04:54] Bryan Fields: Why would

[00:04:55] Kellan Finney: that be valuable to like a steep hill? Just kind of like filling in the P puzzle pieces, you know what I mean? Does it [00:05:00] help with economics for

[00:05:01] Dr. Daniela Vergara: them? Well, and at the end of the day, if you want to, for example, silence the gene for hemp, you don’t want hemp to produce any cannabinoid.

[00:05:08] Do you need to have the sequence to know where do I silence it or how do I silence it? Or if you want to enhance it, You need the sequence. So because at cannabinoids are the most valuable thing from marijuana, right? Both medically or recreationally. That was the thing. And we didn’t know much about the cannabinoids at the time.

[00:05:31] Now we know much more, but that’s how I started in my cannabis stuff, was mostly cannabinoids.

[00:05:38] Bryan Fields: So give us, give us a breakdown on one of the things that surprised you when you started getting interested in in it. So in

[00:05:46] Dr. Daniela Vergara: cannabis in general or on Canada? Yeah, in cannabis in general. So in cannabis in general.

[00:05:51] Okay. So first, my dad is a university professor. I grew up in a university. I’ve never left a university. I come from academia. [00:06:00] My uncle is a PhD. My cousin’s a PhD. Like that’s what my family did. You know, like I didn’t know that you could do other things in life until I got into the cannabis industry where I met, for example, for the first time, I’m marketer.

[00:06:13] Or, you know, there were, uh, architects or, right. And uh, and, and that was like, oh, this is an industry, this is like, my mindset completely shifted. And I don’t know if you guys have prospects with Marine McNamara. Uh, from cannabis trainers in in Colorado, she taught me how to talk to people. Like I was coming from academia and I was used to talking to academics.

[00:06:39] Yeah. And I didn’t know, and besides English is my second language, so I didn’t know that much of the jargon from academia is jargon from academia. Like people do not really. Use those terms. So it was Maureen that, that taught me like, okay, now you need to talk to the rest of the world. And, and so she, she taught me how to, how to do that.[00:07:00]

[00:07:00] And it opened my, my world basically like, you know, like besides academia, there’s other things in life. I, I didn’t really understand that until working in the cannabis industry.

[00:07:11] Bryan Fields: So are, are breeders switching, slightly, switching gates are breeders when they cross breeding the, the different strains, are there an understanding of what they’re doing?

[00:07:18] Is it guest test revised? Take us through the process now and what you think should be actually

[00:07:22] Dr. Daniela Vergara: be happening. Okay. Yeah, that’s a great question because at the end of the day, evolutionary biology is the, um, theory behind breeding, right? You’re selecting for plants whose phenotypes you like, whether it’s THC or whether it’s height or whether it’s.

[00:07:39] Lemon smell. So when you are breeding for a plant, you’re choosing individuals that have physical characteristics or phenotypes that you desire and those phenotypes, so those physical characteristics come usually in parallel with some sort of genomic trait, right? Like it for there, there’s some characteristics that are very, [00:08:00] very, Um, heritable.

[00:08:02] So heightened humans is the perfect example. If your parents are tall, it’s likely that you’re gonna be tall. So if you select the tallest individuals, it’s very likely that you’re gonna have tall offspring, right? In cannabis, ideally, we would be able to do that and we would be able to, um, associate physical characteristics with particular genomic locations.

[00:08:25] And we know, for example, for THC that there’s a particular gene. A particular sequence that gives you the possibility of having a lot of THC now every single physical characteristic. Is a, is a product of genes and environment, so nature and nurture. So if you grow your, your cannabis in, in shitty environments, it’s probably not gonna produce as much cannabinoids as it could produce if you grew it in a very good environment with good lights or good nutrients.

[00:08:55] So, so yeah. So the idea of starting the genome is, at the end of the day, being [00:09:00] able to predict, uh, what’s gonna happen. Is your plan gonna be a female or a male? If it’s gonna be ha have high THC or not for hemp, for example, if it’s gonna produce big, eh, size seeds or uh, the fiber, is it gonna be tall or all of those things, right?

[00:09:19] Bryan Fields: So are, are breeders now, when they make, looking into making those decisions, are they thinking about that and then are they making tests in order to try to correlate that? Or is it kind of a, a guest test for advisor where they, they, they take two, look at two different strains and they say, these two we think are the strongest, and then we cross read those.

[00:09:34] Do you have any idea on how that goes today typically, and what you think people can do in order to do a more effective job?

[00:09:40] Dr. Daniela Vergara: So there are some traits, you know, whether. Your plant, you, there are some sex tests, for example, that you can, you can know whether your plant is gonna be a male. So yes, if you’re breeding and you wanna know whether that plant is gonna be a male, you can do a sex test.

[00:09:59] It doesn’t tell you if [00:10:00] it’s gonna be asis. Right. If it’s gonna be a Herma or that, or if you, if you stress it out, if it’s gonna produce Poland. But yeah, for males you have, we, there is a possibility of doing it for THC also. Flowering times, there’s also, so, yes. I don’t think that breeders for marijuana in particular have, there are some that use these.

[00:10:24] Um, there’s some companies in out West usually that are using some of these techniques, but breeders in general, like the breeder that breeds instilling closets and basements, I, I don’t think that they’re using any of these techniques.

[00:10:39] Kellan Finney: How useful do you think it is to, for breeders to actually get the genomics of say, two different strains, and then try to piece together what they think the offspring is gonna have from a characteristic standpoint?

[00:10:53] How close are we to like being able to do something like that? Does, is that, does that make sense?

[00:10:59] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yeah, it [00:11:00] does make sense. And I think that for particular traits, we, we can Right for, yeah. Again, for cannabinoids, for, um, sex. We can predict, um, or we can tell you how the plant is gonna be when it’s very tiny.

[00:11:14] When it’s small. There’s other traits that we have no clue. Like I, I don’t think that we know much about what terpene, like terpenes are a big kind of worms. Um, but I don’t know if it, if it’s gonna be good for a breeder that is breeding low scale in their basement. I don’t know whether that’s a good idea, because if you look at.

[00:11:37] Other crops, like if you look at corn for example, you have big companies that are breeding companies that are the ones that do that. And then the farmer already buys the seeds from these companies. And to be honest, breeding at a large scale is not an easy endeavor. [00:12:00] Like you need highly qualified personnel, and especially if you’re doing.

[00:12:04] Marker assisted selection, which is what I’m talking about, where you look at the DNA in order to select for those individuals that whose DNAs you like because they’re related to a trait that you like, right? That is not easy, that is not uneasy by informatic task, especially if you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of plants.

[00:12:23] Um, so, so I don’t know how, I think that people need to understand genomics and understand because. I think that that makes it easy for them to understand what the companies are doing, especially if the companies may not have your best interest as a farmer. Um, that allows you to understand more of what the company is doing.

[00:12:45] How is the company doing it? When is the company doing it? Why is the company doing it right? And that a allows you to make more, uh, educated decisions, but I don’t know if you necessarily need to be the breeder [00:13:00] yourself. You mentioned

[00:13:01] Bryan Fields: marker

[00:13:02] Kellan Finney: assisted selection, uh, selection, right? And so there’s kind of two different buckets as, as it stands in terms of trying to get, uh, a plant to have a specific characteristics, right?

[00:13:16] So marker select selected is one. What is the other one? Is it uh, actually going into manipulating the genome itself to create that characteristic? Um, like genetic engineering, for example. Providing that that gene to the plant is that kind of technology that’s possible within the breeding process?

[00:13:37] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yes.

[00:13:38] That is a technology that is possible within the breeding process. It’s not easy again. And then you need a molecular biologist that actually can take the gene and take and put it there. Right. And, and do that stuff. Um, it’s not easy. It’s possible it’s been done right. Like that is gmo, right? Like that is such a modified organism.

[00:13:59] Um, [00:14:00] it depends on where you draw the line of what is A G M O and what is not a G M O. Um, because there are things that do not necessarily occur in nature, right? Like seedless watermelon, they were bred for, I don’t know if they, I don’t think that they were genetically in engineered, but in nature alone, if you, we were not to touch nature at all, that wouldn’t have happened.

[00:14:25] Seedless watermelons, right? Or. right? Like that is a lot of breeding that went into Ash Chihuahua and if you see all of the dogs, there is a cost for the amount of inbreeding. Like when you think about Ash Chihuahua, you don’t picture a German Shepherd. You picture Ash Chihuahua and you know that they’re very different.

[00:14:50] They’re used for different things, and there’s a lot of inbreeding that went into that. You know, like father mating. Daughter mating, father, mating [00:15:00] brother, right? Like there’s a lot of inbreeding and that comes with consequences. All of those nasty diseases like cancer or these ulcers that these dogs have due to inbreeding, that comes with consequences and it also comes with consequences in plants.

[00:15:18] And now with genetic engineer, I mean, I guess that it depends on your personal susceptibility. Whether you go to the store and eat strawberries that are polypoid, right? That are these huge strawberries that look like an orange that is also developed in the lab. Um, so I mean, I am a big g m proponent. Um, I give talks about GMOs.

[00:15:41] I have my issues with GMOs. Yes. But yeah.

[00:15:44] Bryan Fields: Where do you see the, the line. Where do I see the line? Yeah, you said, it says, you said it depends on where you see the line with GMOs and in cannabis. So where do you see the line with is what you think is GMO and what is [00:16:00] non GMO for what is currently happening?

[00:16:02] Dr. Daniela Vergara: So, in my opinion, and this is my definition of GMOs, if you ha if you need a lab in order to do it, that is G M O. If I can do it on my closet, on my my basement, that that is not. So if you’re just

[00:16:14] Kellan Finney: naturally breeding and doing kind of like the Mandel process, right? Um, with his beans, for those of you who don’t know, it’s a great thing to go look up, uh, Nelson Mandel.

[00:16:24] But if you’re doing that, you, I wouldn’t count that as G M O either, because I mean plants do will do that on their own, right? Naturally, we just help facilitate it and actively put. Like the two tall people together, hope, hoping they fall in love, I guess you could say. Right.

[00:16:41] Dr. Daniela Vergara: So, okay. So first I think, okay, first, like Gregory Mendel had a lot of time, he was a monk.

[00:16:47] I, yeah. I’m assuming that monks have a lot of time. Hopefully, I don’t really know much about the life of a monkey except for him that was just crossing peace, you know, like, [00:17:00] but he’s dedicated. Exactly. Uh, but again, even if you are breeding, like all of these breeds of dogs have been the work of multiple generations.

[00:17:15] That probably didn’t happen out of the blue, like there were dedicated. Mendels that were breeding for these dogs. Same for, you know, all of the species or, or brassica. I think it’s a greatest example. Brassica, the wild mustard is the same, is the same species for, for, um, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts is the same species.

[00:17:43] So you selected Yes. Yeah, exactly. That phase is the correct phase. What exactly? So Kale, you selected for the flowers. Brussel sprouts for the lateral buds. Cauliflower for the flower. Right. And it’s the same species. It didn’t happen. Willynilly out in the [00:18:00] wild like it was work that that went into that.

[00:18:04] Those things I could maybe, if I dedicate my entire life, I could do it in my. Shower, right? I don’t need a lab. Like I don’t need to introduce a gene, right? So in my opinion, those are not GMOs. What is a GMO A GMO is when you necessarily you need a lab. You need a lab in order to do that. Whether it’s polyp, ployed because you added chemicals cautiously and then right, or whatever it is.

[00:18:32] But you need a lab. So are we talking

[00:18:36] Bryan Fields: synthetic cannabinoids? Is this where we’re kind of, we’re moving towards. Is this what we’re talking about?

[00:18:41] Dr. Daniela Vergara: I, I wasn’t going there, but if you wanna go there, let’s, well,

[00:18:44] Bryan Fields: I, I, I’m just curious, right? Like, I’m trying to, like a, attach the lines because we talk about synthetic cannabinoids and then what is naturally occurring in the plant.

[00:18:51] So I’m curious to know like, where is this line? Because in cannabis it always feels like everything is very gray and it turns out like everything kind of just ends up in [00:19:00] there. So is this, are we in synthetic cannabinoids or are we talking about something different?

[00:19:04] Kellan Finney: I mean, could you classify a synthetic cannabinoid as a cannabinoid that’s manufactured from a genetically modified organism?

[00:19:12] Dr. Daniela Vergara: No, I think that those are more like chemically producing the lab. Right. But if, if I were to produce GM O cannabis, what would I do? I think I would make this as resistant plants. I think I would make, um, maybe plants that produce a bunch, like they yield a bunch, like. What, 35%? T hc 75, you know, like something to the moon.

[00:19:40] Yeah. Like ultra lemon, 75%. Yeah. You know, like the huge trichomes, like I would just do, you know, like a, a huge tricom or, or multiple mi I would actually make trichomes grow in the leaves and in the stamps. And those are not regulated. They only regulate the bug. So why, why

[00:19:59] Bryan Fields: [00:20:00] has anyone done that? Because

[00:20:03] Dr. Daniela Vergara: engineer the plant.

[00:20:04] Exactly. And in order for you to do that, you need a lab. And in order for you to have a lab that has these capacities, it’s usually universities that have that. And in order for you to do that, you need federal legalization. Yeah. You cannot take marijuana into a lab. And I mean, yeah, you can take C B D, I guess.

[00:20:23] Yeah.

[00:20:24] Bryan Fields: So staying on synthetic cannabinoids because it’s, it’s a very hot topic. How, how do we define that and how then we ensure that the, the end customers understand what they’re consuming, whether or not it is naturally occurring in a plan or, or not.

[00:20:40] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Sy is, is synthetic cannabinoids a hot topic? Is that really, I didn’t know.

[00:20:43] Kellan Finney: I mean, if you think like Delta eight and Delta 10, right? A lot of those cannabinoids have kind of proliferated a lot of these markets and so. I mean the, it’s just tough. Cause a lot of these can, a lot of the cannabinoids, so like the federal government says that [00:21:00] like the reason Delta eight is legal right now mm-hmm.

[00:21:02] Is because it’s like a loophole around Delta nine because the cannabis plant technically only makes Delta nine th thc. And so cannabis, the plant is illegal because it has Delta nine t hc. Right. And so if they’re making Delta a t hc. It’s technically legal, right? And they’re saying that it’s naturally occurring cuz it’s in low levels in the plant.

