#121 – The Future of CBD Research with Hunter Land, Canopy Growth Corporation
All right, and we are back in class. This is Vadim, the CBD professor from CBD school.com, your school to learn all about cannabidiol. Got an extra special episode today of the CBD school podcast where I will be talking to Hunter Land, the director of cannabinoid research at Canopy Growth Corporation, a company I’m sure that you may have heard of in the past.
Hunter has devoted his career to researching cannabis-derived medicines and their application across a variety of conditions and his work has led to the clinical development of the first FDA-approved CBD medication, of course, which is known as Epidiolex.
After you are done enjoying this episode, which I think you’re going to learn a ton of information from, please visit shopcanopy.com and grab 15% off any of their CBD products, that’s shopcanopy.com. And to get 15% off, you can use the coupon code, canopy 15. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show.
On today’s CBD School podcast episode, I have a very special guest. His name is Hunter Land, and he is the Director of Cannabinoid Research at Canopy, a company which I’m sure many of you listeners have heard about. And stay tuned, because we’re going to be learning a lot today from Hunter. So Hunter, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
Yeah, so where are you calling in from? I always like to ask my guests where they are?
Well, usually I would be in North Carolina. But amidst the COVID pandemic, I’m actually stuck down here in Nicaragua.
Oh, well, that’s interesting. You are my first person in over 100 episodes I’ve ever talked to in Nicaragua. And I’m not far from you. I’m in Mexico. So that’s cool.
Oh, fantastic. I was down here doing a bit of volunteering. And next thing I know they canceled all the flights. So I’ve been down here for about five months. I think I’m almost resident at this point.
How’s the situation there? Before we get into the meat of the podcast, what’s going on there with this whole virus?
It’s not really clear, to be honest with you, the area I’m in is pretty much self-contained and pretty self-sufficient. So everybody’s kind of staying in this community. So we haven’t noticed any cases here. But outside I think there’s just a bunch of speculation. So, it’s really not clear what’s going on a national level.
Gotcha. Yeah, I don’t know what to believe anymore. And that actually leads right into one of the first things I wanted to ask you. There’s a parallel here to what I’m sure you understand in the CBD and cannabis space with misinformation.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s probably one of the most, I would say that some of the most critical gaps in misinformation following the cannabinoid science space.
Yeah. What do you think that is? Do you think it’s because it sort of started out as a black market industry and wasn’t really ever regulated?
Common Misconceptions About CBD
I think it dates back even further to the discovery of cannabinoids. You know, when we were first researching back in the 1900s, we knew this plant had certain properties, psychoactive properties, and medicinal properties, and even classifying the compounds and what they did, we just kind of picked this class of cannabinoids. But, you know, as we’ve learned more, they all have unique pharmacology. So unlike when you refer to different drugs like SSRIs or something to that effect, you kind of have an idea of what they do. That’s not really consistent, at least with phytocannabinoids across the board. So I think some of the confusion started there. I think some of the earlier methods to identify how these molecules function, were, I would say not as great as the current methods that we have. So a lot of the literature has become outdated, but remains present and referenced frequently. So I think that’s part of it. And then as you mentioned, the modern black market, no sort of fact-checking basis for a lot of the products.
Yeah, I agree with your assessment there. And but I think for the listeners, I want to always clarify things. So what would you say are some of the most important misconceptions in this space? Not just CBD, but you know, as of late, that’s the most popular one. What do you think are some of the most important misconceptions to clarify or to dispel?
Well, I think there’s probably a long list. I think the first thing that we should say is, you know, CBD does not work for every condition and does not work for every individual. So certainly, there’s a lot of potential. CBD is known to have at least 65 targets. But that doesn’t mean it cures everything. Secondly, CBD is not CBD is not CBD. So when you read a study or a publication, it’s important to see exactly what they’re testing, whether this be full-spectrum or broad-spectrum or an isolated product and it doesn’t necessarily mean that those results translate well between each other. So for example, currently, most of the products have at least some THC in them, the limit weight overweight would be point 0.3% THC. And if that’s applied to a solution, that’s actually quite a bit of THC. So you could have about 2.7 or 2.8 milligrams per milliliter which, if it was at that level, a teaspoon could actually get an individual intoxicated. So, you know, if you’re having one of those products, and you’re comparing it to an isolate, they’re quite a bit different. So I think knowing exactly what the research is studying and what it’s focused on, and how that study has been conducted, is a big piece, and the other pieces, you know, what is this formulation? And does it correlate with others?
