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!
In this episode, Bryan Fields (Twitter: @bryanfields24) and Kellan Finney (Twitter: @Kellan_Finney) sit down with Dr. John Abrams, The Chairman, and CSO at The Clinical Endocannabinoid System Consortium (CESC), to discuss:
- What and who is The CESC?
- What is the endocannabinoid system?
- Receptors in the human body
- Research that’s currently underway to illuminate how to properly use cannabinoid products
- Introduction to The Dosing Project
- Understanding how cannabis interacts with the human body
- Future studies that The CESC will dive into
About The CESC: The CESC is an experienced committee of scientists who hold the passionate belief that the pursuit of knowledge involves the collaboration of diverse communities.
LinkedIn: The Clinical Endocannabinoid System Consortium (CESC)
The Dime Episode 57 Transcript: The Leading Non-Profit of Cannabis Science Research ft. Dr. John Abrams Chairman of The CESC
[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangent.
[00:00:10] Bryan Fields: What’s up guys. Welcome back to another episode of the dime as always. I’ve got my right hand, man. Tell him Finney here with me. And this week we’ve got a very special guest, Dr. John Abrams, chairman and founder of C E S C.
[00:00:22] Bryan Fields: John. Thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?
[00:00:25] Dr. Abrams: Oh, I’m great. Thank you for providing the opportunity. I’m looking forward to this discussion.
[00:00:30] Kellan Finney: How are you doing? Just enjoying another sunny day out here in Colorado. Cool.
[00:00:35] Bryan Fields: Ready to dive in. So John, before we get started, Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and how you got into the cannabinoid space.
[00:00:44] Dr. Abrams: I have been interested in this field for over 50 years. I’ve come from the bay area. I grew up in Palo Alto and this was starting to become common cannabis use. As I was in late high school. It was one of the experiences that we add [00:01:00] and it has been part of my life ever since I’m a biochemist and I’ve been in biotech and pharma for a good part of my career, the major part of my career.
[00:01:11] Dr. Abrams: And this has been an under a theme or a, you know, in the background until perhaps the last decade, when I decided I would really try and understand. The bases of cannabis science, the cannabinoid industry, and most importantly, how cannabis can unlock the human potential and understand the cannabis mind.
[00:01:38] Bryan Fields: Let’s kind of dive into that and you’ve accomplished many, many things in your career here. So the CSC, what is it?
[00:01:46] Dr. Abrams: Can you start that? So the CSC is an acronym for the clinical endocannabinoid system consortium. It’s a nonprofit, a 5 0 1 C3 type of [00:02:00] corporation that we started about five years ago. My illustrious clinical colleague, Dr.
[00:02:05] Dr. Abrams: Joel tolerant, whom will also be on this podcast at a future point. And I started recognizing that to be in. Healthcare space to be able to get grants donations and all it’s felt best. And the best structure was to be in a non profit format. In choosing the name. We decided that we were focusing on the endocannabinoid system.
[00:02:34] Dr. Abrams: We were taking a medical approach, thereby clinical endocannabinoid system. And because we’re intensely focused on the need for collaboration. And partnership and sharing. We looked at this as a consortium. And so our name says it
[00:02:51] Bryan Fields: all. I know cannabinoid system, for those who are maybe on familiar, can you kind of shed some light on exactly what that is?
[00:02:57] Bryan Fields: It’s a,
[00:02:58] Dr. Abrams: another system, [00:03:00] another physiological system that has been. Recently described and discovered as we, first of all, came to understand the structural and chemical basis of the prime active ingredient in cannabis, namely tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. As, and this discovery was pioneered by race.
[00:03:22] Dr. Abrams: Mushu long back in the seventies. I believe along with that, then a couple years later came in understanding of what receptors that is. If the THC is a key, then the receptor is the lock that, that key fits into to unlock. Physiological signaling. These are components then of a larger system, which has become to be called the endocannabinoid system.
[00:03:51] Dr. Abrams: It has also evolved our understanding to include the natural ligature, the natural compounds that our own [00:04:00] bodies. Right. That trigger and function in this system. The endocannabinoid system is like any other system we might learn in biology, the circulatory system, muscular skeletal system reproductive system.
[00:04:15] Dr. Abrams: It’s a, another collection of ligands Keys and receptors lock and binding entities, binding protein. It’s a whole system that we need to understand and discover, and it is majorly influenced by phytocannabinoids as opposed to our own indogenous logins. Endocannabinoids phytocannabinoids are produced. By the plant, the cannabis plant.