[00:21:26] But I, I personally have never seen a cannabis plant with Delta eight levels in it that high at all, honestly. Um, and so that’s a, an argument for another day, but if you’re able to manipulate the genome of cannabis to manufacture this Delta eight cannabinoid that was considered synthetic, is it a way around the, the federal laws regarding Delta nine, T H c.

[00:21:50] Dr. Daniela Vergara: So, okay. So I think, is that defining what is a synthetic canna? You know, I think it’s a difficult thing, right? Because yeah, [00:22:00] it’s something that you do in the lab, right? So I can take, I don’t know, T hc, like delta nine THC and do it in the lab or from delta nine, then produce delta eight, or from thc, then produce cbn, right?

[00:22:14] And then at the end of the day, the plant does produce. T H C A, right? Delta nine, t h c a. And then when we heat it up, decarboxylation, then you have Delta nine T hc, and then it ages and oxidation. And then you have C B N, right? And then the difference between T H C A Delta nine and delta eight is a bond between twos.

[00:22:39] And so it’s, it’s kind of very easy to go from one place to the other. And I have analyzed data that has Delta eight in low quantities, but it is present. But there are other cannabinoids. There are other synthetic cannabinoid, it’s like the spice thing, right? That are very, [00:23:00] very toxic. So there are cannabinoids that are produced.

[00:23:06] Therapeutically, right? So you have all of these drugs like Epidiolex or uh, dronabinol or Navone that are produced in the lab, but they are based on what the plant produced. But there’s other cannabinoids like that or the spice that are not produced by the plant. And, um, Are much stronger. Right? So Delta nine T HC is a partial agonist of the endocannabinoid system and it’s partial.

[00:23:47] And that’s a partial agonist, right? And that is compared to our own cannabinoids that we produce our endo cannabinoids. Then you have this other synthetic cannabinoid. It’s like that Alpha is the one that I [00:24:00] know the most. Cause I wrote at some point about it. It’s not partial. It’s entirely an agonist, so it is much stronger.

[00:24:11] And so I, I don’t know. I, I think that we need to define what those things are and what is synthetic and what is not, and it is if it’s synthetic plant-based or if it’s full synthetic, that has completely been engineered in the lab. I think that those defin, those definitions are, are important.

[00:24:29] Bryan Fields: A hundred percent.

[00:24:29] And and that’s really why I wanted you to clarify that because it is so complex and so difficult. So for the people who are making decisions down in DC who are unsure of some of these nuances and details, it just layers on the complication that when these rulings go down and it’s like, well, it’s not as black and white as that.

[00:24:44] So for example, when I was in Miami, someone offered me T H C P and I had no idea what T HCP was. And they said, well, it’s like T H C O but better. And I was like, define better. And was frightened, right? Like to think that like this was something that could all of a sudden pop up and they’re just like [00:25:00] literally going down the alphabet, right?

[00:25:01] L m n, op. Like, is this really what we’re doing here, guys? Like that? That’s what I was fearful of. Like how, how, how are we doing this? How are we defining this? And is there any sort of basis before like quote unquote better? So your thoughts.

[00:25:15] Kellan Finney: Better is just the pharmacokinetics, right? So T H C P has seven carbons on the Alcan tail, I think instead of normal five, which is a Delta nine T hc.

[00:25:26] And so it binds better. Right. And that’s also what’s going on with uh, the Alpha Pak. Is that correct? Dr. Daniella, right? It just, it sits in your CD one receptor longer, so it causes that your high lasts longer, and it’s a more intense feeling because it’s just sitting in that enzyme in your brain for a lot longer.

[00:25:45] But,

[00:25:46] Bryan Fields: but my fear right, is that a consumer walks into a store and doesn’t understand the differences between they won’t cannabinoids and grabs a product that goes, ah, t h ccp like. Just gonna get high, right? Ask the person behind the counter that’s selling the unlicensed products and he is like, yeah, [00:26:00] you’ll get high, has no idea.

[00:26:01] It goes home, has a terrible experience, and is immediately offput by cannabis A and B. Like if we could have a really bad reaction setting off, you know, a negative sentiment towards the industry, when ultimately what is, what is he consuming? And

[00:26:13] Kellan Finney: this brings up a really good point from kind of this trend within breeders right now.

[00:26:17] And so I don’t know if you’ve heard, there’s a couple breeders out in California that are. That have high, like T HCV strains. Right. And so T HCV is just one less, two less carbons. Right? It’s three. Three less

[00:26:32] Bryan Fields: cumber carbon, I think. Yeah. Yeah. I think,

[00:26:33] Kellan Finney: I can’t remember. Right. It’s just they mess with the, the chain.

[00:26:36] So again, now we’re seeing these plants be bred to make these minor cannabinoids that could have stronger interactions than what someone would be used to with cannabis. Like what is your thoughts on, on those kind of. Trends from a breeding perspective.

[00:26:54] Dr. Daniela Vergara: I think it’s awesome. Great. I I, I love that they’re going for something else besides [00:27:00] tht is that cannabis is, look, I have been a cannabis consumer for a very long time, but my taste is kind of like a yes no type of thing.

[00:27:11] You know? It’s like, yes, this tastes good, and no it doesn’t, and it’s usually a yes. I am a great eater. You can invite me to eat anything, and I’m always gonna thank it. So just don’t eat anything I cook, you know, for your safety. Um, but, um, so when I, I didn’t believe all of these things that, you know, cannabis people said like, oh, and this one smells like blah, blah, blah.

[00:27:33] And I was like, really? Until two things happened. First I started working for Steep Hill and they threw a bunch of data at me and I started analyzing the data. And it’s like, yeah, this is true. There’s a bunch of different compounds that are produced in different ratios, different strains, produce different things.

[00:27:48] Um, Straight names do not mean much. It doesn’t matter. But in any case, yes, there’s a bunch of different things. And then I was pregnant and when I was pregnant I smelled everything and I was, [00:28:00] I was selected to be a judge for high times and I wasn’t able to do it cuz I was pregnant. So my husband did it and I was able to smell all of the things that he, and, and I could tell you right then, like, this smells so different from this one.

[00:28:16] Right. Like this one definitely smells more strawberry like. And this one definitely smells like a skunk. And so I, so then and analyzing the data, like this is real, right? So right now that it’s going into mainstream and people go to a liquor store and it’s like, give me the highest, like, you know, 75% ethanol, that’s the one I wanna drink and I wanna be wasted.

[00:28:40] Same thing happens with cannabis. Like give me, you know, like the 38% thc, which at the end of the day, first we don’t think it acts the same way as alcohol. And second, there’s so many other things, like I, I do believe in the centage effect. I think that there’s a little, there’s a tiny bit of evidence, but I do [00:29:00] think that it’s likely right, that you’re putting a bunch of different things in different ratios.

[00:29:04] They act in different ways, right? So I do think that that is true. Um, and so why not breed for these other different things that you could, right. High C, B, C, um, C B D V. Uh, why not? I think that that is awesome for breeders. Like, yeah, go for it. Like the sky sky’s the

[00:29:26] Bryan Fields: limit. Any, any fears of the unknown that we haven’t consumed high amounts of CBC for long periods of time, and kind of we’re walking down this path of unknown where there could be ultimately bad results.

[00:29:39] I know that’s kind of a pretty negative feeling, but just wandering to this unknown. We’re kind of adjusting these plants in order to maximize these different analytes. I’m curious to know if you have any fears of what could be waiting for a similar side.

[00:29:53] Dr. Daniela Vergara: I, yeah. Like, you know, with great powers comes great responsibilities.

[00:29:56] Yes. But, um, [00:30:00] I, I love that.

[00:30:04] Um, I don’t, I don’t think there’s anything worse than the opioid epidemic that we’re currently having. Right? Like, is there gonna be something worse than that? I don’t think so. Um, of, of course, this is a. Personal opinion, redundancy, you know, sample size of one me here, like, but, and going back to the question that Killen was asking about T H C P and T A C O and all of that stuff, um, I remember when Colorado just legalized, so this was, this was probably 2015.

[00:30:39] And there was, I think this New York Times, uh, article that came, A reporter went to, uh, a dispensary, got, um, some edibles and got ultra high and was not able to leave her room in her bed. And it was an entire story of. This is awful. And it’s like, yes, it comes with [00:31:00] education. Like, I don’t know. I mean, here in the US it’s a little different, but when I was, you know, 14 and in Colombia, everyone drinks and I was, you know, like the first time I drunk, I was younger.

[00:31:11] But they tell you like if you drink a lot, you’re gonna get drunk and then you’re not gonna remember it. So you have to educate your consumers. And especially I think there’s two types of consumers that are the most important ones. The very younger ones and the very older ones. The very younger ones, because they’re dumb and like, oh, I wanna get super high.

[00:31:32] And the very older ones, because they actually go there because they are in pain, they have hip pain, they cannot sleep. They need something that helps. They need and, and then, You get a person, you know, a dispensary above tender that lives in Colorado and it’s leaving the dream and it’s snowboarding in the winter, you know, and I work at a dispensary.

[00:31:49] Oh my God. Yeah. Take the one that has the most T hc and that is not the case necessarily. So you really need to have good education until people, okay. We, we do not know [00:32:00] entirely the effects of cbc. We, we don’t know, but try it. And if you like how you feel, come back and order the exact same thing. Right.

[00:32:09] That’s what I recommend. Start, start little by little. Don’t eat the entire gummy, eat half of the gummy. Make sure that you’re not gonna drive, that. You’re not gonna use a chainsaw. Just watch a movie, right? And then if two hours later you feel okay, or three hours, then eat the rest of the gummy. But start with a quarter or a half powerful message.

[00:32:35] Bryan Fields: Byebye. Is cannabis just one

[00:32:39] Dr. Daniela Vergara: species? Yeah. Cannabis is one species, yes. With a lot of genomic and PPIC diversity. Yes.

[00:32:48] Bryan Fields: Can you kind of expand on, on how that works? I’ve seen you compare it to the, the chimps and humans. I’m curious to know if you can give us a breakdown. Oh yeah. Where did you see that? I can’t tell you where I did my research.[00:33:00]

[00:33:02] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yeah, I mean, it has a lot of diversity. It has as much diversity as maybe two different species, or at least with some sort of preliminary results that I did at some point. It has maybe two or three times as much genetic variation than we do, which is exciting because then you can do a bunch of combinations, right?

[00:33:22] If it were not regulated the way it is, we could. Do a bunch of different combinations and, and can you give us an example? For example, I think that it would be super cool to have very, very stinky plants that are very small flour, very early and are all purple. Just poor ornament, right? Okay. Very small out of flowers, big stinky buds all purple.

[00:33:54] Why not? And that produced trichomes in the, in the stems. Why [00:34:00] not OID content? Maybe, but you don’t. You wanna be Cause it’s stinky and it’s, it’s it’s ornament. Yeah. You don’t need to smoke it

[00:34:12] Bryan Fields: slightly. Yeah. So do i, I was thinking about that so slightly. Cannabis Sativa, the production manual. We got a quick glimpse into it. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’d love if you could share some, some insights in it and kind of what people can expect when they take a look.

[00:34:28] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yeah. The cannabis production manual, that was exciting.

[00:34:31] That was my first big, um, big endeavor at Cornell. And it was really exciting because I learned a lot. Um, I learned that I know very little and I know just a little tiny part of the entire plant. Um, I was able to interact with a bunch of people, um, because I was leading the project and I needed information from a bunch of people.

[00:34:56] Um, and, and so in my opinion, that manual [00:35:00] is a 1 0 1. On if you want to start growing cannabis for any particular reason, you know, if you wanna grow fiber, hemp or grain, what do you need? How much money do you need? What space do you need? What equipment do you need? Uh, how do you plant it? What is the space between plants?

[00:35:17] How many plants, uh, what to expect? How do I harvest it? When do I harvest it? Um, so this one-on-one, of course, you can go deeper and deeper and deeper. For example, the high cannabinoid part. There’s so many cannabinoids and all of the biochemistry, like we didn’t really explain, okay, this is THC and this is C and this is cbc and this is how THC goes into, right?

[00:35:39] And C, C into, uh, C b, A and cb, right? We, we didn’t explain all that of that part and, and this carbon and this other carbon, but you can always go deeper and deeper or extractions. I’m lately fascinated by the biochemistry of extractions. And resins and rosins and, you know, solvent and solvent less. And why would you pay [00:36:00] more for this one than this other one?

[00:36:01] And the, but the biochemistry behind it. So that is, we, we don’t talk about it. I mean, it’s still 208 pages and we don’t talk about it. So it could be, you know, 600 pages if we talked about all of the stuff. But it’s kind of like an overall glimpse, I think.

[00:36:18] Bryan Fields: Did you learn anything that surprised you or shocked you when you were helping put it together?

[00:36:25] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Did I learn? Yes. I didn’t know that there were so many diseases that cannabis was susceptible for, um, and so many insects and I didn’t know much of. I’ve been in touch with, in Colorado, I was very in touch with indoor gros, but here there’s more outdoor grows, and of course going from indoors to outdoors is a completely different thing.

[00:36:50] So, Learning about nutrient and soil management, that was totally new to me. And, and, you know, and all of the ion that you do [00:37:00] indoors, you really do not do that outdoors. Or there’s other options outdoors. Right. People here use chicken manure, so, so you can do that. Right. Um, so that was, that was new to me.

[00:37:12] Yeah.

[00:37:14] Bryan Fields: On a scale of zero to 100, with a hundred being, we know everything about the plant. In your opinion, where are we today with our understanding of the cannabis plan?

[00:37:25] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Zero to 120, 30 maybe? I mean, the understanding of of,

[00:37:32] Bryan Fields: of what, what we currently know about cannabis and how the, the human body interacts with it and what its potential benefits are and what we could potentially leverage it for.

[00:37:43] Future opportunities, whether it’s medicinal, recreational, Just from an understanding standpoint, information wise, where do you think we are today and what, like how long do you think it’ll take us to get to 60 or 80?

[00:37:57] Dr. Daniela Vergara: I think, yeah, I think that we’re about in a 30. And how [00:38:00] long does it take us? I mean, it depends on federal legalization, so, but I, it, it’s gonna be much faster than with other species cuz we have tools that were not there.

[00:38:13] You know, when I started working in cannabis at Boulder, they’re like, I remember, yeah, it was literally a Friday night. My husband had a friend in town and they were like, Hey, so why sunflowers? Why not weed? And I’m like, well, everyone knows everything about weed. And I started looking at what was out there.