Yes, yes. I agree with you on what you said about the THC is, depending on how much you’re taking, even if it’s small, that small percent, it can still be intoxicating, when you’re talking about concentrations and dosage. I know people who swear it does absolutely nothing for them and then there are other people that say they can’t live without it now. So there is something weird that I haven’t been able to figure out and I’ve been working in this space for four years. I don’t understand why. I’m not really a scientist, but it just seems random. Like some people are responders and other people are non-responders, for whatever reason.
There are potential reasons.
Yeah. And I think to what you said about the full spectrum versus an isolate, you know, that seems to be all the research is all focused mostly on isolate. Now, I think nowadays, though, are you seeing an improvement in research on full-spectrum products?
I would say even the terminology is a bit convoluted. Because full spectrum is not one thing, right? So isolate, CBD isolate is one thing. We know that’s a CBD molecule but when you say full or broad-spectrum, it’s CBD plus a bunch of other things that are different by product. So there are about 200 or so terpenes that can be found in cannabis, that are flavonoids that can be found in cannabis. And we know those have activity. So being able to say that full-spectrum is just one thing I don’t think is an accurate way to look at things. So while there is research going on into botanical mixtures, and certainly we know that certain botanical mixtures that are consistent work better than others, and we know that sometimes they work better than isolated compounds, and sometimes they don’t. It’s not clear, you know, that they’re being consistently tested to be one similar formulation.
Absolutely. Yeah. And is Canopy doing any kind of research in that area?
Canopy Growth CBD Research
It’s actually my favorite piece of research that I’m working on right now, it has to do with, you know, this idea of entourage effect and plant synergies and additive effects. I was fortunate enough to have Ethan Russo as a mentor when I worked at GW Pharma. And you know, Ethan, a lot of his focus was looking on things aside from just THC and CBD, but these other components and how they could potentially have a better effect. And what I’m learning is that when we look at some of these terpenes, or terpenoids, and we combine them in research, sometimes you have a better effect, depending on which ones they are. Sometimes you don’t have a better effect. And oftentimes you have a worse effect. So we’re finding out that these other molecules not only do they require specific dose things, but specific knowledge of what they are. And one interesting example is there’s one terpene called alpha-pinene. And there’s another called myrcene and myrcene is known to be sedating. It’s associated with the new clinical term couch lock. And alpha-pinene can be alerting and it’s been thought to help with memory. So they kind of have different functions. It’s almost akin to taking something like an amphetamine like Adderall with your Ambien for sleep. From a scientific standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to have both those present if you’re trying to treat sleep. So I think, you know, the amount of detail that can be applied to some of this research is needed. And I think certainly a critical gap.
Yeah, it seems like as Russo said, oh, no, no, this wasn’t Russo, it was Mechoulam said something like a bouquet, right, you know, that quote, like a bouquet of all these different terpenes. And in the plan, there’s so much you can find. And as he said, there are also these counter effects for each one. So I think there’s tons of interesting research ahead. And there must have been quite an honor to work with Ethan Russo. I mean, I’ve read his work. And that was probably one of the best learning experiences of your life, I’m sure.
Yeah, it was fantastic. I mean, Ethan is just such a great guy. And his contributions to science have been just, it’s tough to put it into words, because he has contributed so much. And I was fortunate enough to not only have Ethan as a, as a mentor, when you’re, you know, at the time when I worked at GW it was not the company is now, it was primarily a research company looking at all these different plant cannabinoids. And when you do that type of work, you work in a space where you have access to the best cannabinoid scientists in the country. So I was fortunate enough to have a long list of experts to more or less get a lot of scientific education, be it from academia or from industry. And that’s continued to grow with the move to Canopy as they have, you know, a lot of really esteemed experts here at Canopy. So continuing to grow the knowledge and continuing to do work to improve the knowledge base.
Yeah, we’ve talked a bit about some of these well-known names in the space on the research side, but there are all these celebrities you’re seeing, especially in the sports area, endorsing CBD. Do you think that consumers can trust that put their trust in celebrity endorsements in this space?