[00:04:43] Dr. Abrams: And that was the entry
[00:04:47] Bryan Fields: from the endocannabinoid system. The majority of people understand those areas. Is this like, can you kind of shed some light on that? Because I feel like we have conversations with some people in the space, and they’re surprised to hear some of this
[00:04:58] Kellan Finney: information [00:05:00] and more people are becoming aware of the endocannabinoid system.
[00:05:03] Kellan Finney: The entourage effect is really prevalent now within kind of the. Popular culture of cannabis, right? People are realizing that if they ingest just the THC molecule, they have a different experience than if they ingest the THC molecule with some of the other phytocannabinoids like turpines and, and other ubiquitous molecules within the cannabis plant.
[00:05:27] Kellan Finney: I would say probably the most well-known aspect of the endocannabinoid system comes in terms of how CBD and THC differ in how they interact with the human body. There’s this CB one receptor and CB two receptor that kind of the general public has grouped into two categories that the CBD molecule interacts with.
[00:05:47] Kellan Finney: Your CB two receptors. And the THC molecule interacts with your CB one receptor and one’s in your brain and one’s not, that’s why one gets you high. And the other doesn’t, I think that’s kind of like the general understanding right now, [00:06:00] which is there is so many more receptors and variables to consider when truly trying to understand how those molecules are interacting with your endocannabinoid system as well.
[00:06:12] Dr. Abrams: And so one of the issues is that perhaps some of the popular knowledge that’s out there. Is maybe not. Absolutely correct. And so I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a dichotomy the way you just described with THC affecting CB one and say CBD affecting CD two, if you will. I think that’s probably not born out by the gamut or scientific literature that’s being created in this.
[00:06:45] Dr. Abrams: It’s probably better to understand that there are multiple different classes of receptors a lot on, in, beyond CB one and CB two. And these important entities are affecting other [00:07:00] classes of receptors. And my own view is that one of the principal roles that CB two is triggering on a, another class of receptors.
[00:07:10] Dr. Abrams: Called the trip channels, TRP channels transient receptor protein channels. And this then fits in with many of the defined effects that these lie Gans that these phytocannabinoids are creating. But I think it’s overly simplistic to simply divide it as well. One hits one kind of receptors. the other login hit CB two.
[00:07:36] Dr. Abrams: I would encourage us not to be going down that pathway. However, it is useful if we looked at how the endocannabinoid system interacts. Other systems in the body. And you mentioned that CB one, the receptor may be predominantly brain or nervous system oriented or localized CB two, [00:08:00] probably a little more general, but it has a much more prevalent localization in cells of the immune system.
[00:08:06] Dr. Abrams: And it makes sense rather to look at the result in biology as effective. Are you turn hearing through CB one or are you triggering through but of course, CAC triggers both CB one and CB two. So it reacts, it works in both. The system is nuanced and then it goes on, there are other receptors in the class that.
[00:08:31] Dr. Abrams: And CB two are in, they all have complicated names and complicated biochemistry associated with it, but the devil’s in the details. And our mission is to deconvolute and explain this as clearly as possible to both the scientific and the light community. So let’s go
[00:08:52] Bryan Fields: back to one of the first things you were saying about different with the way Ellen approach that right.
[00:08:57] Bryan Fields: It seems like we’ve got to understand and laid the groundwork for [00:09:00] understanding exactly how it works. We
[00:09:02] Dr. Abrams: even began well, again, the biochemistry and physiology of this is not novel. Many of the other systems that we study or understand in biochemistry utilize similar mechanisms or similar pathways.
[00:09:20] Dr. Abrams: It’s just an essence, expanding the vocabulary list of what is in the human or what, what is in the organism. To understand how this works. It’s not reinventing, it’s just reapplying or fine tuning or expanding the vocabulary. We add new receptor classes. We have new. Well, again, new keys that interact with that.
[00:09:48] Dr. Abrams: I hope that that’s kind of clear. It’s not, we have to do a lot of heavy lifting for novelty. It’s more, how do you, what we learned in pursuing studies [00:10:00] in the end of cannabinoid system fit into our existing. Understanding of how it works in the first
[00:10:06] Bryan Fields: place is the endocannabinoid system commonly taught in school.
[00:10:11] Dr. Abrams: I think, you know, the answer to that, but unfortunately not. And it has been said that many med students are not even reached in that yet. You know, it’s only a couple of decades old and med school curriculum can often. B you know, going back centuries or so, you know, there’s a large historical record here.