[00:38:30] There was not much. And that was 2013 for 10 years. And what we’ve a, the, the advancements in 10 years have been. Incredible. So, so I do think that things are happening fast and there’s a lot of, um, biotech promise, not only in the marijuana front, but also in the hemp front, right? Like there’s a lot of biotech companies that are [00:39:00] coming out and that are breeding and that are producing different things, different products that are exciting.

[00:39:05] So, do think,

[00:39:07] Kellan Finney: do you think CRISPR gets involved in cannabis? Do you think those two fields merge here sooner rather than later? Oh yeah,

[00:39:13] Dr. Daniela Vergara: absolutely. Like CRISPR and other things like Oh yeah, like absolutely like, and I will do it like no bra like for hemp. It’s no brain for hyper hemp. Oh yeah. Just silence all of those cannabinoid genes in fiber hemp.

[00:39:25] Just send it

[00:39:26] Bryan Fields: as

[00:39:26] Kellan Finney: tall as they can get

[00:39:28] Dr. Daniela Vergara: E. Exactly. Like why do you need them there? Right. Like just silence those guys out and then you don’t care cuz they’re not gonna produce any economic, you’re totally legal. Right. Totally.

[00:39:40] Bryan Fields: Yeah. What’s the biggest hindrance for doing that? Is it money to get that off the ground?

[00:39:46] Kellan Finney: Yeah. And you got a paid beam or someone else that’s already licensed the technology, right?

[00:39:52] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yeah, but I also think that it’s, the labs that need to do it are labs that may be federally controlled. I mean, I know that there’re [00:40:00] some institut in California that are working like a south institute in California is working.

[00:40:05] Big time on, on certain cannabis aspects. I know that there are some universities in Canada that are doing some G M O E type of thing. Um, I don’t know, Israel, right? Like Israel, they, they, they should be, they agree.

[00:40:22] Bryan Fields: So, yeah. Are there any aspects of the plant that intrigue you or in the back of your mind you’re

[00:40:28] Dr. Daniela Vergara: wondering about?

[00:40:30] Oh yeah. So many, so many. I mean, I think that the white chromosome is fascinating and the ESE individuals, I think that those are fascinating. And the Y chromosome in cannabis is very different from the Y chromosome in humans. So in humans, the Y chromosome is the smallest chromosome, right? In humans, the Y chromosome basically have one gene, and that one gene is the one that tells the rest of the genome, Hey guys turn on.

[00:40:55] You know, like, Hey, we’re gonna produce hair, testosterone, right? So basically, [00:41:00] As a female human, I have all of those genes, but I don’t have that one gene that turns everything off more or less. That’s more or less how it works. Um, in cannabis, the Y chromosome is the biggest one, and it’s, it’s huge and it has a lot of repetitive content and repetitive content.

[00:41:19] As the word says is, is repetitive, so it’s hard to know where it starts and where it stops, right? Because it’s a lot of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So putting together, assembling the white chromosome, it’s hard. And where on the street is that there is. Some Y chromosomes that have been assembled in Canada and another one in the South Institute in California.

[00:41:40] So that’s a word on the street. Um, let’s see what happens. They’re not still publicly available. Um, so I think that that’s fascinating that monia individuals are fascinating, right? Because they apparently have two X chromosomes, but they still produce. Male flowers, like, what are you turning on? Or where, where is [00:42:00] that gene?

[00:42:00] Right. I, I, I think that that is, and that’s what drew my attention at the beginning, but the cannabinoids, I think are also super, the terpenes. Oh, the terpenes are, because the terpenes, it seems that one gene can affect multiple traits. And then there’s one trait that can be affected by multiple genes.

[00:42:19] Right? So that’s philanthropy and epistasis, that’s how it’s called. So they’re in play. And then, so I, I know that, you know, um, Jordan Sager.

[00:42:29] Bryan Fields: He’s a shout. He’s a friend. Jordan.

[00:42:31] Kellan Finney: Yeah. Dr. Long, really? Mark Long is the man, not ma. Yeah,

[00:42:35] Dr. Daniela Vergara: but they have, they’re

[00:42:35] Bryan Fields: not man Jordan like that on his shot. Well, I

[00:42:38] Kellan Finney: mean like, I’m sorry, but like Jordan learned under Mark, right?

[00:42:41] Like, I’m gonna give respect to Mark. We’re, I mean, I, I have mad respect for Jordan too, right? They’re doing big

[00:42:47] Dr. Daniela Vergara: things, but, but they, they have this 2019 paper. I always, because yeah, in my top five papers, That they showed that all of these genes may be acting in a network, right? And all of these genes may be acting together to [00:43:00] produce these very complex phenotypes.

[00:43:02] And I, I think that they may be right. Um, yeah. So

[00:43:07] Kellan Finney: also just shout out one of the most, the coolest things I’ve seen, um, That’s, uh, been achieved by scientists in canvases, Mark Long getting time on the super computer at Pacific National Labs to run a lot of that data through in order to pull those, uh, conclusions

[00:43:25] Bryan Fields: out of the data.

[00:43:25] So a little quick shout. Oh really? Yeah. He got time on it. I was like, what? Oh, that’s pretty cool.

[00:43:31] Kellan Finney: I know, right? It’s pretty cool just cuz it’s federally funded right? To do like, uh,

[00:43:36] Bryan Fields: cannabis enzyme work, so. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Dr. Daniella, when you got started in the cannabis space, what did you get? Right? And most importantly, what did you get wrong?

[00:43:46] Dr. Daniela Vergara: What did I get right? What did I get right? I, I don’t know. What did I get right? But I know that I, there were many things that I got wrong. So again, um, so first [00:44:00] when I started in the, in cannabis, we thought that, THC and C B D were one gene, right? That it was a one locust to allele type of thing. So you had either C, B, D that you got from your mom or THC that you got from your dad and you expressed them both, or only c, b or only T hc.

[00:44:20] So we thought that that was a case. Now we know that there’s a gazillion genes that they’re all in close pro proximity. So, and that happened in 2015. So while I was working in cannabis, we, we found that out. Uh, we know that, um, Yeah, so, so we know, um, that there are many, many compounds in different ratios.

[00:44:44] Um, so all of those things I kind of had them wrong. Also. There was, there’s a paper that, uh, we published in 20 21, 20 22, uh, with Leafly. Um, I love that paper. [00:45:00] Um, and, um, I had my hesitancy between labs. I was like, yeah, labs are, you know, they don’t tell the true story. You give them more money, they spike your T hc.

[00:45:14] And then we analyzed the lab data and the labs were very consistent between each other and they’re in completely different places. So one lab was in Washington, the other one was in Oregon, the other one was in Florida, Alaska. Michigan. Right. And they were super consistent. So there are labs that are doing a really good job, and that gave me a lot of faith and hope and in the cannabis industry, that despite not being regulated, despite being illegal, like despite having the federal government maybe shutting out your business, these labs are doing a good job.

[00:45:50] And, and I don’t know, I was just like, I love these labs. I don’t know who they are, uh, but I love them.

[00:45:58] Bryan Fields: If you could sum up your experience in a main [00:46:00] takeaway or lesson learned to pass onto the next generation, what would it be?

[00:46:06] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Why do you ask me this hard, philosophical question?

[00:46:09] Bryan Fields: We wanna learn from you.

[00:46:15] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Um, if I could say that

[00:46:19] again,

[00:46:20] Bryan Fields: you could sum up your experience in a main takeaway or lesson learned. To pass to the next generation, what

[00:46:28] Dr. Daniela Vergara: would it could be?

[00:46:34] Okay, so two things. Like you never know what you’re gonna be and ending up doing in life. You never know and what you’re learning as an undergrad or in grad. In grad school, whenever. That is the time that you’re gonna learn that you’re not going to. It’s like, oh no. Yeah, I’ll revise that in 10 years from now.

[00:46:56] Like, that’s not gonna happen. You learn that [00:47:00] then and there, or you did not learn it, so, so do it then. Make sure that you do it then. Love

[00:47:10] Bryan Fields: it. Alright, prediction time. Dr. Daniella. I gave you a magic wand. You can do an experiment or study with money not being an issue or ethics being involved at all. What would you do to help us expedite our learning and understanding of the cannabis plan?

[00:47:29] Dr. Daniela Vergara: What would I do? Money or ethics or not? And I can do anything. Okay, perfect. This is what I would do. I would have a bunch of plants that. I would, I would give people a bunch of weed for them to try. I would know, or it would be a double blinded study. Right. So I wouldn’t know, or the [00:48:00] consumer wouldn’t know exactly.

[00:48:01] I. What they’re taking, it doesn’t matter what strain it is, but I would know. But we would know the chemotype, right? We would know how much th hc, c, b, d, hopefully terpenes, et cetera. And then we would gather information from them about how they felt, uh, what they felt, Wendy, and, and we would gather a bunch of other information.

[00:48:20] Are you, uh, did you exercise? Did you sleep? Did you eat? Um, are you depressed? Right? Like all of this information. And then we would pinpoint. What compound does what, that’s what I would do. And whether you ate it or whether you drank it, or whether you smoked it or you vape it. And so we would have, I don’t know, 10,000 participants like a true clinical trial.

[00:48:52] Like a clinical trial. Yeah. And not even, you know, like we would just gather questionnaires like from there you could go a [00:49:00] step further to actually withdraw blood and see al cannabinoid levels or Right. Or, but not even there, like just the first step of asking the questions. What did you feel? What did it smell like?

[00:49:13] How, how did it make you feel? Right? Because if you go to Lively’s website and you Google, I don’t know, um, Tangerine Dream, it’ll tell you, oh, this one, it makes me active, blah, blah, blah. So you already have that preconceived, right? You already know more or less. But if you have no straining name and you don’t know what’s there, then it’s a blinded study.

[00:49:40] Right? That’s what I would do.

[00:49:42] Bryan Fields: Like it ke

[00:49:44] Kellan Finney: uh, I think, I mean, I agree with Dr. Daniella. I think that looking into the entourage effect or the endocannabinoid system in any fashion from like, uh, well funded n I [00:50:00] h like. Study that’s executed at like a John Hopkins or like, you know, uh, a major institute that’s used to running these kind of really large trials on how human physiology interacts with different substances.

[00:50:15] Right? I think something like that is probably what’s most needed in, uh, cannabis research right now. Whether that’s understanding the true nature of every endogenous. Cannabinoid that’s floating around in your system right now and how deficiencies affect different illnesses or anything under the sun from a polypharmacy entourage effect perspective.

[00:50:37] What do you think, Brian?

[00:50:39] Bryan Fields: I’m fascinated by personalized medicine. I’m wondering if by understanding deeply about the plan and then being able to, to cross-breed, to have a specific. Plant profile, then we can align with people’s personal endocannabinoid system to maybe potentially help some of these therapeutic areas we’ve kind of leaned into.

[00:50:57] And I’m fascinated in understanding [00:51:00] that and wondering if cannabis can be, you know, really close to helping unlock that. So how that happens and how we get there, I’ll leave it up to the two of you, but, uh, that would be the, the study that I would, uh, lean for.

[00:51:13] Dr. Daniela Vergara: But yeah, it would also do. Leafy trichomes and trichomes in the stamp and trichomes, you know, like, and then like, I really, really like it when people do stuff that are kind of like obvious against the super regulations, right?

[00:51:33] So my best example, I, a friend of mine gave me these cookies that are made outta hemp. So all of these plants were less than 0.3%. But the cookies have a lot of THC because they take it, they concentrate it, and then they make the cookie. But it’s made outta hemp, so. Right. I love that. I was like, ah, you’re smart people.

[00:51:54] Yes.

[00:51:57] Bryan Fields: Industry just full of entrepreneurs operating in [00:52:00] straight gray area. Exactly,

[00:52:01] Dr. Daniela Vergara: exactly. And laws that do not make sense agreed

[00:52:04] Bryan Fields: by, by people who don’t know why they made them. Right. Dr. Moore.

[00:52:08] Dr. Daniela Vergara: Yeah. And one of my. Biggest one is the 0.3% thc. They, they do not understand the biochemistry. They do not understand how these enzymes work, how these components are produced.

[00:52:19] The 0.3% THC is like one of the biggest ones. And then they’re calling like CBD hemp. Like no, you just wanna call it hemp because you don’t wanna call it marijuana. But really that is low T HC marijuana. It has another compound. Yes. But it’s not ham for fiber. It’s not ham. Like we’re not making this T-shirt out of that plant.

[00:52:38] Bryan Fields: No. So, yeah. So Dr. Daniel, for, for those who wanna get in touch and they wanna learn more, where can they find

[00:52:44] Dr. Daniela Vergara: you? Where can they find me? You can find me in social media in all of the, I mean, I don’t use TikTok. Or Reddit. I don’t know how to use Reddit either. And I am pretty bad on the other ones, but you can find me there.

[00:52:59] Um, [00:53:00] in Twitter and LinkedIn. And Instagram, you can find me there. I’m Kana So means school. So it’s basically Kana Cool. But in Spanish, right. So Kana at KANA in Instagram and in Twitter and in Ding 10. I’m Daniel.

[00:53:16] Bryan Fields: Awesome. We’ll link it up. Thanks for taking the time. This was fun. Yeah,

[00:53:20] Dr. Daniela Vergara: thank you.

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Aaron Miles, Chief Investment Officer at Verano

How 280E continues to be the biggest hindrance to cannabis operators

280E, I think, is the biggest opportunity for the space because I don’t think people truly understand what paying taxes off the gross profit line looks like for the business. 280E is amazing to me when there are all these anti-money laundering concerns, and we’ve got to be careful because it’s cannabis, but you’re going to overtax us, and you’re going to take those same dollars that you’re concerned about.


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Listen to The Dime Podcast’s episode today as Bryan Fields (Twitter: @bryanfields24) and Kellan Finney (Twitter: @Kellan_Finney) discuss

Cannabis as a CPG with Colin Landforce (Twitter: @landforce)

In this episode learn about:

  • Aggressive Advancements that are happening in the world of Cannabis
  • How BudTenders enhance the Cannabis Experience for New and Veteran Users
  • Experiences for a Newbie when they walk into a Dispensary for the first time
  • Terra Tech Merger with Unrivaled Brands
  • Consistency as a pillar in the STICKS™ pre-roll brand
  • Biggest Misconceptions in Cannabis

Follow The Dime Podcast ( on Instagram and Twitter

Colin Landforce is the CTO of Unrivaled Brands

Colin Landforce, co-founder and President of LTRMN, is a versatile entrepreneur that has taken his 10 years of experience in regulated and emerging consumer spaces and brought that to Unrivaled Brands, Inc. team. A tactical leader, Mr. Landforce is responsible for bringing three consumer brands from concept to shelf while leading the growth of one of the largest cannabis distribution networks in country, serving more than 1,000 storefronts to date. With deep experience at the intersection of recreational cannabis and CPG

[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangents. What’s up guys. Welcome back to another episode of the dime as always. I’ve got my right hand, man, Kellen Cindy here with me. And this week we’ve got a very special day. Twitter famous Collin land force.