I think it depends largely on the celebrity and why they’re involved. Right. So I mean, there are certain celebrities that I know, that I’ve worked with in the past. And they can be incredibly detailed, and they’re absolutely firm in the desire that whatever product that they’re going to put their name on is a good quality product. And there are other celebrities that are not as interested in that. So I think it’s probably a case-by-case basis. But generally speaking, I put my faith more into like the scientist, and that comes from my area of bias, because I’m a scientist, more so than celebrities. But that doesn’t mean that celebrity input or their role in producing products can’t be extremely valuable.
Yes, I agree. I think it comes down to a case-by-case basis, and also just looking deeper than just the endorsement is looking into the company and what kind of safety testing they’ve done before that item hits the shelf. And what do you at canopy do on that front to make sure that the products are safe? And what do you think in general is what consumers need to look for to get a safe product?
CBD Product Safety and Standards
Oh, this is a great, great topic. You know, I think there is a lot of misinformation around what level of standards should be applied to hemp, CBD products, and other cannabis products. First of all, I think companies and consumers should all insist on having high-quality products. The problem is they don’t know how to insist on it. And I think, you know, everybody should be looking for a certificate of analysis from labs, they should list the cannabinoids present, they should look for solvents that sometimes can be dangerous, like butane or paint-thinner like compounds that are used to extract cannabinoids. And we should also be looking for things like pesticides and heavy metals, you likely know that the cannabis plant is what we call a phytoremediator. It sucks up compounds from the soil. And they actually planted it at Chernobyl to help with the nuclear fallout. And then they tend to get concentrated. So if you have lead in your soil, it’ll get concentrated in the plant and then further concentrated in the final product. So I feel like, you know, the industry or the consumers should set a standard to say products can’t contain more than X amount of lead or more than this amount of pesticide. We do that broadly, we have a limit for let’s say apples of how much pesticides can be on there and I’ve seen several reports of products having 200 times the amount allowed on an apple. So I think, you know, for quality standards, fortunately, at Canopy, and Canopy is not the only one but they’re certainly one of the best ones anywhere that have the means to ensure the products have an extensive amount of safety testing, and you know, certificate analysis or available for those products.
Yeah, and I think it’s also about just being educated yourself and knowing how to read those lab reports knowing what to look for. It’s not that complicated and I think people are intimidated by them. But once they take five minutes or so to just look at the main things to look for, it’s really not hard at all.
Right, I would agree permitted the companies not kind of manipulating the limits that they detect, too.
Well, that is true. Do you think ahead, are we going to see some more standardization? Because correct me if I’m wrong, but if I get a bottle tested in California, at a lab, versus Pennsylvania, I might see different limits because state by state, right,
Yeah, not only state by state, but some states don’t have these limits. I’m fortunate enough to have a brother who’s an analytical chemist that runs a lab that does a lot of work for the EPA. And, you know, companies can determine where to set their lower limits of detection if it’s not regulated at the state or federal level. So, for example, if I said there are not detectable limits of lead, and a product in my limit was parts per thousand, most consumers would say, look, there’s no lead. But actually, it should be measured in parts per billion. So it’s a little scary because if you’re the company could just say I only want you to test the parts per thousand. And I’ve seen some of those examples. So it would be great if we could come up with some either federal or just kind of universal standards of what should be tested for them with those limits with acceptable limits are.
Do you see that coming? Do you think we’re going to get worse standardization? I think so. I just don’t know when.
Yeah, I do think I think it’s inevitable, I think it’s coming. And I think it should be there. I mean, we know if you go to the ABC store, and you make a purchase there, you have an idea that those are safe products that they don’t have, you’re not looking at a certificate of analysis, because you know, they’re following government guidelines, and it doesn’t have a bunch of methanol and acetone in it. It would be nice if consumers could just say this is a regulated product. We know it doesn’t have these adulterants in it, and therefore at least some level of safety is ensured. So I hope that takes place in the next year or two.
Yes, I do, too. I think that where the industry is going I mean, it would be steps backward if it would degrade into what it used to be where it was just all wild west. I mean, the progress should keep moving forward into safer products for everybody, whatever those may be.
CBD Dosage and Bioavailability – How Much Should One Take?
So moving on to something that a lot of people ask me about all the time, I get tons of emails about dosage, how do people find their dosage when it comes to CBD? Because it seems that people are kind of not satisfied with the go low and slow. Or it feels like a cop-out when people say, oh, everybody has their own dosage even though that might be true. It seems like based off the messages I received, people are still confused and don’t know what to do.
