Posts in METHODOLOGY
Emma Chasen - A Rising Star in the Cannabis Industry
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When Emma Chasen’s supervisor at the Brown University Oncology Research Group declined her request for cannabis trials and instead, encouraged an expensive pharmaceutical drug, Chasen knew her journey would lead to greener meadows elsewhere. Now, an industry consultant and cannabis educator, named Portland’s Best Budtender 2016, featured on television and podcasts, Newsweek, MG Magazine, Stoner Magazine, High Times Magazine, The Oregon Leaf and Teen Vogue, Chasen is changing lives by helping people heal and understand the scientific powers of the plant.  

After graduating in 2014 with a degree in Medicinal Plant Research, Chasen began coordinating at the Clinical Oncology trials with the Brown University Oncology Research Group. She soon realized she could no longer work for a company that did not support her vision and drifted to Portland, Oregon where she found herself aligned with a company that took a more scientific approach to cannabis - Farma, a popular Portland dispensary. Beginning her career as a Budtender for the dispensary, in a few short months, she quickly became promoted to the General Manager. After a little over a year in that role, she was given the title of Director of Education, focusing on educational efforts and creating training curriculum focused on the science behind the plant, knowledge, medicinal benefits and empathic patient care.

After over two years of acquiring extensive experience and knowledge at Farma, she decided to continue her journey with Sativa Science Club, a grassroots cannabis education initiative. By joining, she understood that she could target the cannabis community on a larger scale and expand her curriculum into a certification program. In the fall of 2017 through the Sativa Science Club, Chasen launched the Core Science Certification program which focuses on everything from cannabis botany and cannabis compounds to the endocannabinoid receptor system, cannabis products and more.

With a heart of gold, Chasen is positively impacting and influencing the cannabis industry, on her mission to educate the people on the science behind cannabis.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?  I am a cannabis educator and consultant. I work with cannabis businesses to elevate their brand presence by creating consumer facing educational marketing collateral and educational programs. I also help retail cannabis businesses successfully navigate the transition from medical to adult-use cannabis. I help with business organization, structure and also create in-house educational training programs so that employees are better able to service the consumer market. In this highly competitive market, cannabis businesses must distinguish themselves and the way to do that is with highly trained and educated staff. I also teach workshops in Portland for both enthusiasts and cannabis industry professionals on the fundamentals of cannabis science. Since I have a robust background in medicinal plant research, I feel it is part of my job to explain cannabis science in an accessible and meaningful way for people of all backgrounds.

TELL MJ ABOUT YOUR EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE IN CANNABIS.  I graduated from Brown University in 2014 with a degree specializing in medicinal plant research. I tried to study cannabis in my undergrad, but could not due to its illegal status. So anything I wanted to know about cannabis I had to teach myself. Luckily, my degree gave me a foundational understanding of how secondary metabolites operate within a plant matrix and the medicinal potential of secondary metabolites when consumed by humans. I read as much literature as I could find on cannabis and began studying the plant in a more hands-on way when I moved to Portland and began working at Farma (a scientifically-minded dispensary) in 2015. Since then I have been lucky enough to continue my study of cannabis by having access to the latest research and interfacing with some of the industry’s most brilliant minds. I like to think of cannabis as the ‘All Star’ medicinal plant; the medicinal plant that will help people feel empowered to explore holistic modalities in regards to their health and wellness. And the potential of that reframing the way we approach healthcare is so damn exciting.

EXPLAIN YOUR GOAL(S) IN EDUCATING THE COMMUNITY?  I have a mission to educate people on the science behind cannabis. Because I have an extensive scientific background (in addition to my degree, I worked in oncology research after I graduated) I really see my role as someone who is able to translate scientific language into layman’s terms. Currently there is a problem with cannabis education. Reliable cannabis science information is often only found in dense, research articles that can be hard to understand. Blogs and internet sites will also publish articles with cannabis science, however it is often difficult to determine the legitimacy of the information. I believe education and information should be accessible to all. My job is to take scientific concepts discussed in research papers and present them in such a way that everyone can understand. I educate everyone from consumers to budtenders to industry professionals. I believe that everyone should invest in cannabis education, as it is crucial for advancing this industry forward in a responsible, ethical paradigm.