[00:10:31] Dr. Abrams: So a little bit, we’re the victim of novelty in trying to place this into our overarching hierarchy. Like I was just saying. And so part of our mission, I think, is to explain and understand. In the context of what we already know about existing system, but at the end of the day, we do our programs, right.
[00:10:53] Dr. Abrams: And we need our goals. Then the endocannabinoid system will be core curricula in med schools [00:11:00] going forward. What are those goals? Well, there’s trying to develop programs. That can allow us to understand the deconvolute some of the problems or, or puzzles that we’re seeing in this. I mean, and this sounds a little kind of, not so clear, but one of the main issues that we’ve been facing in this is what we call a many to many problems.
[00:11:28] Dr. Abrams: That is the plant. The botanical source, the plant has a lot of different components. That interact is Kellen was referring to entourage effect or synergy or whatever. And we have many different receptors, many different locks that these fit into. And there are many different situations or doses or times of day or whatever.
[00:11:53] Dr. Abrams: So it’s this huge many to many problems. And our job is to try to deconvolute [00:12:00] this and find system systems or systematic taxonomy descriptors that will help us understand and simplify this. So we can clearly understand this has this effect in this context. Another agent or another phytocannabinoid has a second effect in this system together.
[00:12:21] Dr. Abrams: They synergize that is they add the effects together or they compete. They block each other’s effect. All this has to be worked out so that we can understand how optimally to use this product and enjoy it. Whether it’s for lifestyle or for medicinal purposes,
[00:12:41] Bryan Fields: they will sit. And I want to tell them to kind of dive in here from undertaking of what John described.
[00:12:46] Bryan Fields: I mean, the complexity of that challenge is, is, sounds like an uphill battle. Is that the way you hear it? Yeah, I
[00:12:51] Kellan Finney: mean, but anything in the scientific world is an uphill battle and I think that. The CSC, how John described it is the only [00:13:00] way that the human race really tackles these kinds of daunting obstacles, if you will.
[00:13:04] Kellan Finney: Right? These kinds of projects of understanding the physical world around us. Right. It’s not going to be one group that’s, it’s going to be collaborative effort individuals across the globe. Right. And you can even see that we’ve just, we’re on the precipice of kind of a logarithmic curve, in my opinion, associated with scientific research, directed at understanding how this cannabis plant and the chemicals, it produces changes.
[00:13:31] Kellan Finney: Human’s perception on the world, around them, right. In terms of the psychological and the psychedelic experience that people have when they consume the plant. And I mean, the amount of literature that’s published daily now is, is pretty phenomenal, right? If you look at it from even 10, 20 years ago, and it’s only increasing every day, and I think that that’s really what it boils down to.
[00:13:53] Kellan Finney: Is it haunting task to try to understand all how five or 600 different chemicals in one plant. [00:14:00] Affect the human mind. Right. And it’s not going to be accomplished by 5, 6, 10 scientists with some pipe hats and some Erlenmeyer flasks. Right. And the, in a lab, like it’s definitely going to take a collaborative effort and a consortium to be able to push the scientific knowledge associated with this forward.
[00:14:21] Kellan Finney: And the other thing is it’s, you could throw a giant army of people at it, but it’s going to take time. These things aren’t just. Checking the box, achieving the goal. Like it’s, you’re working with the real world it’s messy and you never really know what what’s going to come out of. A lot of the experiments you do.
[00:14:35] Kellan Finney: It’s, it’s going to be guessing and going out into the real world and seeing what happens and then reporting on it. And then a lot of other really, really smart individuals look at what you did, kind of provide them your critiques. And then they’re going to go out and try to build on what you do. You did and that’s science, right?
[00:14:51] Kellan Finney: It’s it’s the only way to kind of move these kinds of projects forward is. Taking that scientific approach, if you will.
[00:14:58] Dr. Abrams: And if I could just follow up [00:15:00] on that, because that’s an excellent narrative there. I think fundamentally our approach in this is to provide some kind of overarching systematics or systematic approach.
[00:15:14] Dr. Abrams: And I would outline that is understanding on the one hand. The chemo type thing, the understanding as well as we can, the list of products that are in this complex, mechanical and making that list understanding what is there that we’re talking about. And then on the other side, being able to quantify effect that we’re studying in a reputable manner, whether it’s physiological effects, mental effects biomarkers, we use that term.