I think it’s a great question. I think it probably points to your earlier statement about some people saying, you know, they need certain products or certain products work really well, in a part that could be dose-dependent on some of those products. I will say that with agreeing that it seems like a cop-out, there’s some legitimacy to the start low and go slow piece. But there are some other clarifications I’d like to make first. The first one I don’t think is well understood or well explained. But I think it should be, we know a fair amount about formulations and how bioavailable they are, how much can be absorbed into the blood. And we know that oil is pretty effective compared to other ways of ingestion of getting it into the blood. So if you’re taking something like a CBD water, it’s unlikely unless there’s some you know, really great technology, it’s unlikely that it’s going to you’re actually going to get that into your system. Secondly, we know there’s a really big food effect. So about three to five-fold increase and maximum exposure. So if you are dosing a product, the first thing that you should know is dose it consistently and if you want to get the biggest level of exposure, then you should take it with food. We know that high-fat foods increase exposure, and like I mentioned, for both CBD and THC, it’s about three to fivefold.
That’s a really important point that I want to reiterate. So people would get the most out of CBD and cannabis products if they’re taking it with food, right?.
Correct. It needs a fat to act as a carrier. Yes. You know, there are some other things that you see, like sublingual, and those types of things. There’s not really any good data that suggests that it’s not just kind of draining down your throat and being absorbed in your GI. So there are people that make these claims. I’ve looked for any data that shows that it’s actually being absorbed there and I haven’t seen any. It’s the same thing with topicals. Unless you’ve got what we call a permeation enhancer. You’re not really getting past the skin barrier, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, because certainly topical things can work for areas like pain, there’s potential that I think is uninvestigated there. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going to rub it on the bottom of your feet to treat your anxiety. I just don’t think there’s any data to suggest something like that.
Yes, yes. I think that from my research that does line up to what I’ve seen as well. About taking it with food, do you find that people can take less of a dose than what they think they need? If they’re taking it with food because it’ll absorb better?
That’s the thought. I mean, based on what we can measure in your blood, you would speculate that if you’re getting the same levels with a lower dose, then that may be the case. Secondly, you know, from the larger trials of CBD, an isolated form, it seems that the side effects can be reduced by consumption with foods, especially if you’re experienced GI-related side effects.
Yeah, exactly, especially with THC, that can be a concern. But the GI-related side effects, I’ve heard more with CBD for some reason. And I never knew if it was because of the carrier or the CBD itself.
Well, it could be the carrier depending on the carrier, but we know that CBD itself can have an effect on the GI. And there are two points, there are certain receptors in the GI that we know that CBD has an interaction with. And there’s also a fair amount of evidence that cannabinoids broadly can affect bacteria. So we know, for example, CBG, a different ammonoid actually, is effective at killing MRSA, which is a really bad bacteria, at least in laboratory settings. So that hasn’t been done at humans. So you would think that there’s potential to have that interaction both with your microbiome in your gut, and also interplay with these receptors. So it doesn’t surprise me that some people can have a little bit of irritability, especially once you get to really high doses.
Yeah. And another thing you said that I thought was quite interesting was about the sublingual. So for people listening, that’s when you take the CBD and just hold it under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. It’s kind of everywhere, with tinctures mainly. Have you seen any evidence for the increased absorptions of the nano-type products or bioavailability enhancers with tinctures?
I’m not, I mean, these companies make these claims. And I don’t want to say that they’re inaccurate, but I just haven’t seen any data. And if you just look at, you know, a standard ethanolic type mixture of cannabinoids, you know, they’ve done clinical trials with not FDA approved product, but other product called Sativex that’s approved outside of the US. And if you look at the PK profiles between that and you know, approved THC synthetics, THC and other products, they don’t really look that much different. So I think it’s tough to speculate that any of these things are having this huge degree of success. But again, nobody’s actually done a study to my knowledge to show, you know, in a comparative study that theirs is is better than something else, I would love to see those data. And, you know, I think at some point, somebody will do that study, but to my knowledge, it’s not been done today.
Yeah, I’d love to see that as well. Because if these claims are real, it would be a good thing. I’m rooting for these companies that are making the claims, it’s just hard to understand if they’re for real or not at this point,
Right. I just like to take a look. And you know, maybe there is groundbreaking technology. I assume that somebody is going to come up with groundbreaking technology in this area at some point. I just haven’t seen any proof yet
Future New Product Development
Is Canopy doing anything with the products to enhance them or something unique that listeners should note them?