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WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU THINK WOMEN FACE AS A WHOLE IN THE INDUSTRY? There are many challenges that women face in this industry that are extraordinarily similar to systemic problems we face in other industries - sexual misconduct, abuse of power by men, wage gaps, and lack of equal representation. Due to media, people believe women finally do have equal representation in the cannabis industry and that creates a false sense of complacency. The amount of female CEOs in the cannabis industry is close to the abysmally low national average. We still need to fight to gain ownership. And we haven’t even talked about the immense challenges women of color have in being a part of this industry.

WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY?  The potential for discovery! There is so much that we still get to uncover about this amazing plant. We’re just at the beginning and I am so excited to see all that the future holds for cannabis. I’m also hopeful for the revolutionary impact that cannabis could have on both the agricultural and healthcare industries.

ARE YOU A MEMBER OF ANY CANNABIS ORGANIZATIONS OR GROUPS?  I am! There are so many wonderful organizations/groups in the Oregon Cannabis industry. One of my favorites is Tokeativity - a cannabis community for women with the intention to nurture a safe space for women to create, learn, and connect. 

WHAT CAN YOU TELL OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO PURSUE A CANNABIS CAREER? Learn everything you can about cannabis and find your niche - what excites you, what are you great at, what can you bring to this space. Because the industry is so nascent there is so much opportunity for creativity and innovation. Trust in your genius, make connections, invest your time in people who want to elevate you, and work like hell.

FIVE THINGS PEOLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU:

  1. People think I’m an extrovert but I actually am a big homebody at heart

  2. I was a hardcore substance free human (like puritanical) until my second semester of college

  3. I was cast on a reality tv show on FOX

  4. When I was growing up I wanted to either be a surgeon or an actress

  5. I am obsessed with French Fries

FIVE THINGS TOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT:

  1. Toothpicks

  2. Chance by Chanel perfume

  3. My phone (my family lives in NY so it’s the way I stay connected with them)

  4. This is not a thing per say, but I can’t live without my friends and family. I am so incredibly grateful for their support.

  5. Trees. Trees are so goddamn special and I love them so much. Plus, we all literally *could not* live without them

TOP FIVE FAV BEAUTY PRODUCTS:

  1. Anastasia glow palette

  2. Tarte liquid primer

  3. Anastasia chocolate eyeshadow palette

  4. Kiehl's facial moisturizer

  5. Dark lipstick

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU THE MOST AND WHY? My mom definitely inspires me the most. She is so strong, kind, loving, gracious and powerful. She raised four kids while also running a business devoted to the social/emotional wellbeing of children. She owns and operates a private school, Spark Elementary, that seeks to advance the social/emotional development of pre-k and elementary school children through literacy and creative arts therapies. Like yes, everyone should be following her lead!! I definitely hope to become as resilient and wonderful as she is.

IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL WHAT WOULD YOU BE?  Probably a giraffe. I’d love to glide around and eat leaves from the tops of trees all day.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?  I love watching movies, it’s my favorite way to relax. I also love to cook. And if I’m feeling like going out my favorite thing to do is to go see one of my best friend’s perform with his band, Jame. He’s an incredible performer.

FAVORITE STRAIN TO SMOKE? I generally enjoy chemovars with higher concentrations of pinene. I love the heightened presence and clarity that come along with pinene.

FAVORITE WAY TO CONSUME?  I actually love edibles. That’s my preferred method of ingestion. But I also love a joint rolled with some additional passionflower, lemon balm and peppermint.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE MJ READERS TO KNOW?  Find me on instagram, facebook, linkedin, or through my website. Always happy to continue the conversation!

INTERVIEW BY Amy C. Witt
@caliiforniadreamin
@smokiingbeauty
 

Cannabi-wha?

If you are new to Cannabis, one of the first things you'll notice is that there are a lot of odd words to master.  They all sound the same but they describe very different things and they are next to impossible to pronounce. The Sativa Science Club kindly gives us an intro to the compounds of Cannabis, to gain a deeper knowledge of Cannabis visit The Sativa Science Club online!