[00:15:48] Dr. Abrams: That’s where a biomarker is a key indicator of a state change. In a biology or in a physiological response. But you have to [00:16:00] approach this systematically. So if you can get your content lexicon established and you can get a series of reputable affects or outcomes on to fight or measure. You just start putting it together and become ballooning as you go and drawing your conclusions.
[00:16:19] Dr. Abrams: And I think fundamentally this is the basis of the CSC approach. We’re trying to develop and bring. That kind of systematic into this
[00:16:31] Kellan Finney: field circle back on one thing you did say and tracking. So you mentioned tracking the effects that individuals have from different chemovars and this is something that the CSC has already embarked upon in terms of the ghosting project.
[00:16:46] Kellan Finney: You want to kind of elaborate a little more about the dosing project and how that has been pivotal in humanity’s effort to try to understand how these different chemovars.
[00:16:58] Dr. Abrams: No, certainly thank you for that [00:17:00] prompt show. The flagship program of the CFC is in fact, the dosing product that Kellen was just alluding to.
[00:17:08] Dr. Abrams: This was a program that grew out of a challenge that my colleague Joel tolerant. Back in 2016, when as a cannabis clinician, he was being challenged by his patients, recommend to them, what should I use? How much should I use? What is best for this indication? And sadly, there was no basis of this. And we came up with the idea that folks that are using these products, this medication.
[00:17:43] Dr. Abrams: Preparations might actually be able to report on their responses and guide these kinds of ads or provide answers and help guide our knowledge in the space. John tolerant is a bit of a rebel, and I really salute [00:18:00] him for his view that rather than clinicians necessarily dictating patients, his approach is let the patient explain to you what is working for them.
[00:18:11] Dr. Abrams: And you keep track and correlate that. So in essence, that was the heart of what we were putting together here. And we decided we, we would likely be able to do this where they crowdsource web based query platforms. And so back in 2016, we put together a proof of concept version of this, where we would be asking folks.
[00:18:34] Dr. Abrams: How much flour. And this was initially limited in scope because we knew this program, this project, or this problem is broad again in systematics. If you need to get started, define your scope, narrow it to the point where you could draw some conclusions. So we concentrated on asking folks about flour, not other processed cannabis products.[00:19:00]
[00:19:00] Dr. Abrams: Because they’re just so complex and asking them simply how much they were using by route of administration of inhalation, thereby smoking combusting, blazing cannabis or vaping it, but it was restricted to that mode. It was restricted to flower and it was restricted to the two top indications. That was tolerant.
[00:19:24] Dr. Abrams: We’re seeing in his clinical practice, namely pain and disordered sleep. And so we put out a web-based platform for this, and we were trying to ascertain, could we, based on this kind of crowdsourced. Come up with dosing guidelines for pain and disordered sleep for what people were using. And the answer was a resounding yes, and proof of concept.
[00:19:52] Dr. Abrams: And we’ve presented on this at Amarillo conference in 2018. We’ve written up reports, some of that can be seen [00:20:00] on our website. So it is a very useful and fruitful approach. And now our goals. Is to produce version 2.0, which will be much more, which will be expanded beyond that. It will now include multiple modes of administration.
[00:20:17] Dr. Abrams: It will be expanded to not just flour, but various process forms of cannabis. Well useful for oral and ingested motive administration or topical, the indications will be expanded out and the clinical survey platforms are expanding as well. And the proof of concept phase we simply ask what kind of response on a four category scale, no response, partial response, almost complete or complete response.
[00:20:50] Dr. Abrams: And we coded and analyzed the data that way. Now we’re inserting other survey modules into that, including [00:21:00] mood assessment, psychedelic altered state assessments. These are all standard surveys that are being used in the medical fields or psychology fields. We’ve asked about adverse events, side effects in proof of concept dosing products.
[00:21:18] Dr. Abrams: That will be slightly expanded and modified so that we can come up with what. Negative effects or what bad events may be occurring, but basically this work in proof of concept. And so we’re very excited to be able to expand this. And it is one of our key flagship initiatives under the clinical correlates program with the CSC that we plan to pursue in the near term
[00:21:46] Bryan Fields: for individuals.
[00:21:47] Bryan Fields: Did you need to feel comfortable with that study? And then I have a
[00:21:50] Dr. Abrams: follow-up question. So it’s a great question, Brian. And let me just say that what we’re basically doing is what’s called a [00:22:00] phase. Clinical study, if you will. Clinical drug development typically follows a three phase development program phase one where you’re looking for toxicity in the preparations that you’re administering to people.