[00:00:20] Collin. Thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today? Thanks for having me guys. I appreciate it. I’m well, thank you. I’m doing well. I’m doing well. Just enjoying the weather out here in Colorado, right? Yeah. I’m excited to kind of dive in and before we start calling congratulations on the recent announcements and the going public, that’s a huge success.

[00:00:38] I’m looking forward to kind of diving into some of those topics.

[00:00:41] Collin: Absolutely. Thank you. I appreciate it. We’re excited as well.

[00:00:44] Bryan Fields: So let’s talk about how your background and how you got into the cannabis space.

[00:00:48] Collin: Yeah, definitely. I’m a lifelong serial entrepreneur. And as an adult, that kind of translated for me and.

[00:00:55] A lot of service providing, particularly in Mar marketing and product. So I had big clients, little clients, kind of everything in between. And ultimately ended up serving a lot in the restricted consumer goods spaces. So firearms, drones, skincare, cosmetics, couple other in that realm. And then finally we landed in cannabis.

[00:01:14] The origin story is some guys that I grew up with started flipping packs to dispense. There’s a heavy marketing and product focus in that group. So I, I jumped, jumped, the shark got in and the rest is history. You know, it started doing, I think, 4 million, like I said, bulk flour to dispensary’s in 2017.

[00:01:34] And now we are CPGs all the way to the moon.

[00:01:37] Bryan Fields: Over the last four years, you’ve probably seen a pretty aggressive progression of the industry just from where it was and where it is.

[00:01:46] Collin: Yeah, I think generally, I think I tweeted this morning that it’s still on the first setting. I think that’s probably about right.

[00:01:52] But it, it moves very, very quickly as you guys know, and it’s, it’s definitely come leaps and bounds for us. We didn’t know what products it was going to be. We knew that if we had the network, we could adjust and, and move accordingly. And so that’s what we’ve done. And the more refined consumer goods, the carts, the edible.

[00:02:11] I think there’s a huge play there. We also really like the extracts, the flour, but the core stuff that’s been around.

[00:02:17] Bryan Fields: So I think almond question that’s always gets asked, and I’m curious to know if that’s for you, is Tom what’s that day, like for you, you know, take us through a normal day to day.

[00:02:26] Obviously, no days are the same, but just from a regular basis, you know, what does your role entail and what you’re doing for the company?

[00:02:32] Collin: Yeah. So with the announcement yesterday and us going public, my, my title is now CTO. I’ve always been pretty focused on technology, our tools and our software stack.

[00:02:42] And I’ll be doing more of that in the future. Day-to-day though I’m in the mix. I think a lot of people, especially in the MSL and then in the public space, get abstracted from what, what we’re actually doing. And what we’re actually doing is, is making CPG with a super volatile, super inconsistent rock.

[00:03:00] Good. So I’m based in Portland. We have a hub and light manufacturing, more assembly here. We have hubs mirrored, very similar setup wise in Northern California, Southern California. And I’m in the mix trying to make things better, improving processes making decisions about how we’re routing raw materials, what product lines.

[00:03:19] And just fighting the good fight. Really?

[00:03:20] Bryan Fields: Yeah. It seems like you’re got your hands in a lot of different buckets at the same time.

[00:03:25] Collin: I think that’s, that’s how entrepreneurship goes and you know, I’m excited to be playing on the biggest stage but we’re still in the weeds. No pun intended. Well,

[00:03:34] Bryan Fields: so let’s dive into one of those brands sticks in the past.

[00:03:37] You’ve described them as BeltLine. Can you share a little bit more about how you kind of came to that comparison and leading into.

[00:03:44] Collin: Yeah. So like you said, STIX is a value brand for us. And it was, it was the first product that we set out to do in my side of the origin story of unrivaled. And like I mentioned, we have the network and we’re waiting to figure out what products we’re going to start with.

[00:04:02] And the pre-roll is such a staple and such crap. I think even to this day, you go into a store, you buy, you buy a joint, it might be good. It might not. And especially four years ago. So we set out to make a really, really fantastic pre-roll and something that I’m often surprised by people outside the industry, not understanding like the difference between sun-grown and indoor We we set out to make just a really good staple. And that was, that was just outdoor pre-roll accessibly priced, easy to get out the door. So for us, that meant a lot AB testing. We imported a hop milling machine from Germany and we did, I think in the end it was 12 different variants of particle size. And density.

[00:04:41] And we made these little test packs and we send them out into the world and we just got tons and tons of feedback and it came back very, very clear that density a particle size, Y this is the recipe for a great pre-roll and then we’ve made several million of them since. And then we’ve also got a different, a different recipe for the indoor indoor materials, much more resonance.

[00:05:00] Much more finicky to deal with. And it did not come out the same when we did the same testing exercise down the road. So I think we started with sticks, origin story. It started as a pre-roll brand. We extended that on the value shelf rather than in the pre-roll category. So we have carts, we have flour moon rocks are a big play for us there.

[00:05:19] I think a moon rock skew is very bang for the buck value oriented skew. And so we’re going big on the, the combined category. Excuse me. .

[00:05:28] Bryan Fields: And you want to dive into that from where you’re located. Is that kind of the same process you’ve seen?

[00:05:34] Kellan: Yeah, it is the same process I’ve seen. And I think that starting with like a pre-roll, which is a staple from the traditional markets, I think is, is really intelligent.

[00:05:43] I have a random question for you. They’ll call in. Do you guys see a lot of variance in terms of different indoor material, or is it something that you’ve got have just found the right vendors to work with as far as supplying that indoor material to create that same consistency? The same with the outdoor material.

[00:05:57] Is there other kind of vetting. Situations, or I guess, is there other variables that you guys require before you bring in a batch and go through the milling process to pack the pre-rolls? Because we not all outdoor is created equally the same with not all indoor is created equally.

[00:06:15] Collin: Absolutely. We definitely have regular partners, but as a starting point, we’re talking about agriculture and then with the diversity across strains, grow methods, harvest it’s all over the place.

[00:06:27] So even, even with those same regulars, there’s just a super wide net of, of what product ends up looking like and something. I say and talk about internally here as we, we design for efficiency and optimize for flexibility because it’s going to be all over the board. And so that’s kind of the approach we’ve taken.

[00:06:44] You can only plan for so much in that, that realm, that being said, we definitely do have specs, right? If it’s coming into a jar, this is what the inputs need to look like. And then this is the spec for the product that comes out the other end and the same thing on a pre-roll. Here’s the input spec and what we expect out of it.

[00:07:01] And, you know, hopefully the worst case scenario there is, we just have to adjust. We, we obviously avoid sending back product. Generally only do that in the case where it’s just materially different from what everybody understood. We were getting. Yeah,

[00:07:13] Kellan: I think that’s one of the most from my experience, it’s one of the most undervalued aspects of doing business in the space is the experience of procurement team has and how much that actually affects all of the downstream products from concentrates to vape pens, to pre-roll.

[00:07:28] So I give your, your procurement team, all the credit.

[00:07:31] Collin: I’ve watched a lot of really seasoned supply chain folks come into this and, and be a lost puppy. The same. It’s just not that the good news components are packaging is that stuff is, but when it comes to the core it’s these are not tomatoes.

[00:07:47] Kellan: 100%.

[00:07:48] We’ve actually had clients that have made very, very large mistakes in terms of going out and signing supply agreements with the wrong partner. And it turns out this wasn’t the right way, and now they’re committed to a massive batch of material and it just, it never works out that way. So one of the most undervalued aspects of the supply chain is that that experience.

[00:08:09] From a procurement standpoint

[00:08:10] Bryan Fields: from the bud light angle, I’m intrigued by that. Like I walk into a dispensary. How, how does Y understand or gravitate towards that product? If that’s the one I’m looking for

[00:08:20] Collin: every brand’s got amuse, right? I liked the bud light one with sticks. Just everything about the brand energy.

[00:08:25] You could also take it to the color. Right. Bud light has a very distinct blue. The sticks. Green is a fantastic green. I love the stick screen. I can’t remember. It’s actually. Name, but those colors are very prominent. Our brands, right? Cabana blue is a very, very specific blue, but I think the dispensers do the work for you there, right?

[00:08:44] Consumer walks in and the bud tender is going to point them where they want to go. And if it’s value oriented, that’s an easy call. I think everything in our industry is, is still very much dictated by the bud tenders. So we don’t have to do much of the work, having the brand that aligns with that ISA ethos and collateral that aligns with that obviously helps.

[00:09:01] Kellan: I think it’s super intelligent because I think that’s one of the largest segments of the market is the value buyer right now. You see it across the board in every state.

[00:09:10] Collin: Another thing we lean on, which is really across category, but I think especially applies to sticks is we, we price out wholesale with the end consumer in mind.

[00:09:18] So tax is a big variable. Of course our wholesale pricing is all intended to have that land out the door. At a price that makes sense to a consumer. So whether that’s, you know, 8 30, 3 ends up 20 bucks out the door for 17 ends up 10 bucks out the door and that’s, that’s within assumed, you know, assume Keystone and 20% those things vary, but we price everything so that it makes sense to the end consumer.

[00:09:42] Kellan: Do you have, do you have MSRP conversations with dispensary’s and are they willing to, do they like hear you guys out from that perspective?

[00:09:49] Collin: I think it varies widely by the operator. Generally. Good luck. Right. Yeah, you can have that conversation, but I think the biggest operators, their whole, their whole game plan is, is to get, get a lower cost.

[00:10:02] It allows them to undercut the MSRP. So, yeah. Good luck.

[00:10:08] Bryan Fields: You’d probably do any sort of educational with these budtenders because they play such a vital role in the experience for these consumers.

[00:10:14] Collin: That’s the whole game. We call it education and appreciation. So in the past, you know, pre pandemic, we had a suite at the Moda center, which is where the blazers play a suite at the staple center which I’m sure you’re familiar with and education and appreciation.

[00:10:28] But tenders are the influencers and the tastemakers at a one-to-one level. And they’re going to talk to people about and sell people, the stuff that they know and the stuff that they like. So arming them with talking points and helping them feel educated and be educated and serve their customers. The path.

[00:10:47] So appreciation and education with budtenders is, is our game

[00:10:51] Bryan Fields: well said. Do you think that’s the future though? Do you think as the industry kind of evolves, people will continue to rely on bud tenders for guys? I mean, obviously naturally that’ll be an easy, conversational point, but do you think that’ll always be such a heavily reliant relations?

[00:11:07] Collin: I think it’ll probably vary by category. There’s a lot of good parallels. You can draw with booze, they get a little different between liquor and wine, et cetera. But I think that this is a good one in that there’s a lot of beer when I’m buying the bud light, I’m just grabbing it out of the freezer act and, or the cooler and I’m out.

[00:11:23] I also could go into a bar across the street and get a very specific cocktail that’s recommended to me by somebody that’s super knowledgeable. So I think in game is like probably the full end of this.

[00:11:35] Bryan Fields: So let’s dive into the other two brands. Do you have kind of associations similar to the way you, you compared to the bud light?

[00:11:43] Collin: Yup. So I’ll give you these, and these are from my head. This is not, this is not our, our formal position to me. Cabana’s like a move CLICO right. Corova is, is a Jack maybe it’s probably higher price than a Jack. So maybe it’s maybe it’s a Johnny Walker black label. Again, this is, this is out of my head, not my department.

[00:12:02] But I think, I think that paints a good picture, right? Krav as the 800 pound gorilla in the room for us. And my favorite thing about really what we’re doing is how ingrained in the culture Corova is Brian, you see my tweets about this? I think a lot of them SOS are making these brands that are for hypothetical cannabis consumers.

[00:12:21] Was here for the people that want to get high and that aren’t afraid about anybody knowing about it, right. It’s built on high potency, the thousand milligram black bar, which is a legend in the cannabis industry is where we came from. And there is no. There’s no soccer, moms eaten a thousand milligram black bar.

[00:12:39] Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of people eating on because in California, that is not a recreational product, but there’s actually a 2000 and a 1000. We have a licensee in Arizona, in Oklahoma. So you can go even crazier. If you want to there.

[00:12:52] Bryan Fields: What do they sell for, for 2000 milligrams?

[00:12:54] Collin: I don’t know, off the top of my head.

[00:12:56] Bryan Fields: Would someone consume that in one second?

[00:12:58] Collin: I, I think so.

[00:13:00] I can’t speak to that type of consumption very well. Right. I, myself, I’m a pretty casual user, but I think what I was just hitting on is really like a key thing for me. There are so many companies that have a marketing agency build an avatar and create a brand that’s light and fluffy and, and for the soccer mom or the yada yada.

[00:13:20] That’s nice. In the meantime, we’re going to sell products to people that actually use weed.

[00:13:25] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I mean, listen, from marketing sense, everyone’s golden goose is always the soccer mom, right? Like whenever you started off, that’s who I want. Always. And that’s great, but like realistically, what are they buying?

[00:13:35] And is it any of these products? Likely not, but I think their future down the road server, when can build those brands for them. Right. You know, what you’ve kind of established out is like, we’re here now. And we’re going to build that market share because I think rans and marketing will be what kind of transfers over state lines.

[00:13:52] As we, as people start to get a little more experienced and understand, Hey, like I got this product, I loved it. Now I want to get it here. And then they start kind of angling from that perspective.

[00:14:01] Collin: Our golden goose is people that smoke weed. Yeah.

[00:14:03] Bryan Fields: Well then you’re in the right industry. So I want to kind of slightly switch gears, but say in more of the dispensary.

[00:14:10] You walk into a dispensary for the first time you’ve smoked flower in the past, how would you call and simplify the experience to walk a uneducated consumer through a product selection choice in order to kind of get.

[00:14:26] Collin: Sure the best answer to this question is go to the spot in Santa Ana or bloom and San Leandro or Oakland and find out.

[00:14:33] But I think that budtenders start with, with a seed, right? So I’ve smoked flower X, right. Start with a seed and go from there. That’s a tough one to answer. But I think that accessibility comes into play. Right? And so things like pre-rolls are more accessible than flower that they’re made out of just from a hardware needed standpoint.