There are three different kinds of cannabinoid compounds to note:

1. Endocannabinoids – fatty-acid cannabinoids produced naturally in the body
2. Phytocannabinoids – found in the oily resin of plants such as cannabis (THC and CBD)
3. Synthetic cannabinoids – manufactured by artificial means

The cannabis plant is host to over 113 phytocannabinoids that science is aware of, each with their own unique effects.  Here are just a few of my favorites to get you started: 

Cannabidiol (CBD) (Ca-Na-Bi-Di-Ol)—Unlike THC, CBD produces no psychoactive properties. Instead, it acts a low affinity binding agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.  This means that while CBD does not cause you to feel ‘high’ it can fine tune or tweak the way that your body experiences the accompanying compounds.  This is particularly true when the correct ratio of CBD to THC is used to treat an ailment. CBD changes the way that the body experiences THC once ingested.  We call this a ‘Synergistic Effect’.  But that's not all it's good for.  Pre-clinical trials over the past four decades have found that on it’s own CBD shows promise as an:

  • anti-inflammatory

  • antioxidant

  • neuroprotectant

  • anxiolytic

  • antidepressant

  • analgesic

  • anti-tumoral agent

  • anti-psychotic

Just to name a few.  Today, CBD derived from agricultural hemp is available worldwide while CBD derived from plants with a significant accompanying THC content are considered to be 'recreational cannabis'. 

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)(Ca-Na-Bi-Di-Olic Acid)—Inside of the cannabis plant certain phytocannabinoids are accompanied by an extra carboxyl ring group or acid that likes to follow the compound around.  This is certainly true in the case of CBDA or CBD-Acid.  In order to make the compound work as successfully as CBD inside of the body the accompanying acid must be removed from the compound via a process called decarboxylation.  This is where the plant material is heated at a low temperature, thus oxidizing the acid to convert CBDA into CBD.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) (Ca-Na-Bid-I-verin)—CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) sidechain.  Although medical research is limited, recent studies have shown CBDV to provide anti-convulsive support.  This is likely due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and its ability to modulate gene expression.  A company by the name of  GW Pharmaceuticals has begun a phase 2 trial for adult epilepsy treatment using the CBDV compound.

Cannabichromene (CBC) (Ca-Na-Bi-Crow-Mene)—Studies suggest that CBC may work synergistically with CBD and THC to produce an antidepressant effect but not in a straight forward way.  CBC does not directly activate the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it has been shown to interact with a number of other receptors in the body.  In doing so CBC can increase the levels of endocannabinoids we produce naturally.  So CBC can help to activate cannabinoid receptors by enhancing their receptor activity.  

Cannabigerol (CBG) (Ca-Na-Ba-Ger-Ol)—Testing of agricultural hemp has found much higher levels of CBG than most strains of cannabis.  Although pharmacological activity at the CB2 receptor is currently unknown, it has been classified as a low-affinity antagonist of the CB1-receptor tipping it towards the mellow end of the spectrum.  CBG is believed to; partially counteract the paranoid 'heady' high typically associated with THC, kill or slow bacteria, reduce inflammation, and inhibit cell growth in tumor and cancer cells.

Cannabinol (CBN) (Ca-Na-Bi-Nol)—CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that happens more often than not, by accident.  There is usually little to no CBN in a fresh plant. Instead, it is a by-product of the degradation of cannabinoid compounds after the plant has been harvested.  Research has shown that CBN acts with greater affinity for CB2 receptors than CB1 and is described as creating a sedative effect.  In fact, the folks over at Steep Hill Labs assert that 5mg of CBN could be as effective as 10mg dose of diazepam, a mild pharmaceutical relaxant. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Tet-Tra-Hydro-Ka-Nab-I-Nol)—Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid with a following. THC (the decarboxylated form of THCA) is responsible for the psychoactive effects typical of cannabis.  When consumed THC elicits feelings of relaxation, pain relief, increased energy, and 'Couch-lock,' to name a few favorites.  Research continues to gain traction with the advancement of legalization.  So far we have enough supporting evidence to confidently say that THC may help patients cope with PTSD, neuropathic and chronic pain, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and much much more.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) (Tet-Tra-Hydro-Ka-Nab-In-Olic acid)—THCA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in maturing cannabis plants.  Once the plant is harvested and begins to dry, THCA slowly converts to THC.  Inside of the plant THCA contributes to the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis.  There is some evidence to suggest that it may have some healing ability in the body as well though more research is needed to say with any certainty.  When burned, vaporized, or heated at a low temperature over a period of time THCA converts into Δ9-THC via the process of decarboxylation.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) (Tet-Tra-Hydro-Ca-Na-Bi-Varin)—THCV is a minor phytocannabinoid found in certain forms of cannabis (especially sativa landrace strains). Much like CBDV, THCV differs from THC only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) sidechain.  This minor difference causes it to work like a built in antidote that has the potential to counteract the negative side effects associated with THC such as paranoia.  There is some research to suggest that THCV may also aid in the growth of healthy bones.