[00:22:18] Dr. Abrams: Phase two is looking to try and ascertain what that dose should be. And phase three is looking for efficacy. Am I getting the desired effect? This is a classical paradigm that EU FDA, China, PRC, China, FDA uses. This is very useful drug develop. Once your drug is approved. You do post-marketing surveys and these are typically referred to as phase or where you’re actually looking for what kind of responses beyond what the drug may have been identified for?
[00:22:58] Dr. Abrams: What about [00:23:00] side effects that were not part of the initial studies? So they tend to be broader in our case because of the way. Our models work. We were looking for statistical significance in our models and we could just keep going. Accruing respondents until we hit significance. So it’s not like we had to go in and negotiate with any agency up front that we will put 50 or 60 or a hundred to get those kind of answers.
[00:23:33] Dr. Abrams: But it’s fair to say that for the THC responses that we were trying to measure in smoke flower, as we hit about a hundred respondents, it became real. And so that answers your question it’s at that level. But of course, if you’re trying to find nuances, you’re trying to find what interacts with that. THC, what turkeys or other components [00:24:00] that are present.
[00:24:01] Dr. Abrams: You need more respondents in order to tease out that complexity in order to deconvolute that many to many problems. So I think, I mean, I’m answering your question simply it’s on the order of a hundred or so to get started, but of course our goal is to do much larger data. So that we can begin to deconvolute and understand what either minor cannabinoids or terpenoids or other components, files, esters that are present in.
[00:24:32] Dr. Abrams: In this botanical, how they affect the response,
[00:24:36] Bryan Fields: the reason how many is because obviously everyone handles flour differently may on women, time of day. Wait. And for me personally, every time I consume flower, I’m hungry. And then Sleepy’s. I might not be the best for that, but others might have a different experience.
[00:24:51] Bryan Fields: So I was wondering how you could feel comfortable in, in kind of segmenting all of those data variables and then feeling comfortable with the output you have and understanding that. Okay. Because [00:25:00] we’ve seen enough significant enough difference to go forward with the next
[00:25:03] Dr. Abrams: one. I mean, that’s a great question, Brian, but if your survey methodology specifically is asking about fast and in essence, we are, we’re talking about mood survey.
[00:25:17] Dr. Abrams: And mood surveys specifically can address or do address questions of fatigue, calmness, tension, et cetera, that comes out of the analysis. Doesn’t it? Because you can tell if the bulk of your respondents are reporting that way, then you know, that’s what the response is. If it’s. And I believe it will, or it does.
[00:25:39] Dr. Abrams: You begin to understand how that subsetting occurs and you begin to look at well, what is behind that sub setting? Is it gender? Maybe, maybe, probably not. Is it genotype you might be able to you know, you’re marrying these kind of work with genetic screening that is [00:26:00] increasingly popular. And so you’ve got that parameter.
[00:26:03] Dr. Abrams: You can ask questions or we know about when did you dose How much did you smoke? And most importantly, what did you take it with? And that is another aspect of this that we’re seriously thinking about how to incorporate into this next version or the one after the interaction term with other agents. We know we don’t live in a world where all we’re doing is consuming cannabis in isolation.
[00:26:31] Dr. Abrams: What about with that beer you had? What about those with tobacco? What about other dietary supplements or sleep aids or something like that? And we think that this crowdsourcing approach can help be convolute or understand that, but we just have to ask the questions right. And have it in a form where the data will speak for itself.
[00:26:54] Dr. Abrams: When
[00:26:55] Bryan Fields: you said that I had so many friends that came to mind of just wanting to just sit there and consume [00:27:00] canvas all day for a research study. So that’s what you’re looking for. I’m sure we can put up an announcement. I’m sure we can love the number of applicants for you
[00:27:07] Kellan Finney: do count, huh? No, I’m too. I get bored.
[00:27:11] Kellan Finney: You know what I mean? I’m not a big fan of video games. Like I don’t need to need to find something to keep myself busy while I consumed that kind of cannabis. You know, you started from
[00:27:19] Bryan Fields: a popularity standpoint, I’m sure you can find a couple of people that come to mind that would be interested in participating in such a study.
[00:27:25] Kellan Finney: Oh, we could totally make brochures. It would be sold out. I mean, we could really get a big bonus.
[00:27:31] Dr. Abrams: Well, interestingly for proof of concept phase, we were recruiting through Google ad words because as a nonprofit. We got access to free Google ads or Google supported onwards capability. And so we were experimenting with, can we change the recruitment profiles who are our Google searches or directed Google searches?