[00:14:52] And then other skews go from there. I may be a little bit dodgy there, but I think you get what I’m getting at every one of those scenarios is so hand to hand. And I think that is kind of the beauty of that bud tender relationship and the cannabis experience right now. And like I said, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

[00:15:10] Maybe certain categories, right. And at a distillate based edible, much easier to, to go. Great. I just want that one. It tastes like strawberries. But I don’t think flowers going anywhere and extracts going anywhere. And I think that’ll be catered to every single one. So for Colin, it’s probably a joint maybe.

[00:15:27] Bryan Fields: Because I the reason I asked you that is when I was with Kellen in Seattle, we walked into dispensary. It was one of the first ones that walked in and there might’ve been 10,000 products. It felt like there was a thousand different flour choices hundreds of different edibles. And I was just kind of like, I don’t even know where to start.

[00:15:42] So I kind of like asked him and he’s like, well, what do you want edibles? And that’s a common question we get asked because most of our listeners are east Coast-based. They’ve only been to one or two dispensers, but they’re excited about the opportunity with New Jersey, New York, Connecticut coming online.

[00:15:54] So they’re like, which product category should I start with? What should I go for? And that’s why I was curious someone like yourself, you’ve got an educated brand, strong consumer focus, you know, what would that experience be like for you?

[00:16:05] Collin: Right. Our experiences are very one-to-one. That’s a great, great example.

[00:16:08] I think a lot of retail formats, retail formats vary across the industry, but all of ours are one-to-one bud tender relationships. So for me cart, probably right. Especially in that vein, but the one-to-one relationship and the budtenders ability to guide the conversation around your preferences is a super valuable one.

[00:16:27] And so that, that one-to-one is a big part of our retail experience. And I think we’ll be going.

[00:16:32] Bryan Fields: I agree with that. I mean, I’m a flower guy and I been a cannabis consumer a long time, and I’ve worked in the industry for a long time. And when I go into dispensary, It’s that one-on-one relationship. And every single time I’m like, and I’ve seen a ton of different flower and every single time I asked them what what’s new and we have a conversation and they guiding even my kind of buying decisions in the dispensary, because it’s just way of that whole interaction.

[00:16:58] And it’s a comfort level too. And I don’t think that it’ll go anywhere until you can go into a store. Like with bud light and you can pull it out of the refrigerator without anyone being there, kind of as the gating agent associated with those kinds of products, then

[00:17:12] Collin: you have certain categories where that’s just never going to happen.

[00:17:15] Right. If I, we just got some Trop cherries, and that’s the best weed I’ve seen seen in a while. If I go to a store looking for that strain, like you may have that strain. But if you’re the bud tender, you know, oh, well this is, you know, this sun-grown is last year’s, this is last year’s harvest or yes, it’s that, but I’m not really sure that it’s, that, you know, the label says that it doesn’t look like trap cherries I’ve seen before in the past.

[00:17:36] Right. And that those inconsistencies that are going to be present in a lot of these categories are all, is going to make, make that a super high touch conversation. Yeah.

[00:17:46] Bryan Fields: The process of adding another product to your brand, you start with the customer perspective in mind, or do you start with the product type and then kind of work out to flushing out the.

[00:17:54] Collin: Yeah. I mean, we have a fairly famous 117 point checklist for this kind of a thing. I think it starts with, it starts with the market,. I think a lot of the times in a lot of industries, consumers may not know exactly what they want. So the first step is the market and seeing what is out there in the category, what the pricing is like so on and so forth.

[00:18:12] And from there, you can back into things like cost models and beyond our moon rocks, our sticks moon rocks are a great example of this. I think there was not much of that in the market in Oregon, before we launched. There are a couple, I don’t want to, I’m not trying to presume that we were the first, but there was not much demand.

[00:18:28] I think a lot, there was a lot of uncertainty with our sales team about if there was actually a demand for that. And we were confident there was, we looked at what’s out there, we back into the cost model. We source the components and and, and. So I think it’s market first, which is kind of maybe backwards, right?

[00:18:42] And with that product market fit, doesn’t always come

[00:18:44] but also from a product

[00:18:46] Bryan Fields: market fit standpoint, the market is still kind of developing as consumers kind of adjust what they’re really looking for and kind of how that experience entails. Just to clarify, what is he moving?

[00:18:55] Collin: So a moon rock is flour mixed with oil dusted or rolled in.

[00:19:00] So it’s kind of, it’s a little bit of everything jammed, jammed into, into one. So we do in California, we do three and a half grams, so eighth, and then one gram moon rocks, and Oregon. We do one grand moon rocks. And I think the there’s probably, if you Google it, you get these images of these nugs with like oil losing out of them.

[00:19:17] When you go to do a, a CPG that’s one gram, every time you can’t really do that. So we developed a process around that. Milling the flour to then get a consistent one gram every single time moon rock. And like I said, it’s, it’s a great bang for the buck product.

[00:19:32] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I don’t like enough to try that one time because through the recent announcement, right?

[00:19:36] Like how long was that process going through? Can you share some details of kind of, you know, what that was like? It must’ve been obviously an exciting one, but. A ton of probably paperwork and information, you know, from a commitment standpoint, whenever you kind of merge with another one, there’s a big kind of going forward moment.

[00:19:53] So, you know what, take us through a little bit about that.

[00:19:55] Collin: Yeah. So for me in this drain, this is my second round of M and a so second big integration of two companies and and then reaping the rewards and the struggles and challenges of doing that. So for us, there’s this massive. Influx and infrastructure.

[00:20:09] Right? We got cultivation infrastructure to build our brands on a, in both states. We’ve got facilities, we’ve got more retail, all that. And in terms of the process you’re absolutely right. It’s a slog on the back end. You’ve got the audits. You’ve got really the integration of the humans, right? This is a massive undertaking.

[00:20:26] There’s obviously redundancies there’s processes that mix or mesh, or don’t their strengths. There’s weaknesses. There’s a change curve. You Google change. There is a, I don’t know the actual name of it, but a widely known change curve that like, Excitement acceptance doubt or something somewhere. Right. And it drops off a cliff and then it, and then it levels out.

[00:20:47] And I think that there’s never been anything more accurate that changed per graphic with some emojis splattered on it has been in several decks of ours internally, and I’m excited to finally be here. Like I said, it gets us onto a bigger stage and I’m really excited to be, you know, the west coast MSO.

[00:21:04] There’s a lot of people playing at a very high level. All over the country, the nature of the industry is that it’s super fragmented. And for the time being we’re the west coast folks, I’m excited on that value proposition on that focus and what it is because California is as big as it gets in terms of economies and in the United States or the world.

[00:21:22] And so it’s like, it’s a good area to focus. Plenty to do.

[00:21:25] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I would say that’s pretty fair. So how long does something like that peak from, I’m not saying from like the initial conversation, but just kind of like rough ballpark on like, Hey. Is might be some serious. We should probably kick it around internally.

[00:21:36] What we’re thinking like, just from the ballpark timeframe.

[00:21:39] Collin: I think that our merger with Terra tech that ended yesterday with unrivaled brands was uncharacteristically quick. Three months it was announced, announced in March, obviously in the workflow works longer than that. We announced the close yesterday, which was the 8th of July.

[00:21:55] The first round we did with cannabis. You have these regulatory approvals. Ours happened through the middle of COVID. So we had a purgatory period. 19 months or something in the first pass at this right. Where everything is done. We’re just waiting for, for somebody at the government to check a box and call it, call it done.

[00:22:14] So from that standpoint, that, that creates a lot of unneeded angst, just from a leaving it up. But I think something we’ve done is just once the LOI is, are signed, it’s full speed ahead. Right? And there’s, there’s certain mechanics you put in place to address a possible outcome of, of things not going through, but full speed ahead on integration and, and working together.

[00:22:36] And then on days like yesterday, all it really means is great. Everybody’s got the same email address now and a redirect website. And we’re finally doing this, but we’ve really been in it for months. Alrighty.

[00:22:48] Bryan Fields: I think that’s, that’s perfectly said. So I guess the next question would be what’s next. What’s the next target?

[00:22:53] What’s the next. Kind of outcome. What are, what should we expect from you guys in the, in the short and near term?

[00:22:59] Collin: Yeah. So we’ve already announced our acquisition of silver Streak which is exciting. We really liked the DTC space. You know, we have our retail stores, but I think the entire trend of DTC is a really interesting one.

[00:23:11] And I think that knowing that we’re not going to be on a USPS truck anytime soon, I think kind of thing. Mixture of cannabis retail, and then bringing a faux DTC experience or an on demand experience is a really interesting one and was silver streak it’s as big as it gets delivery service wise in Northern California.

[00:23:29] And we’re excited where else I can go. And then I got to kind of stick to our guns with our CEO’s comments on this yesterday, we’ve got more deals in the pipeline. We’re excited to keep expanding and adding strategic pieces that, that line up with. West coast MSO and serving cannabis consumers rather than hypothetical ones.

[00:23:47] Bryan Fields: My follow-up question would be like you, you left out a coast. What are we expecting from the east coast?

[00:23:53] Collin: So our west coast focus is for today. Can’t speak too much to the future. Obviously we have big ambitions and there’s a lot to do. There’s a lot of ONTAP markets over there for now it’s west coast.

[00:24:03] And I think that kind of focus is super productive for the day to day of a business, which is outside of the obstructed MSO and is like really what matters. And so that focus has been super productive for our team’s vision. Day in and day out and mine as well. So we’ll, we’ll just have to take it one coset at a time.

[00:24:19] And, and while we’re on the topic west coast

[00:24:21] Bryan Fields: , make sure to edit that part out. So do brands travel, so you walk into a dispensary, you see a brand you love do, do brands travel like that, and if not, what do you think the industry needs in order to conduct to have that established brand. Like a Coca Cola, like a Pepsi where you walk in, where you’re like, that’s the product I’m looking for.

[00:24:40] How do brands get to that point?

[00:24:42] Collin: So brands travel logos on packaging, don’t travel. I think there’s a lot of the ladder in the industry, right? The real brands in cannabis are the ones that are embedded in the culture. And those brands, all travel cookies travels, right? Kiva travels. Corova travels sticks, travel.

[00:25:02] A lot of the brands that we see you can’t say that for. Right. And that’s because they’re manufactured by a marketing agency in the last 24 months or similar. So brands absolutely travel. And that’s what we see with Corova right. Corova is licensed in Oklahoma and Arizona and has a huge presence there.

[00:25:20] That’s that’s off the brand. And you can not say that for a lot of the brands.

[00:25:25] Kellan: I agree with that so much. I’ve seen there was a one brand in particular that I know, I, I just, I was debating whether I even say it just now in my head, but I’m not going to, I’m not going to there’s one brand in particular that was acquired in the past.

[00:25:39] And it was acquired by a larger company than what they were, and they completely change the entire formulation. And it’s different when you. State to stay in one state. It’s, it’s a specific solvent type type extraction concentrate in another state. They decided to use a different solvent. And so it’s just like, just like you said, it’s same logo on the packaging, but it’s a completely different product inside the packaging, which is just they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

[00:26:06] Then they’re just not being loyal to the industry and the consumers. And once everyone kind of. Figures it out. It’s going to be, it’ll be rough water moving forward. So yeah,

[00:26:16] Collin: consistency is, has always been a pillar for us and it’s for that exact reason, right? You don’t get to do a brand even, even one state at a time.

[00:26:24] If I can’t walk into the store, down the street and buy something and then go, you know, over the mountains, through the woods for the weekend with my family and walk into a store there and buy the same thing. Then that there’s not an actual brand happening. There’s there’s a package with the logo.

[00:26:38] And then at a bigger scale, the same can be said across states, right? That is a package with a logo. They’re not even putting the same stuff in it, much less, much less the same stuff with the same processes, a consistent form factor. That is how a bud light happens. That is how a generational brand happens.

[00:26:55] That’s how M and M.

[00:26:57] Bryan Fields: And is that because of cost saving, you think that’s what they’re doing?

[00:27:00] Collin: I think it’s the combination of cost saving and trying to like speed the market disorganization internally. I don’t think it’s one variable. I think it has to do with kind of multiple variables. Right? Like they expanded too quickly.

[00:27:16] They entered the market, they weren’t prepared to enter. Then they were like, okay, well we launched the brand and all of these dispensary’s are asking for us to carry it. What else can we put in it? And then from a top down, there’s just individuals that are in decision-making positions that don’t have experience in the space, which you see that time and time again.

[00:27:37] I think we touched on it earlier in terms of the experience with procurement, right? Like most undervalued position. And so there’s people making decisions that are like, well, it’s all TAC. So like, what’s the difference? You know what I mean? So I think that you can’t really pinpoint it to one specific variable.

[00:27:53] I think it’s a combination of a lot of different variables in my experience, from what I’ve seen,

[00:27:58] Kellan: I think M and a is a big piece of it, right? On a spreadsheet. It’s all the same. And so that’s, that’s especially the case. If, if that brand expansion happens by with rows in a spreadsheet, then it makes it that much easier for that to happen.

[00:28:10] Right. You buy processing lab X, they have this hardware great ship, the logo. And then, and then.

[00:28:16] Bryan Fields: We’ve talked about all that time, that, that really finite balance of like the optimization and growth, like how these, these big hematomas are feeling so, so fast and ultimately the consistency of the product, it’s going to be almost impossible to kind of replicate as they’re kind of just scooping up all of these places, because like you’re saying, they’re likely to shipping the logo and just saying, throw it out.

[00:28:36] Collin: Right. Yeah. I mean, the industry is so challenging. Like when I was in, I spent some time in Northern California working and it was like, you could get an OJI from Northern California and then you would get a batch of OJ from Southern California and they are completely different batches and they’re going to create completely different products.

[00:28:52] So even from that perspective, it’s just that the industry is. Fragmented. And that’s going to create all of these issues from a branding perspective, which again is why procurement is so important too, to building that consistency within, within a brand. Yep. I agree.

[00:29:07] Bryan Fields: Biggest misconception in the cannabis space.

[00:29:10] Collin: I think the biggest misconception in the cannabis space is the hypothetical cannabis. user Right. Again, drummed up in a marketing agency, an avatar for a customer that may or may not exist, or if they exist, they buy that little vape pen every six weeks. Right? We’re going after folks that go to the dispensary every day or they go twice a week or they go three times a week.