New research emerges every day, but we still know very little about these amazing compounds and their therapeutic abilities.  Sign up for my newsletter for your weekly step by step guide to cannabis education from the Sativa Science Club

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Meet Mary J. Poppins, a name lovingly bestowedupon her for her creative and unorthodox approach to schoolwork and lesson plans, founder of the Sativa Science Club. As a freelance Curriculum Specialist with a background in Community Health Education and socially conscious Business Management, Mary helped professionals take complex information and turn it into an easily accessible and engaging training program. What began as an intimate gathering of plant nerds in the back room of a local herb shop quickly grew into a network of thousands of engaged followers and students worldwide.  She established the Sativa Science Club in early 2017 to take her passion one step farther adding third party peer review, curriculum publishing, and turnkey community education events.

“I firmly believe that treating education as a product or commodity is a slippery slope. Rather than encourage privatized education or focus our efforts exclusively on certification programs, SSC is taking the first steps towards leading our community in a new direction,” Mary explains. 

Businesses nationwide can take their marketing efforts to the next level with Sativa Science Club Publishing. In lieu of expending the time and energy to create an education program in-house (a process which is often costly and ill received), SSC invites businesses to sponsor a third party, peer-reviewed community lesson. This allows their team to create low cost high quality E-books, audiobooks, webinars, and in-person lesson plans distributed anywhere for a very low cost online. 100% of the resulting proceeds from these items goes towards scholarships, research, and education initiatives with partnering Universities worldwide.  The Sativa Science Club publications will be available on Amazon, Audible, and Kindle online.

Original Article 

Synthetic Cannabis? No Thanks!

Big Pharma continues to create synthetic versions of cannabis. Is this a better method since it’s FDA approved?  Ask yourself this, would you ever try eating a synthetic salad?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware that cannabis and cannabis derived products are being used for a number of medical conditions, such as AIDS wasting syndrome, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, cancer, and nausea. However, they have not approved a marketing application for any product that is derived from the marijuana plant. What they HAVE done is approved Big Pharma to distribute a synthetic version of THC, called Dronabinol. This active ingredient is an oil that is derived from sesame oil. Researchers have found that only 10-20% of a pill that contains Dronabinal reaches its target in the body. This is because the liver sees Dronabinol as a contaminant and gets rid of it immediately. 

What side effects do patients who take synthetic cannabinoid medications experience?

•       Weakness

•       Sudden feeling of warmth

•       Stomach pain

•       Nausea or vomiting

•       Memory loss

•       Anxiety

•       Confusion

•       Dizziness

Wait….what? Vomiting and nausea?

Marinol is a prescription drug that contains the active ingredient, Dronabinol. Patients with AIDS, cancer, or neurological conditions were initially prescribed this drug to help cope with their nausea and vomiting. Not only did it contradict its intended use, but Marinol also worsened mood symptoms and often caused depression or anxiety. How infuriating to think a drug that was initially prescribed for nausea and vomiting, causes the same side effects and even more! At most U.S pharmacies, a supply of 60 capsules (2 month supply) costs around $700. On top of that, patients who are using these drugs are usually experiencing major health issues and have other medications to pay for as well. And don’t forget about doctor visits! Although insurance helps some individuals, many are left with hugely expensive bills to pay off.

Since the marijuana plant naturally produces THC, its form is more therapeutic and can be home grown for self-medication. Marinol is manufactured in labs and creates life threatening side effects. So why is one approved and not the other?

Dronabinol has been studied for neuropathic pain and was not found to very effective. For chronic non-cancer pain, it was shown to be slightly better than the placebo. Since many studies are government regulated, there hasn’t been much research done on the marijuana plant. In all the research that has been done, marijuana was found to be better than the placebo at relieving pain. While there might not be a lot of research taking place here in the United States, The Marijuana Business Daily reported that we can finally welcome the launch of a new research center in the Czech Republic. The International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute (ICCI) could provide an immense amount of information on how cannabis can help increase our quality of life. With more research being done, society is questioning the stereotypes and stigma that have plagued marijuana for years. Medical marijuana hasn’t just become a big industry in the United States, it’s becoming an international movement!