[00:27:57] Dr. Abrams: And there’s a whole story [00:28:00] about that concept, how we were able to, for example, channel more respondents into our system. Indication arm when we saw that most respondents. Checking the pain box, but not checking the sleep box. And we wanted to boost that number. And in fact, that’s how you go. If you get significance in your model for pain, because you have enough respondents and you go, oh, well, I don’t have quite enough for sleep.
[00:28:27] Dr. Abrams: I can’t draw any conclusions yet. You try to recruit in sleep and then you start to see, oh, I’m at the same number that we’re responding in pain. And I. Significance in my, my models and I don’t have it and sleep, therefore, either something is not working right. Or it is not so efficacious for sleep, which of course we know is not necessarily the case.
[00:28:52] Dr. Abrams: I’m just kind of quoting an example here. But the point is this approach is dynamic. It’s ongoing. [00:29:00] You don’t have to upfront postulate what your study size is going to be. And then open it and close it. I can keep going. I think that’s one of the advantages of this crowd source web-based phase four approach.
[00:29:14] Dr. Abrams: I hope that’s
[00:29:15] Bryan Fields: clear. Yeah. Yeah, it definitely is. And I can only wonder if you use Google ad words to try and attract people to your study. If I would’ve seen a Google ad that said consumed cannabis for sleep study, I would have assumed immediately it was a lie or a trick or some ception technique, because that seems way too good to be true.
[00:29:31] Bryan Fields: And I’m curious in order for them click that. Good for those guys. It was
[00:29:34] Dr. Abrams: more nuanced than that because in those days, Google had inhibitions on what you could use and we were not able to. Those kinds of terms in, so we had the slalom around the Google restrictions, which we did successfully, but there are, you know, of course there’s always ways, I guess, of getting these announcements out, but it worked, it worked, you know, we could, [00:30:00] we could show.
[00:30:00] Dr. Abrams: Increases in responding cohorts, just based on the terminology that we’re using. But now, Brian, it was not quite as blatant as yet smoked cannabis and respond to this study. I don’t think it would have cleared Google back in 26 and 2017.
[00:30:16] Bryan Fields: That would’ve shut down your site because Google would have been like, there’s a lot of clicking going on here.
[00:30:21] Kellan Finney: I want to just elaborate a little bit or they’re on the dosing study. So the survey is one portion of it. Is there any scientific techniques or technology that’s currently utilized to kind of understand what’s going on in the brain? And is that something that the CSC is looking to. To embark on or already has, is you want to kind of elaborate on, on some of the techniques that are used to look inside the skull to see how this is really interacting with you from a biochemical perspective.
[00:30:51] Kellan Finney: No,
[00:30:51] Dr. Abrams: that’s a great, great question. And we are extremely active in this space through a very fruitful collaboration [00:31:00] that started a number of years ago when I was director of Emerald science the Emerald county. And received across the desk. A very interesting abstract from Dr. Jeff Karen clinical psychologist, out of Eugene, Oregon who had proposed and executed a study of smoked cannabis, runnings, and Q E G quantitative EEG measurements.
[00:31:26] Dr. Abrams: So what that is in essence is putting electrodes on the surface of the brain of the surface of the, of the sky. It’s done very routinely. Medical sleep assessments. Cetera. It’s been a part of neurology for many, many years. That’s not invasive, it’s not a problem. And so he approached us at Emerald at the Emerald conference with this great abstract that really piqued my interest, but he had chosen a couple of strains.
[00:31:56] Dr. Abrams: For the study. And my sense was that was [00:32:00] fine, but he was not really surveying the whole kind of versus it will, as it were. And I was interested in seeing if he would be receptive to expanding that initial study, to include strains on the other side. And for those of you who are listeners who understand sprain, he had not included initially was the sour diesel, or what we call the fuel aroma.
[00:32:26] Dr. Abrams: Chemo type side. And so even as receptive, we added that in and produced the study with these three strains reported on it at Emerald 2019. And that presentation is available on Emerald website. It’s also available through CSC website, but the results have been very interesting to deconvolute and study.
[00:32:49] Dr. Abrams: And out of that, we do see a pattern. Of response in cannabis users with these different strains that we can begin to [00:33:00] understand maybe what some of the underlying fundamentals are. So this gives you. A bone, a feed, a biomarker, if you will, on beyond simple survey responses, it’s almost akin to being able to do blood work or something like that.