[00:29:32] Those are the people that consume cannabis. Those are the people that are loyal to brands. Those are the consumers. And I think that there’s a huge divide. Across those. And I think it’s perpetuated by the fact that a lot of the large MSOs are operating in limited licensed states where whatever exists is what exists.

[00:29:49] Right. And they’re setting that tone. When you come to the west coast, there’s been legal cannabis for 25 years in Oregon, in California, maybe it’s 20, right.

[00:29:59] Kellan: It’s 25 96 is when I would say technically it was legal in California. Right? Right.

[00:30:03] Collin: So the brands that have grown out of that and the consumers that have grown up.

[00:30:07] In the culture and the industry that’s grown out of that is not a manufactured one. It’s the most authentic in the country. And that means that I think the most influential brands in cannabis globally will come out of the west coast. And I think in my opinion today, it’s cookies and it’s for all of those reasons,

[00:30:24] Bryan Fields: what we do, prediction time, we ask all of our guests the same question.

[00:30:28] If you could sum up your experience into a lesson learned or main takeaway who pass onto the next generation, what would that be?

[00:30:38] Collin: Build? I have a strong bias towards action. I think everything that gets done in general, anywhere in any industry in any space is by people that did it. And that may seem obvious, but I think a lot of people sit on the sidelines and wait to be asked to do.

[00:30:54] Or guided to the light and builders belt. You just do it. That’s how we get here

[00:30:58] Bryan Fields: 10 years from now. What will be the main differentiator when consumers are selecting a product in the dispensary? Brand product category influencer, fulfill recommendation.

[00:31:09] Collin: I think 10 years from now, we will be getting into a more mature market where brand really makes a big difference today.

[00:31:17] It’s much more wide opening in California. Brand is a huge factor. And in Northern California and Oregon genetics and growers are much bigger piece of the puzzle, but I think the more mature it gets, the more the brand will. And 10 years from now, we won’t even be close to mature, but we’ll be headed down that path.

[00:31:35] Bryan Fields: What ending do you think we’ll be in, in 10 years? I bet it will be in the second half of it. I bet. I bet. Five or six, just based on the speed. Right. With alcohol, it took a hundred years is not going to, or I guess we’re a hundred years into alcohol. I don’t think that that’s one of the places where the comparison falls off.

[00:31:51] I think we’re going to be in fully, pretty mature industry 10 years from now, especially if we get federal legalization in the next 24 months.

[00:32:00] Kellan: I think Colin set up perfectly. I think brand is really what’s. Everyone’s going to kind of write home about if you will. I think that’s, what’s going to dictate decisions and I mean, just like people don’t buy RC Cola and if they buy Coca-Cola right, like you don’t hear people talking about RC Coke, you don’t hear you.

[00:32:15] Don’t see. A world famous soccer player, pulling a RC Coke bottle off of the stage. Right? So I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be brands that are going to dictate it.

[00:32:24] Collin: Let me tack onto that. I think an important caveat to that is brand is not logo on a package brand is expectation setting and consistency and community and culture.

[00:32:35] And so with those things as brand and logo on a package is easy to confuse, but it’s not.

[00:32:41] Bryan Fields: Just big spin on that it’s trust, right? Like there’s a, there’s a trust factor when you select a product there’s expectations that consistency of the product is going to be what you’re expecting because in this industry, at least from what I’ve seen, sometimes consumers have an off-putting experience the first time and are likely deterred from going back down that route again.

[00:32:59] They’re either they had a bad experience with an edible in college. They, they did this, they did that. And they’re unlikely to kind of consider that in the future. So I think if you’re saying trust is so important for this experience and sometimes the first experience is that delicate balance. So for me, obviously, brand is the high choice.

[00:33:15] I think it’s both a recommendation. And you’re from now, I’m going to believe that we’re going to be way past where we are now, probably for thinning, maybe third, but I think they’ll still be a big group of consumers that haven’t kind of migrated into mass adoption. And I think they’ll still be hesitant just because I think the stigma, at least from the east coast standpoint is still so stomped on come people that they’re unlikely to attempt it.

[00:33:36] I’m talking more about like the boomers age. I think they will be a little more hesitant to try it. And I think in Kenya, They’ll still have that stigma where I think the other generations will be more likely to go forward. So I think for their soldier recommendations, I think the dynamic of a friend saying I had this product when I went out to Oregon, I had tried tried six.

[00:33:54] It was amazing. You got to go grab it. I think that’s huge because I think someone here that goes out there for the first time is looking for that specific type of brand and trust. So. Cool. So Colleen, before we wrap, where can our listeners get in touch with you? And we’ll pack it all in the show notes, they want to learn more.

[00:34:08] Collin: Yup. Twitter guy. So my last name is land force. Exactly how it sounds. L a N D F O R C E. And at land force on Twitter, I’ve been making a conscious effort to do tweets last six months and I will continue to do so. And then for us on rivaled, just like it sounds you can get a great rundown of what we’re up to our brands, where to buy.

[00:34:32] All that good stuff right there.

[00:34:34] Bryan Fields: Cool. Well, appreciate your time.

[00:34:35] Collin: Thanks guys.

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From executive-level strategy to technical know-how, our actionable insights keep you ahead of the pack!

Join the others who are receiving high-signal, data-driven analysis to be in front of their peers in the cannabinoid space! If you have found value in our insights please share this with another canna-curious individual to grow the revolution!

Please note this is part of our Monthly Playbook. If you would like to read the entire Monthly Playbook you can sign up here. The library can be found here

Monthly Cannabis Revenue by State

The values in the table are derived from state cannabis sales and cannabis sales tax data. The image displays the relative market
share for each state. Data is sourced from a free resource for viewing publicly available adult use cannabis sales data.

Monthly sales

California continues to outpace all other states in monthly sales but showed a slight decrease from last month’s revenue to just below $400 million. Colorado and Washington have consistently remained in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, when comparing state sales data.

Another interesting observation from the data is the rapid rise of Michigan’s market which has surpassed Oregon’s adult-use market value even though Oregon is considered a more mature landscape. We contribute this to the drastic difference in population between Oregon (~4 million) and Michigan (~10 million). Michigan will be a market to keep an eye on moving forward.

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Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

Bryan Fields (Twitter: @bryanfields24) and Kellan Finney (Twitter: @Kellan_Finney) broke down the Medical Cannabis Industry with Dr. Jean Talleryand of MediCann.

Dr Talleryand’s 20 years in the medical field make him an expert when it comes to Cannabis as a form of medicine. Listen now to hear Bryan, Kellan and Dr. Talleryand discuss the following:

  • What is The Dosing Project™?
  • Why is the medical industry slow to adapt to new changes?
  • How does one decide if medical marijuana is a good fit?
  • How are providers being educated on what products to pick?
  • What are the most common uses for Medical Cannabis?

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[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangents. What’s up guys. Welcome back to the episode of the dime as always. I’ve got my right-hand man Kellen Finney here with me. And this week we’ve got a very special guest back the T in the building back to tea.

[00:00:21] Thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?

[00:00:23] Dr. Jean: Doing well. Thanks for asking me to be alive.

[00:00:29] Knowing how you doing,

[00:00:30] Kellan: doing well, just a Scott down and joined the 4th of July out here in Colorado. So it’s another sunny day. Just looking forward to the rest of the week

[00:00:39] Bryan Fields: for sure.

[00:00:40] Dr. T it’d be great to kind of get into your background and how you got into the

[00:00:44] Dr. Jean: space.

[00:00:44] So I first heard about cannabis in California during my residency, so that’s more than 20 years ago. I finished residency. I started in 1995 and finished in 92. Toward the end of my residency, I had a patient come to me and asked me to sign this form. And I guess I had known cannabis in college and pretty much dropped it from there.

[00:01:07] You know, medical school training is pretty rigorous and it’s tough to keep yourself together and be using regularly. So the patient really struck me because. Was not asking for opiates for his chronic pain. In fact, he was handing them over to me and asking me to sign this paper and said, that’s just fascinating as well.

[00:01:29] I, you know, I I’m trained in family medicine and was specifically looking at complimentary and alternative. Medicines. So things like traditional Chinese medicine puncture, so Canada’s fit right into the herbalism paradigm. And so really worked with what I was interested in. And here I was in Northern California watching the community using cannabis.

[00:01:53] It was perfect to learn more about it. So I signed a paper and the patient was pretty happy. Pain under control. And I said, wow, this big, you know people handing out, usually they come into your office and they’re asking for pain medicines or for hope prescriptions. And so this was before the whole crackdown on opiates.

[00:02:12] But to see this was really looking into the future and going, wow, this is going to change the medical industry as it’s still doing that.

[00:02:21] What year was that?

[00:02:22] That was 98. So my last year of residency, and then back then, there were some clubs in, that’s what they call them in San Francisco, Dennis Perone clubs.

[00:02:35] There’s a club called champs. And, you know, once they heard that, that I was a doctor willing to entertain their use of cannabis, that they. Budding to me. So I began to learn more from my patients and more about the plan and how it works. See that it had many benefits, including treating chronic pain,

[00:02:55] Now,

[00:02:56] Bryan Fields: let’s kind of dive into that.

[00:02:57] Obviously 98 was a very different time than we are now. Were you hesitant at the time to kind of sign off on that because you took a very different route than many of your peers would have taken. And some might’ve been very hesitant to kind of sign off on that. That would be the road less traveled. So can you kind of hear how you thought about that decision?

[00:03:18] That’s a tough one.

[00:03:18] Dr. Jean: Absolutely.

[00:03:19] Well, you know, complimentary and alternative medicine is also a bit less travel than surgeries, traditional pharmaceutical. Medicine. So I was already putting myself from their friend. Yeah. At first I kind of laughed at it cause I didn’t know the science behind cannabis.

[00:03:35] And I just saw you ask them folks just trying to get hot. But as I learned the science side, you know, and learn the impact. Wow. It really changed my spine. It was good to get introduced to, you know, some physicians that had been doing this for awhile, you know, since the seventies trying to advocate for patients like that.

[00:03:56] Yeah, I’ve heard and rattler Todd Mikuriya, who were really pioneers in California in being advocates for patients. But yeah, I definitely put me in the fringe of the medical world. It’s something I was probably born to be anyway. I’m third generation physician. So I came in. Medical school was a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and having grown up with dinnertime conversations on the medical industry anyway.

[00:04:24] So it fit me pretty well

[00:04:27] Bryan Fields: after that first patient did a second patient come with a similar request, because like you were saying, others kind of flooded towards you. You know, if you’re interested in kind of taking a different route than the opioids, and you’re looking for a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, that likely could have been one where either it took a little while, or it could have been quickly after.

[00:04:46] So how long roughly.

[00:04:48] Dr. Jean: Well, you know what one friend tells two friends and then so on, and then pretty soon the dispatch history or the club gets to know your name and what wasn’t long. I took a, a break, you know, after residency, wasn’t long, probably around 2000, 2001. I was seeing more patients than I could handle.

[00:05:08] And I took a little break and eventually realized that, Hey, this could be a business, you know, of course. Training as a physician doesn’t necessarily make you a good businessman. So it took a little while for it to distract me. Oh yeah. I guess this could be a business. So we started medic Canon in 2004 and Medi-Cal essentially was the Referral service that said patients interested in medical cannabis to two physicians to evaluate

[00:05:38] them.

[00:05:40] Bryan Fields: Some of those other physicians that kind of joined the network were, were there some that were hesitant to kind of be a part of it, obviously from a research standpoint, there might’ve been not as abundant of information back then. So like how did you communicate to them? All these opportunities and upsides, because one of the area to we’re looking to expand on is kind of the educational gap and communicating all the possible values.

[00:06:02] But where did you go there?

[00:06:04] Dr. Jean: It’s still a work in progress 20 years later, just to, you know, heads up the medical industries, just getting around to this idea of computers are a good thing. We’re really slow and conservative in regards to adopting new ideas. And cannabis is definitely one. At first, it wasn’t great.

[00:06:23] You know, I definitely would run into the fringe physicians, you know, who were just doing it to make money or, or do something out of different rebellious and sort of trying to train them to apply the science was a little hard, but over time I developed. A method. And now it’s interesting because what my goal is is to train physicians, to be, you know, a little bit researcher, a little bit prescriber, you know, using the idea of an equals one, you know, a case to look at the patient that way, rather than me telling them how to use the cannabis and what mostly it’s about education, rather than talking to the patient rather than.

[00:07:07] Dictating what they’re going to do. And that’s a little hard for physicians. We’re so used to knowing all the answers, you know, so teaching them to sort of regain their scientific explorative training and really be, you know, a research scientist rather than. Prescribers in the field, that’s really the goal.

[00:07:25] So it’s still hard to burden physicians because relinquishing that powerful position is part of the, how you become a medical cannabis physician. But it’s a very interesting, and you learn from the patients and you end up. Sharing that educational approach, educating, educating patients in your interaction.

[00:07:47] So, yeah, I don’t know if your experiences, when you seen physicians, is that was what the approach they had or just kind of find the paper and see you later. But really that’s what I’m trying to get docs to do is document what the use patterns are, understand the dosage and get specific about what you’re treating.

[00:08:07] And really worked with an experiment patients with new products, burying products, too. I have, for an example, I did. And you can stop talking, but I will talk forever. That’s for an example, I have one of my early patients was a four year old girl, a little girl. Who had that Mannix Gusto syndrome that was made popular or famous with Dr.

[00:08:33] Gupta’s using Charlotte’s web, but I had that patient also, or, and and we did also notice how CBD was really stop her seizures. But the problem of course, with the industry is that the plant is married. And so we would get great results for several months. And then when the batch change and here comes the seizures again, and we didn’t know what the, what was wrong.

[00:08:59] Well, it is different where we, you know, what had changed in the batch and I’d ask the growers. Did you change? Are the turpines changing? Well, of course they’re changing. Yeah. Probably causing her to have her seizures come back. So that really highlights the biggest issue with the industry now is how to take a variable plan, multiple chemicals, energy, and getting it to something predictable where we dose it and where we can understand exactly what combination of active ingredients are affecting the outcome.

[00:09:34] Right now, she is 13 and Using Epidiolex. So she’s come full circle on it. And it’s working by the way, trying to convince her neurologist to use Epidiolex years ago. It was a no go. We’ve actually, they’ve come around and now she’s successfully being treated with.

[00:09:58] Bryan Fields: It’s an amazing story. And Kellen, I want to go to you because I got a question about the variability of the, and then the PR person response is hear you’re building up the product and the variability of the individual.

[00:10:08] Are those going to be counterintuitive when approaching the success of a product?