We do have products in Canada. We have some really unique drink products that use a micro-emulsification technique. And, you know, the problem is that this hasn’t, not a problem because this isn’t in the necessarily medicinal segment. This is a product for adult use. And everybody’s a bit different. So they haven’t done a formalized PK study like you would in the medicinal or healthcare segment. I do think that the technology shows huge potential and could be applied to other products. But that hasn’t yet been done.
Understood. Understood. Yeah. I think there’s still a lot to be done in that space for the future. And I’m curious, where do you see the whole industry going in the next 510 years? What major changes do you think we’ll see?
Well, I think let me just step back to my progression, you know, to my involvement and 2012 or 2013, in the CDD research space. You know, my first experience was meeting with the DEA and the FDA and basically statements like you had to keep your CBD in a 5000-pound lock safe behind locked doors and bolted to the floor. Today it’s quite the opposite, right? We see CBD products in gas stations and on the internet and everything. So I think there’s been, I would say tremendous progress and availability and certainly some progress in the research space. But what I also think is that there are other cannabinoids that are at least about 120 phytocannabinoids that are understudied. So I know they’re much more biologically active compounds in cannabis that probably have a lot of utility that’s not yet discovered. And I suspect that there’s going to be a CBD in four or five other cannabinoids in the coming years that are going to be looked at for medicinal or wellness properties.
Shopping for CBD Products – What to Look For
Yeah, I agree with you. I think other cannabinoids are the future, especially now you see CBG is catching on a lot. And just I think one of the other interesting ones is THC V, you know, there’s so much potential in the plant. And with these gas stations, I have to you mentioned that, and some of these makeup stores like big-box retailers and to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure some of them are selling good products. What do you think people should watch out for when they’re shopping? And they maybe they’re walking in the mall with their family and they see a CBD product just kind of randomly. How should they make sure it’s safe for them and their family? If they’re just in the store? They can’t really check the lab unless there’s a QR code. That’s one thing we can do.
Yeah, I think that’s probably it. You know, I think you want to trust a reputable company that has reputable testing, wherever it is, and you want to make sure the labs reputable. So I think it would be great if all companies started putting QR codes. So you can look at the certificates. And I think that’s a start. Secondly, I probably wouldn’t be fooled by just outrageous claims which are rampant, you know, so any company that says that this is going to cure or makes claims about curing and treating diseases really broadly. I would be wary because that’s probably not an accurate statement.
Yeah. I mean, it just goes back to the fact that how could they make such a claim? Well, first of all, it’s illegal. But how could they even if it was legal? How could they make such a claim when it obviously does not work for everybody? So it’s really just ludicrous to even take that seriously. I think it’s buyer beware. And like the supplement industry in general, I mean, when I buy any supplement fish oil, magnesium, zinc, I take all that stuff. I mean, I don’t really know, I just tried to stick with companies that I have developed trust with based on multiple factors.
Yeah, I can’t agree more. I mean, if you’re gonna put something in your body, I think it’s worth spending the extra five or 10 minutes to research what that is and not being impulsive buys based on you know, ridiculous claims, whether it be therapeutic or some sort of technology that makes this better. I think it’s best to do some research first.
Vaping Cannabis Products – Is it Safe?
One thing that my listeners are always asking about is vaping. And I was with a friend the other day and I was using a vaporizer and we had just gotten done at the gym and he said I can’t believe you, you know you’re into health. Why are you using that? I mean, you’re obviously a health-conscious person. Don’t you know about the health scare that happened late last year? And I explained to him that well, what I was vaping was a regulated product. And it was just pure cannabis oil. Well, I’m really curious what your take is on vaping and the safety of it and the nuance there.
Yeah, I think that’s a good question. You know, I know at Canopy, we’ve done a lot of testing in the vaporization area and aerosolized compounds. There’s so much room for people within the industry to do potentially dangerous stuff. We saw that with the vape scare. It was predominant in these THC vape products. But what we learned is actually it wasn’t the cannabinoids or anything like that it was, it was actually vitamin E acetate, which is causing these mysterious lung symptoms. So a lot of companies can add things in there that are dangerous. So I would, again, stick with companies where maybe they’re not adding potentially dangerous things in there. The problem is that we only have so much knowledge about these e-vape products. And like I said, I know we’re doing a lot of research to ensure their safety. But I can’t speak for the industry broadly, obviously, different things have gone on in the tobacco industry. So it’s still kind of a little bit of this wild west space, until we get kind of these regulations figured out.