[00:33:17] Dr. Abrams: It’s a bone of feed, a bio marker. In addition, in this study, he included surveys, which I referred to earlier regarding mood, the standard Bruno mood assessment, and an altered state, such a delicate questionnaire, which is also part of. That field and we’ve been calling correlating and co-leading the responses.
[00:33:39] Dr. Abrams: And trying to map them to brainwave patterns and we are making good progress. So going into the future, one of the clinical correlates initiatives of CSC is to expand that clinical, the clinical trial work, if you will, based on quantitative EEG. [00:34:00] Ingested smoked or ingested cannabinoids or cannabis product.
[00:34:06] Dr. Abrams: We’re going
[00:34:06] Bryan Fields: to dive into prediction students. Before we do that, we ask all of our guests a few final questions. John, if you could sum up your experience into a main takeaway or lesson learned to pass onto the next generation. Oh, would that be?
[00:34:20] Dr. Abrams: Wow. Follow your heart and your interests. It took me many, many decades to get to the point where I could say I am completely involved in kind of the science and understand standing the cannabinoid industry and the underpinnings of the cannabis.
[00:34:40] Dr. Abrams: Mine. It was a process to get there, to throw in. Wholeheartedly in this space I am exceedingly happy and content at the progress we’re making. And so my advice, I guess, to those that come now or afterwards is try to recognize as early as possible what your goals and dreams are [00:35:00] and go do it. I think that’s
[00:35:01] Bryan Fields: perfectly said your personal experience with cannabinoids.
[00:35:05] Dr. Abrams: Well, I don’t think it’s a, you know, it’s a secret that Been a fan of, of the plant, particularly smoked cannabis for over 50 years. I find it very beneficial for numerous reasons. Certainly the calm, calming, and relaxation component, but for me, I find it at least what I hang on the THC component, age, strong associative ability and ability to kind of lay.
[00:35:35] Dr. Abrams: Concepts and disparate ideas to come up with valid hypotheses that can be tested. It’s almost for me like a brain booster. And I guess I might put myself in the realm of what you might and I mean, this is. Not self-aggrandizing but successful stoner. And I think I probably have been, in addition, [00:36:00] I’ve been trying to understand the best way to consume and use CBD or CBDA because of course there’s so much interest in that.
[00:36:08] Dr. Abrams: And one of the approaches that. Pioneer, not pioneer. That’s an old approach. It’s decoction that is boiling botanicals and creating a tea out of it. But in contradistinction to a tea, which is perfusion or infusion here, you’re actively boiling it. And so not only are you extracting components, but you may be changing them advantageous.
[00:36:34] Dr. Abrams: In the case of cannabis, we know that there’s a decarboxylation chemistry. That’s important. That is you have to take off one of me, functional groups, part of the molecule in order to have a certain range of activities. And I’m being a bleak here because we’re a big proponent of non decarboxylated cannabinoids for biological effects.
[00:36:57] Dr. Abrams: But the point is, is that kids a. [00:37:00] Approachable way to get CBD and or CBDA medication in a cheap. And what I believe is an effective way, simply boil hemp or CBD bud and drink it. And I find that that works. Quite well. So we’ve presented on the approach and the content that comes from this at the 2019 ACS American chemical society, Canada subgroup.
[00:37:31] Dr. Abrams: Meeting here that was in San Diego then. And again, details can be seen on presentations that are on our website. Interesting approach on how to acquire CBD or ingest CBD meditation. So I guess I would say between THC cannabis inhalation, and I’m a big vape user at this point and CBD decoction that’s all I get through my day.
[00:37:57] Dr. Abrams: I love the
[00:37:58] Bryan Fields: brain booster technique. That was, [00:38:00] oh, that was one of my favorite ones are likely going to steal that. So let’s go onto prediction time. 10 years from now 2031, John, will we have enough data and research to have personalized cannabis menu?
[00:38:14] Dr. Abrams: Well, I’m going to just answer that by saying, I’m going to drop off the word cannabis medicine and say 10 years from now, what will the stage of personalized medicine be?
[00:38:26] Dr. Abrams: Because we have to move that forward as well, right? I mean, we’re not going to have personalized cannabis medicine without personalized medicine. I’m an optimist. I think we will get there. And I think it is the key. There’s some paradigm changes. Of course. First of all, we have to be able to generate what is the person or generate information on who or what is that person?