[00:10:13] Kellan: Yeah, I

[00:10:13] mean, at the end of the day, I think this is why a lot of people nowadays, especially myself, Kind of criticized big pharma for only using like a one chemical approach for treating illnesses. But at the end of the day, it’s the most sound scientific approach in terms of trying to get results.

[00:10:35] Right. Just change one variable at a time. With cannabis there’s instances where you will create a product. And just like Dr. T was saying in terms of the variability from a terpene perspective, but there’s a bunch of other final chemicals that are present in an extract from cannabis. And when you start changing 8, 10, 12, 20 different chemicals in a quote-unquote medicine.

[00:10:59] It really, really makes it challenging to have reproducible results from a treatment

[00:11:04] Dr. Jean: perspective. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s going to be a challenging for pharmacology and pharmacology is not developed with that in mind. So it really is sort of breaking new ground in pharmacology, but very exciting because it could really produce a whole group of new medicines.

[00:11:26] With multiple active ingredients that are acting synergistically. So yeah, very exciting to, you know, grab a cannabis, maybe an old plant, but it’s really pushing our, our methods to newer methods. So excellent. Direction thickness. I think

[00:11:42] Bryan Fields: sometimes those newer methods are challenging for people and for older generations, particular to kind of adjust to the possibilities.

[00:11:51] Maybe I haven’t prescribed cannabis before medically for these patients, but who am I to kind of pull this option off the table for some of these individuals and these poor children that are suffering from some of these upper, from some of these diseases, because there is that challenge, like you were saying, Dr.

[00:12:06] T of like, understanding that true nuances of the plan and then prescribing it sometimes is looked at as like a last resort when unfortunately. It’s too far down the line. It should be considered as an option upfront in order to help these people, because we’ve seen early signs that are positive. Sure.

[00:12:23] There’s not been an overwhelming amount of evidence early on to kind of give a strong sample size, but the early indications are strong. How do we communicate? It’s small sample sizes as a powerful starting ground to a larger material.

[00:12:38] Dr. Jean: Well, that’s a great question. Yeah. We just have a handful of folks who are well, you know, to bring back my, my example of the little girl who was on multiple medications and the seizures were not going away.

[00:12:52] And as you know, had surgical procedures to try to stop the seizures and they weren’t working completely either. So in, in the end, when you’re out. Options and you sort of brought up you know up against the wall, you know, and there is this one option it’s working, it forces you to go into it.

[00:13:11] So that’s kind of what I think it’s going to do in some ways unfair, you know, it’s pretty safe. I think pretty, because I think often many people say it’s completely safe and, and, you know, there are incidents, instances of folks getting hurt by using cannabis. Now, something as simple as having a fainting episode, as, as you take a to-be for, while you’re driving, you know, things like that.

[00:13:39] That we don’t talk about very much. So there are negatives to it, but overall it’s pretty safe, especially compared to some of the pharmaceuticals

[00:13:48] Bryan Fields: that are out there to push back on Callan’s biggest enemy. And if you’ve listened to a podcast for Kellen versus pharma is a reoccurring theme here. So, I mean, big pharma obviously is not going to want to give up their market share because it is a really in dollar and it might be even understanding the financial impact.

[00:14:05] What role is big form of going to play in the advancements of medical marijuana? Can they be an ally or are they going to be kind of this back and forth enemy? So partner in this, I want

[00:14:17] Kellan: to just take one quick, second. I think they can be an ally, but I think that the benefit of having cannabis not institutionalized within big pharma provides one benefit at this juncture.

[00:14:29] Say there is something really negative that happens. And it happens to an individual who has a very strong legal team from an experience standpoint. They could come after and shut the whole thing down because say it’s a couple big companies doing. The liability aspect and the legal lawsuits and all of that will come in and just crush a lot, a big company because they have the bank account to pay those punitive damages.

[00:14:58] And so if something negative happens, having a fragmented space right now, while we still work out the kinks from a medicinal standpoint, Could potentially help the industry stay afloat and continue to move forward. Because at the end of the day, the reason big pharma focuses on one chemical medicines is because of liability and lawsuits.

[00:15:19] You know what I mean? And, and at the end of the day, they’re trying to develop a medicine to treat a specific illness that is variable within every human, because humans are all different, right? Like personalized medicine is a thing, but it’s gonna take time. And while we work out the kinks of understanding how you put the five keys in the lock, instead of just one key in one lock it’s best to kind of have that on the fringe where some angry person can’t go after all of the capital required to continue that company to continue to work out those kinks.

[00:15:51] So that’s, I’m just going to I’ll end it right there, but that was my one little pro pro thought about the big pharma being involved.

[00:15:59] Dr. Jean: Yeah, I agree with you that Rick farmer can be an ally, but it really is frame shifting. Well, you know, first we all have this sort of enamored vision of the magic bullet, right?

[00:16:12] The magic bullet that can do all, you know, in one. And it’s just not realistic, but it’s great for industry because if you happen to own and produce the magic bullet, then, then it’s very simple. And every time. Add an extra active ingredient. The complexity is exponential, right? And so it’s not just the linear it’s, it’s an exponent.

[00:16:36] So going down that road is, you know, as, as my partner Dr. Abrams say, it’s like going down the rabbit hole, you know, you can get lost very quickly trying to figure out what magic bullets or what active multiple activities. I will do. And then people are very different and that’s something new in the pharma.

[00:16:58] I mean, the whole idea of precision medicine, where we actually will do a genetic swab, figure out what type you are right now. If you’ve got high blood pressure, you know, there are a handful of medicines we might prescribe to you for high blood pressure, but we wouldn’t really swab your cheek and figure out what your genetic makeup is before we prescribe the medicine.

[00:17:20] And that may be the future. So that may be where pharma is going, where we’re, we’re getting more and more precise. We’re dialing in through multivariate analysis and understandings, which group of chemicals may work for your individual position.

[00:17:39] Bryan Fields: Well, I want to agree with both of you. I just don’t think that’s how real life works.

[00:17:44] Big pharma is interested in owning their moat. They’ve got a stranglehold on how it works. They want less variables because they want to control how it works and they want to control the prices because at the end of the day, Kaelin, while I’d love for that to be accurate about fragments in a protected meaning.

[00:18:00] You don’t care about these personal gratitudes for people and actually helping people. In my opinion, they care about dollar signs, right? Like, because the opioid manufacturers didn’t really care that people were having all these issues. They cared about dollar signs. And at the end of the day, my opinion, what motivates big pharma.

[00:18:20] Kellan: I know, but one thing to just remember when you kind of stand that is big pharma cannot own the moat because these are chemicals that nature makes right. They cannot patent chemicals from nature. So that is where the it’s the most challenging aspect. And so with Epidiolex, They own a formulation that includes all of these products from cannabis plant, and then they also own the genetics.

[00:18:44] They keep it under lock and key. There’s a ton more trade secrets involved in how GW does business than most pharma companies. Most pharma companies are like, here’s our patents. Here’s our acts. Here’s our, why it’s out in the open. And there’s more trade secrets in terms of, they only source there, the biomass from one cultivator, right.

[00:19:05] They had to do it this way because they have to control the genetics and it’s under super, super lock and key the exact environment that they are cultivating it because those are dictating the chemical profiles and they can’t own that. And so like, that’s the biggest obstacle. And I know there’s a lot of really smart lawyers involved in big pharma, but at the end of the day, they’re not gonna be able to patent th.

[00:19:28] They’re not going to be able to patent CBD. Right. And so it’s going to have to be this special formulation and they’re going to have to get creative and start adding in synthetic chemicals that are not ubiquitous to nature.

[00:19:38] Dr. Jean: I believe the Epidiolex is just CBD oil,

[00:19:45] Kellan: but it’s a formulation, right? CBD is not schedule one, but it’s what they did.

[00:19:51] And this is just smart lobbyists, right. Is what they did is they formulated a various mixture of CBD and other oils to create Epidiolex. And then the formulation of Epidiolex is what was rescheduled to, to schedule three or whatever. Right.

[00:20:09] Bryan Fields: Is it just CBD? Isolate? I thought there was turpines and some THC in there.

[00:20:14] Dr. Jean: No,

[00:20:14] because every time they thought of leaving those in the complexity, Yeah, so they just ended up now, there is a formulation, how to, how they got to it, how many milligrams per kilogram. And then of course, you know, making it stable, which is what the rest of the non-pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers haven’t quite gotten onto it.

[00:20:40] Make the same thing every time doing that when you’ve got multiple ingredients gets tricky, but yeah, at 10 milligrams to 25 milligrams per kilogram, which is a whopping dose by the way. And not really what’s available out there in the industry in terms of, you know, can you get that by going to start at dispense?

[00:21:00] Very hard to get that dose. It requires you getting, you know, a couple of hundred milligrams per tablet for an adult size. So

[00:21:11] Bryan Fields: did your endocannabinoid system evolve over time? For example, if you’re five years old and then you’re 25 years old, do you need a different sort of formulation in order to kind of still attack that same issue?

[00:21:24] I’m

[00:21:24] Dr. Jean: not sure if the endocannabinoid system changes over time, but your body weight changes and we prescribed medicines based on body weight. It becomes less of an issue as you grow older part, especially for children. You know, as they’re rapidly changing body weight, better adjust the medicines. To that, that’s why I said that, you know, milligrams per kilogram body weight, then that’s what we were using to try to dose the Lennox, Gusto kids who were having those seizures.

[00:21:55] Bryan Fields: Grandmom’s perfectly says that a many to many problems as we just continue down this rabbit holes. Let’s talk about consumers from a medical standpoint, what type of common issues are you seeing directed towards medical marijuana and kind of take us through just everyday conversations that our consumers are having.

[00:22:14] So for example, if someone is dealing with an issue internally, and they’re just not sure if medical marijuana could be a good fit, what sort of everyday things are you hearing that you, you can share with?

[00:22:24] Dr. Jean: So in terms of, you know, what are patients presenting to me with? Yeah. They’re, you know, the, I’d say the top four in the four corners of the yard are, you know, trying to improve pain, this sort of pain, you know trying to get sleep.

[00:22:43] A lot of insomnia up there improve anxiety. Or mood is really, you know, improve mood because, you know, anxiety or depression, improve mood and then appetite, everything to do with your guts. So those are the four corners of the world. You know, I was thinking about the other day, and I don’t know how geeked out you want to get with this, but it’s the autonomic nervous system, you know, if you think about the sympathetic.

[00:23:11] Fight or flight and the parasympathetic really controlling your your Your basic functioning involuntary functioning. There’s, there’s a link between them autonomic nervous system and the endocannabinoid system, which is where cannabis active ingredients are affecting. So it’s going to be interesting to sort of tease those two out, see how they would.

[00:23:34] Bryan Fields: Yeah, and I appreciate you breaking those up into the quadrants. So then I guess my follow-up question would be for someone like myself, who likely has all four of those issues, but would I be picking individual products to kind of suit that? So for example, in the, during the day, if my anxiety is running wild, I would lean towards this recommended product.

[00:23:52] And if I’ve got pain from my anxiety, then you would take this one. So is there kind of like the individual based approach you would take or how would you recommend. I usually

[00:24:01] Dr. Jean: start with the dominant, active ingredients in the products and really sort of trying to you know, present this THC. Or TMCA, you know, versus CBD or CBDA.

[00:24:14] So which one are you going to take one? Are you going to take the other, or you’re going to take a mix of the two and that sort of really helps the simplify because it isn’t experimentation. Right? So by understanding what THC does, what its effects are an advert. Affects it helps the patients, you know, choose one or the other.

[00:24:36] And I like to explain it to the patient this way. I’d like to, I say so the endocannabinoid system, imagine it as, as a car engine and engine is running and you’re going to be adding either fuel THC or oil CBD. So they work differently, but they both helped the engine work a little bit better or help a little bit better.

[00:25:00] So, you know, obviously, you know, a little gap and a little oil in the engine is better than just one or the other alone, you know, is sort of the assumption and probably pretty close to true. And so let’s start with those ingredients and w what you’re feeling and. What what it’s affecting. So it doesn’t have to be just, you know, this product is going to, you’re going to get better with anxiety by taking 10 milligrams of THC.

[00:25:27] That’s what I have to convince other doctors that we can’t be prescriptive prescriptive at this point. It’s going to take us years to really get prescriptive. We’ve got to be experimental and introduced. The players in the game and let them have the patient, understand the players and, and then start experimenting with dosing.

[00:25:47] And of course, starting low and creeping up discussing which modes of administration work for you. It could be that your headache gets better by rubbing a topic. Application on your forehead, or it could be that your headache gets better by taking a tincture or are smoking the flower. So it is not really one way, one path to getting the headache better.

[00:26:11] There are many paths and many active ingredients. So it’s, you know, what’s, what’s going to be your direction. Let’s explore. And that’s really, I think the best approach at this point, and maybe always the best approach with all the complexities of it. Eventually we’re going to get specific formulas, helping a large crowd of people where they’re going to be.

[00:26:33] We’re going to be able to say, okay, you know, five milligrams of THC and 20 milligrams of CBD. Alleviate the 90% of the headaches in this cohort of this core population. But at this point we are not there yet. We’re still trying to figure out I was telling those. We’re still trying to figure out how to categorize the different products out there, where to put one product versus the other.

[00:26:59] Bryan Fields: How did we get there?

[00:27:00] Dr. Jean: Wow. How do you tease apart a tag or math? You know, I think the, I love the crowdsourcing approach. I really love it. I think it’s a stroke of genius too, because we have the ability. To get information from the crowd. And let me explain it a little bit more. So traditional clinical studies follows a very specific route where there are four phases to studies from studying the safety of a particular active ingredient, all the way to producing the active ingredients, figuring out what dose works best for groups of people.

[00:27:36] And then. It works, you know, phase 1, 2, 3, once it goes through the different phases of clinical trial, the last phase is phase four, where it’s now the product is now out in the market and we’re gathering information on the safety. And the efficacy of the product from when it’s out there in the market.

[00:27:58] Well, cannabis really needs skips phase 1, 2, 3, and jumps into phase four. So it almost allows us to get information that feeds back to improving a product and then running it through phase one, two and three. Does that make any sense or am I talking to much. Yeah. So I love this phase four approach.

[00:28:19] People are trying it now. Let’s sort of sample the crowd, see what’s working for who and then sort of zero in on the magic formula up there. And then take that and then go through the traditional approach. Making sure it’s. In, in a group of people, typically phase one studies are just a handful of people.