Yeah, my take on it was always that as long as the product is from a regulated state, I’m talking more about THC products now. But as long as it’s from a regulated supplier, and if it’s just pure oil, I don’t see, you know, with no additives. And a lot of people don’t think that’s possible, but it actually it is there are products like that with no thinning agent. I’m sure you’re familiar with this, right? You know, when it’s just the oil, I’ve always found just from common sense, my logic is that’s pretty safe, because it’s just like, basically like combustion, but less intense.
I think, in part, that’s probably an accurate assessment, again, depends on what else could be in the oil from the extraction process, they have to extract it some way. So given that they’re not solvents, and usually there’s some level of dilution, and that could be with hemp oil, it could also be with things like vegetable glycerin, which has been used for some time now. But yeah, I certainly would steer away from anything with any sort of crazy or unknown additives. A lot of questions about some of the flavoring agents that go into these as well. I just I don’t know that they know a ton about those yet.
Yes, I agree. I think for most people, if you’re, you know, listening to this, and you don’t feel comfortable with it, understand that this whole vaping thing, it is new, so we just don’t know what we don’t know.
Right. I couldn’t agree more.
CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum
How about this endless debate on isolate versus full-spectrum? Do you think that there’s utility to both? Or are you a full spectrum kind of guy? And only that?
Oh, no, I think there’s utility to both. I think, you know, there’s some really important nuances with those terminologies, I think of CBD, kind of like you can make an association with music. So CBD could be the solo guitar or the solo violinist. And then you’ve got more or less a potential orchestra, other instruments behind me, which can, you know, on its own as a soloist can be great and have important utility like CBD and medicine. And you can also have these supporting compounds, I think it’s important to know what those are. So in a band, or let’s say, a symphony, you might not want the electric guitar, or you might not want, you know, more cowbell in your band. So, you know, and it’s also important that you know, what volumes the music played, so, and is it in sync with one another, so I don’t think, you know, we can make a broad statement because I want select instruments in my band, and I want them to be played at a proper volume in tune with the guitar or in tune with the violin, not just a random kind of mystery soup of stuff that uncontrolled levels, and, you know, assume it’s somehow better. So I think there is a little bit more detail or probably, let’s say a lot more research that needs to be done to identify which ones should and shouldn’t be there. And those can be either bred for they could be changed after during the manufacturing process.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And there’s utility to both types. And it just depends on what someone is looking for and do some experimentation involved as well. You know, for some people, they have remarkable results with isolate, and then other people just completely think it’s the joke and will only talk about or preach the virtues of a full spectrum. So I think that’s it is individual there.
I absolutely agree. I can tell you firsthand that I’ve seen numerous epilepsy patients become seizure-free on pharmaceutical isolated CBD. So there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that, you know, a child that goes from having 150 seizures a day to being seizure-free, that CBD is working. That’s, I think, unequivocal, how it would work differently. If it had THC, other components, that’s something you would have to compare. Secondly, you know, there’s always been questions about what THC does to the developing brain of a child. I don’t think that we know those answers. I think some animal models suggest that you probably shouldn’t give THC to young children. So maybe, you know, for children certainly, it would seem logical to start with isolated compounds of THC mixtures. Secondly, if you look at, you know where we are in adulthood and people that have certain jobs, using a full spectrum CBD product or even a broad spectrum could cause them to test positive for THC and they could lose their jobs, bus drivers, pilots, federal workers. So I think in some cases, while I think THC has a lot of medicinal potential, it may be something that you don’t necessarily want in products. And there may be some other components that should be there. You mentioned CBG earlier, maybe CBG is important for some products, or CBC, or any of the other number of cannabinoids that can be included.
Exactly. Yeah. And it’s also just a matter of, again, experimentation. And I’m curious, was that with Epidiolex? That you mean? Yes.
Okay. Yes, that was my primary role. Although I worked with both compounds, Epidiolex was kind of the cornerstone of my career thus far.
Cannabis and Big Pharma
Yeah, for the listeners. Epidiolex is the pharmaceutical version of CBD. So it’s the only pharmaceutical one that I’m aware of, that’s actually prescribed by doctors, pretty rarely for epilepsy that isn’t being helped by other medicines. Do you see that being becoming more common, more prescribed or other products like that coming out in the future?