[00:38:55] Dr. Abrams: And that’s a heavy lift because it’s expensive to get that. I mean 10 years from [00:39:00] now. I hope we have the resources that more people, not just wealthy elite have access to that kind of personalized diagnostics along side or on the second truck, you have the evolution in cannabis or cannabis science can adenoid industry and cannabinoid medicine.
[00:39:20] Dr. Abrams: And so yeah, there probably will be a marriage sometime in the future for this to be the best. But it’s, it’s still a heavy lift. Brian, I mean, 10 years is that it’s coming fast. I’d like to
[00:39:35] Kellan Finney: believe that it’s there. You know, I mean, 20 years ago we were still in the middle of the human genome project, right.
[00:39:43] Kellan Finney: In 2001. I could be mistaken on my dates, but it costs SWAT $13 billion to analyze the first full human genome. And now. I can go to 21 and me right as a 21 of me and they 50 bucks, they [00:40:00] send me a, a Q-tip. I swab my mouth, put it in there, send it back. And they’re going to give me a pretty decent understanding of my genetics from, for a significantly lower costs.
[00:40:12] Kellan Finney: So I think that. As we continue to improve the techniques associated with understanding biomarkers inside the human body, as well as genetics, that that cost will continue to fall. And as that costs continues to fall more and more of the population will be able to afford that kind of testing. And as more of the population.
[00:40:39] Kellan Finney: Gets tested for their genetics. You created larger data sets and efforts. Like what the CSC is embarking on with the dosing project. It’ll be easy to kind of look at interdisciplinary data to be able to pull these correlations. Right. And so I think in 10 years it may not be like, What you would see in Hollywood as far [00:41:00] as like personalized medicine.
[00:41:01] Kellan Finney: But I think that someone with enough motivation will be able to pull their 21 and me genetics data and put it into probably some sort of free software too. Pull correlations between say the cannabis, they consume their genetics and how they feel about it. And I think that that would be a form of personalized medicine associated with cannabis.
[00:41:23] Kellan Finney: So I know that’s a long-winded answer, but that is my thoughts on it. I mean, Brian coming from a less traditional scientific background. What are your thoughts on cannabis being a personalized medicine in the future? I mean, kind of walk us through that optimistic.
[00:41:40] Bryan Fields: Brian wants to say yes and wants to agree with you guys.
[00:41:43] Bryan Fields: But the other side, Brian, here’s our friend, Dr. Matt Morton says groundbreaking science is expensive and takes time. And I think 10 years is just not going to be enough time to learn everything. We need to learn, to understand all the datasets. There’s a ton of variables and [00:42:00] teams like the CSE. They’re doing incredible, incredible efforts, right?
[00:42:03] Bryan Fields: They need help from outside parties. Like you were saying, John, like your team can do as much as they can, but need participants from outside studies. And I think that involves more people getting involved in contributing to the cause. So while I’d love for that to happen, I think the only way that happens is if more organizations kind of align with the CSC and people like you, and I tell him, continue to contribute toward the car to help raise awareness and to get people out there to contribute whether it’s information or that donate their funds.
[00:42:33] Bryan Fields: I don’t know, I’m going to have to say no, but I think that’s the next line where Don, if people want to get involved with the CSC, Where can they do that?
[00:42:42] Dr. Abrams: Well, I would start by looking at the website and then thinking about what your level of interest in participation might be. We have donation programs, we have sponsorship programs and we have partnership programs depending on.
[00:42:58] Dr. Abrams: What your level [00:43:00] of interest in this is. And I think that’s where, where I would start. We are interested in collaboration. We are interested in consortium building. We are interested in working with top tier folks who really do want to move this forward. This is a huge effort and, you know it takes a lot more than a village.
[00:43:20] Dr. Abrams: And so we have to be open to that. We have to kind of make sure our egos don’t get in the way we have to make sure. While intellectual property protections are very important and that we’re aware of them that they too don’t get in the way to inhibit this. It has to all be pulling in the same direction, nuanced as it is.
[00:43:43] Dr. Abrams: I’m optimistic that we can move this forward 10 years and it’ll be, it’ll be a challenge, but if you don’t start, you don’t get it.
[00:43:53] Bryan Fields: Perfect. Well, I appreciate your time, John. We’ll link everything up in the show notes so that people want to get involved in and find the link and [00:44:00] look forward to kind of keeping up to date on what’s going on with CSC and having you back soon.
[00:44:04] Dr. Abrams: But thank you so much for the opportunity. It was a very enjoyable discussion.
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