[00:28:43] Phase two, three. If you’ve got, you know, a couple of hundred people in your study, that’s the large study phase four is sampling the masses and sampling everyone. So you get things like rare adverse events from phase four. That’s why you see certain products get released into the market pharmaceutical products.

[00:29:03] After going through phase one, two and three. They get released into the market. And then you find out years later that it’s being recalled because now that everybody’s got a chance to try it, we’re really seeing what the, what the problems are with it. Rather than that small study studies are models for the environment, but now we don’t need the bottle everyone’s using.

[00:29:24] We’re going to get the data from that and really get a good understanding of how

[00:29:29] Bryan Fields: it’s this, the dosing project. Can you kind of shed some light on how you think yeah. Is this, is this the dosing project? I was hoping you’d say the name, but now I just want to confirm, like, this is, this is the intention.

[00:29:45] Can you shed some light on that?

[00:29:47] Dr. Jean: Right. Right. So the promoting our research started the dosing project. We figured, you know, we, we started a research group thinking, okay, we want to get a lot of different companies collaborating on cannabis research to improve the industry and improve the medicine folks out there.

[00:30:07] The thought, okay. Maybe we’ll go through the traditional route, but it’s a very long and lengthy process and choosing which magic formula to bring through the traditional path is it was starting. I mean, how many different possibilities could be out there? I think people are trying that and they’re running into dead end because it’s like searching for a needle in the haystack with all this.

[00:30:35] So we just decided let’s sift the haystack through our fingers and see have the needle fall out, you know? And so let’s sample the crowds and see what they’re using and see what’s working that really what the dosing project is. So what we’re doing is basically crowdsourcing. We’re getting folks to try different products.

[00:30:54] We’re getting information on the product that they’re trying and how it works. And using that to come up with a good understanding of how many milligrams per kilogram of a magic formula that requires to improve pain and improve sleep. I was just going

[00:31:13] to

[00:31:13] Kellan: say, I think it’s a really cool time to be alive right now because of the infrastructure from a illegal and medicinal market standpoint at this, at this juncture, because this wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago without the amount of testing and compliance.

[00:31:28] That’s been forced on the industry. Because now individuals can see exactly what the active ingredients are in the product, because they’re required to get a tested before they can sell it to the consumer. So that’s a, I think I just wanted to point that out to the general listeners, because I think that that’s a unique aspect that the dosing project is working with right now that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago or

[00:31:49] Dr. Jean: yeah, even 50 years ago, you know, because we can use the.

[00:31:54] And we can crowdsource a lot easier now than we could. 30, 50 years ago. It’s going to really revolutionize, I believe pharmaceutical development to a different paradigm of where, where we can use phase four information, much more rapidly to improve formulations.

[00:32:17] Bryan Fields: Can I be a part of the study. Do I have to buy certain types of products like medical versus black market versus recreational?

[00:32:23] Like if I’m interested in being a part of this study, is there a certain path you are looking to take purchase certain types of products and where I purchased them from?

[00:32:32] Dr. Jean: Well, you know, at first we just decided to just as a proof of concept, we decided to. Study, what most people are using out there, which is the flower smoking, the cannabis flower we’re able to to rapidly, you know, fairly rapidly just after 700 responses, but really after a hundred responses, we were able to see statistical significance and we’re able to see that there’s a group of people that had significant pain relief after.

[00:33:05] Smoking the flower, a high THC flower at an estimated dose of 0.9, four milligrams per kilogram. What does that mean to the it’s about three quarters of one grand joint. So if I talk to patients there, if I said, wow, you know, we’re, most of our patients are getting complete relief with that. A lot of my patients.

[00:33:27] I would have difficulty with that because that’s a lot to consume for some folks who are used to just taking a puffer to, and, and that’s all they can tolerate maybe because it makes them anxious to take more, the smoke bothers them. All sorts of reasons why they can’t take more. So it gets difficult for them, but those who are able to take it or have been reporting significant pain relief at that, at that dose.

[00:33:53] So it starts to put a stake in the sand and lets us know, okay, maybe this is something we can work with and develop, you know, products that are based on that dosage. Hence the name of the project, that dosing project, you know, it was crowdsourcing. Seeing what they’re using and then creating a dose effect relationship that we can communicate to the world so that they can predict what the product is going to do to

[00:34:21] Bryan Fields: them, for people who want to be involved.

[00:34:23] So people, listeners that are hearing this for the first time and being aware, is there, can they contribute? Do you want additional participants share some more information on that? So instead of Kellan and I fielding a hundred questions of people wanting to be connected, We can just send them directly to where it’d be most valuable for you.

[00:34:41] Dr. Jean: Yeah. We’re well, you know, we’re in the second phase of the docent project where now we’re getting, you know, we were sampling for proof of concept. We’re just staring. Cannabis because that’s, what’s available and that’s what most people are doing. But we are transitioning to specific products that are available out there.

[00:35:01] And yeah, we’re looking for sponsors who want to put their product into the dosing project to see. What comes out of it, what dose is really effective. This is a great opportunity for a sponsor to start to make label claims and begin to, you know, help the consumer, understand what the majority of people are experiencing with their product pretty rapidly.

[00:35:28] I mean, we were able to get significances in just six months of work where your traditional study takes years. So it’s a quick, fast way to get to an answer

[00:35:39] somewhere,

[00:35:41] Bryan Fields: but it’s the number one question you get asked when people find out your role in the industry?

[00:35:48] Dr. Jean: The number one question I get asked by my patient?

[00:35:51] Bryan Fields: Just if you’re walking the street, introduce yourself and say, this is who I am. This is what I do. What, what would be kind of like a generalized, common question you get approached with.

[00:36:03] Dr. Jean: Can I have your number and I make an appointment, honestly, that’s probably the, you know, it, it seems, and maybe I’m a little skewed being in California, but it seems that everyone has tried cannabis and understand that.

[00:36:23] Not everyone has looked at it from a, the medicinal viewpoint. And, and so, you know, folks who were struggling with, you know, the four corners, the anxiety, the pain, or they want to find something that’s working for them. And often pharmaceuticals have issues. And so it’s, you know, they’re interested. They want to interest in, and it doesn’t work for everyone for us.

[00:36:49] I mean, that’s, that’s normal, but to explore. And to go through it and see how it might work for you is, is pretty interesting too. And you know, we’re also uncovering old methods of, of using, you know, for example, in Jamaica, the medicinal way to use cannabis. Might be the, take a, the flower and boil it in water and then strain the flower out and drink the water.

[00:37:17] And this is what might be given to kids or elderly, whereas smoking, it may be more considered back. And so taking that medicinal and looking at the active ingredients, and if we saw that. Most of the ingredients were, are acidic cannabinoids, which are not active, but have potential anti-inflammatory anti-anxiety effects.

[00:37:45] So it’s interesting to sort of, you know, take the crowd and help them change the way they’re using cannabis or offer them different options so that you can dress through.

[00:37:57] Bryan Fields: If you could sum up your experience into a main takeaway or lesson learned to pass on to the next generation,

[00:38:04] what would that be?

[00:38:06] Dr. Jean: I really love this crowd sourcing approach.

[00:38:07] I think it’s going to, you know, using technology. Using computation to really dial into precision medicine. It seems very confusing to have all these ingredients, you know, many to many problem, all these ingredients and many different people with different chemistries, but we have. Technology now to sort of match people and create this better effect than the one size fits all approach.

[00:38:37] That has been the dominant way of the pharmaceutical industry. So I think that’s going to really exciting medicine down the road. It’s going to be the future. You know, where you are, personal your medicine is personalized and cannabis is going to be a great candidate for that. That’s what I’m looking for.

[00:38:56] Bryan Fields: Prediction of time, 10 years from now, medical marijuana, will it be accepted as widely as some of the other pharmaceutical ads forward? And if so, which area will be the biggest youth face?

[00:39:15] Dr. Jean: Well, sorry to say. I mean, I thought we would. I, you know, in fact, I, I would talk with the other doctors and we’d put that song on whether it’s going to be 10 or 20 years before things were going to really progressed to, you know, cannabinoids and other active ingredients in the plant being part of medicine.

[00:39:39] And I was on the 10 year side. But it’s been 20 years and we’re not even close. So I say, I don’t know, it’s moving slowly. So in 10 years, I think we’re still going to be trying to figure out the right pattern of, hopefully it moves. But it hasn’t so far, we’re still stuck in, in, you know, the fear of THC, the fear of the psychoactive or the and, and the unknown, you know, as doctors are, you know, conservative generally slow to progress to new things.

[00:40:11] So it’s going to be slow. W we’ll be maybe a little further on as we are now. Turns out science is hard.

[00:40:22] Kellan: I do think that it’ll be more accepted than it is today. And I think that’s just going to be a product of having legal cannabis available. And I think most states at that point. And so I think when. When you legalize it and recreational use becomes standard. I think people then, or who are skeptical about it in general, are going to have at least a curbed opinion related to the medicinal benefits of it.

[00:40:49] Right. And so I think, I think it will be more accepted, but at the end of the day, the complexity of the plant, I mean just the amount of chemicals and natural products within a typical cannabis plant over 400 from an active chemical ingredient standpoint. It’s going to take a lot of not only kind of phase four dosing project kind of trials, but we’re also, we, we forget to mention that there is an entire foundation of the endocannabinoid system that is still currently being built out from an understanding perspective.

[00:41:20] And a lot of this work needs to be done by institutions and universities, and that requires federal support and federal funding. And we’re only starting to barely see. This kind of research being conducted and yeah, there was a record amount of primary literature publications last year associated with an endocannabinoid system in cannabis, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

[00:41:41] And I mean, we’re talking like traditional pharmaceuticals had hundreds of years and especially in the last, I would say 75 years from the 1930s on. There has been, there’s been an exponential amount of primary literature associated with the, the human body and our understanding of it. And that’s how we’ve been kind of, we’ve been using all that information to treat individuals and develop new pharmaceuticals in terms of.

[00:42:06] The chemical structure of specific proteins that different chemicals fit into and cause these different reactions within the human body. So, I mean, it’s just, it’s a massive undertaking and it’s a mountain that needs to be climbed and it needs to be climbed in so many different fashions. And there’s just so, so many people that need to get involved to be able to kind of push this forward.

[00:42:29] It’s going to be an army of scientists. Yeah.

[00:42:31] Dr. Jean: That’s a great point, Kelly. And I really think that the collaboration. Is gotta be a big focus if we’re going to move this quickly. And yeah, if we’re going to do this in silos, it’s going to take a lot longer. So a good

[00:42:45] Bryan Fields: point. Yeah. We’re fighting so many battles on, on so many fronts.

[00:42:49] Right. And in addition to all the science and the research, it’s the stigma though, right? Like you can still have the conversation. With your physician about, Hey, like I’m in pain, I need help. And he’s like, here here’s opioids. And I’m like sick, thanks. Or he’s like, Hey, you interested medical marijuana. And even, even me, who’s in the space.

[00:43:07] It kind of feels different where like, it doesn’t feel the same type of conversation I’m having. And I think that starts with it being more widely accepted and more conversations happening in plain sight, more research coming out and more breakthroughs and understanding all these benefits. And over time that stigma will follow.

[00:43:25] We go away in 10 years. Yeah, you’re right. We’ve got a ton we need to accomplish in 10 years for it to be as widely accepted. And in addition, big, pharmacist’s not going to give up their wrong financial decision. Not in a way, man. They’ve got that. They’ve got the pockets of the lobbyists and money talks, right?

[00:43:42] So for them to be open to this, I think it involves them taking a different strategic opinion because obviously we discuss some of their challenges. I think that there’s so many variables, 10 years with all the challenges we have. I don’t think we’ll get there, but I’m also optimistic and hopeful that we can get there.

[00:44:01] They could be the

[00:44:01] Kellan: next Kodak though. Visual camera came. They never saw it. They’re like, no, come on. Hey, this is an optimistic

[00:44:09] Bryan Fields: opinion. We’re going to get a cease and desist letter from big format.

[00:44:19] Dr. Jean: But, you know, from a doctor’s point of view, if you look at the clinical studies that they’re producing on clinical clinical, you’ll see that most of the studies right now are about cannabis use disorder. You know, they’re not really looking therapeutic, they’re looking into, so it’ll show you that the perspective is still skewed, you know, from, from traditional medical perspective.

[00:44:46] You know, this use disorder, but not, you know, treatment oriented or, or beneficial.

[00:44:53] Bryan Fields: I traveled internationally with my, my medicine.

[00:44:58] Dr. Jean: I don’t think so. You know federally, I don’t, I guess there are some countries that have. Except it cannabis, but typically it requires a doctor’s approval and, and that doctor needs to be from the jurisdiction of where you’re going.

[00:45:19] And so. Try to go to a place and then get a an evaluation there. Even from state to state, you know, technically you can’t travel. There are some states that for example, Maine has a program where if you have your medical cannabis now from New York, you can go to Maine and apply and get that transferred to me.

[00:45:41] And then you can have access to the name that you’re going up there for the summer vacations.

[00:45:46] Bryan Fields: Sure. And I just kind of wondering out loud because my pain and my anxiety, when I get in the car and cross the state line, it doesn’t just go, oh no, this pain anxiety is just stuck in New York. You’re fine, Bri.

[00:45:57] Like you don’t go worry about it here in Maryland and Jersey life is good, but I mean, just traveling, right. If you’re going to go from New York to, let’s say Maryland, you’ve crossed over four states, like I’m just going to leave my medicine at home. I mean, that seems pretty rigid.

[00:46:09] Dr. Jean: It’s a very common problem.

[00:46:12] Yeah. I’m constantly having to coach patients on how they’re going to handle that. They traveled from state to state.

[00:46:19] Bryan Fields: Good thing. Anxiety has boundaries, right?

[00:46:23] Dr. Jean: Not state boundaries.

[00:46:27] Bryan Fields: See, thanks for your time for our listeners that want to get in touch and learn more. Where can they get in touch?

[00:46:31] Dr. Jean: Our research is at www dot the T H E C E S C, Charlie, Edward, Sam,

[00:46:42] So yeah, go to our website and see what fun things we’re doing. If she needed a recommendation go to www dot Metuchen, EDI, C a N W we’ll see what we can do to help you. Thank

[00:46:55] Bryan Fields: you very much. We’ll link that up all in the show notes. Take care, right.

Thanks so much for listening to The Dime . Subscribe or follow us on Seeking Alpha, Libsyn, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play or Stitcher. And we’d really appreciate it if you could leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It helps others find our show.

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