You know, I’m not sure I know that there’s another company that just finished up trials in Australia with a topical CBD with the permeation enhancer in a condition and the data was mixed. There was a subset of the population that did really well. The condition is called Fragile X. It’s kind of again, it would be a developmental encephalopathy. It’s a genetic disorder. Typically, you have autism spectrum type behavior problems, and sometimes seizures. So I think some mixed results there. I think there are more avenues. I mean, CBD has a ton of potential and, and I kind of stay in the science sandbox. So, you know, I think that there’s certainly more unharnessed potential, and I don’t think it’s exclusive to one company or one brand or either a pharmaceutical or a nonpharmaceutical.
Yeah, I agree with you, I think people are going to find a way, as they always have for thousands of years now, especially with cannabis is you’re not going to keep people from finding a solution to their health problems. If it’s something that’s bothering them, if it’s your own children, most people, although I don’t endorse it, but you can understand how people will break the law, no matter where they live if it’s for their child. So whether it’s pharmaceutical or not, people will continue to use these products. And unfortunately, in some places, it’s still illegal. But hopefully that changing.
I would just say that not only would they potentially break the law, but they have changed policy broadly. If you look at the epilepsy space, specifically, the pediatric epilepsy space, laws, state by state have been changed, oftentimes named after patients with these rare forms of epilepsy. You know, these patient groups are extraordinarily passionate, and certainly showed some meaningful results across the board.
Drug Interactions and Other Recommendations
Yes, exactly. And for people listening, I always like to give practical takeaways, aside from the interesting conversation and the facts and fascinating research you’re doing. The practical side of it is what advice would you give other than what we’ve already discussed with the lab reports to consumers, anything else you would give them about buying CBD products? If they have safety concerns, anything we haven’t touched on that you’d like them to know about?
Sure, I think it’s always wise to consult with your doctor or your pharmacist for a couple of reasons. Depending on what medications you’re taking, there could be drug interactions. And those can vary by individual but we have some reports where Warfarin, which is the blood thinner, has been changed by the addition of CBD. We’ve seen some issues in children with certain medications in liver toxicity and clinical trials. And then there have been some reports of issues with certain opioids, increasing certain opioid levels. So I think if you’re in a space where you have certain conditions and are on certain medicines, I would consult with the physician or pharmacist. It’s always better to play it safe.
I’m very appreciative of that fact. I’m glad you mentioned that because there is this misconception that CBD is super safe. You know, and there’s a lot of influencers that are saying that and for the most part, it seems like it is but we really don’t know. And there are these interactions that are possible and I’m always encouraging people to consult with a pharmacist that understands CBD and that is probably one of the biggest missing links in the spaces. Any pharmacists that are listening in, a major niche that needs to be filled is that while there are tons of pharmacists out there, there are not a lot that understand, or research at least, they’re not taught too much about cannabinoids and their interactions in the liver with other medications. I don’t think they learn too much about that because there’s only really one prescription, Epidiolex. And it’s so new anyway. So I think being aware of the possible interactions, and also just keeping a medical professional aware of your usage so that they might want to monitor you, you know, I think is one of the most prudent things you can do.
Yeah, I certainly agree with that. And I would say the lack of knowledge in the space is a little bit scary. I know, at some point, I was working to try to get some of this education included in state board exams for both physicians and pharmacists. I don’t think it’s gone very far, to be honest with you, but it’s something I certainly support. I know, I’ve helped with one lecture at the University of Wisconsin pharmacology department, and they are certainly trying to incorporate cannabinoid science and, and pharmacology into their curriculum. But I’m not aware of a lot of other universities doing that. So I think it’s in everybody’s best interest if we can have those health care professionals, you know, encourage them to have that type of education.
I think so yeah. Because these products aren’t going anywhere. And if everyone was honest, when you surveyed them, I think people would be quite surprised at how widespread usage of some form of cannabis product is in the western world, as well as the eastern world. Because on the surveys you do look at where people are being honest, you can see it that. You can imagine if they had asked everybody what the results would be.
I just worked on a survey, I guess, got published this year, where we asked 450 different health care providers about their experience in the cannabis/cannabinoid science kind of space, and, you know, where their drug-drug interactions and legality and kind of broadly, it was felt that in self-recognized that there was a lack of knowledge in the area that many of them were not aware of potential drug-drug interactions. So certainly a lot of room for improvement. But it seems to me that it’s welcomed. So I think the fact that CBD and other cannabinoids aren’t being dismissed now is great progress to say the least.
I agree. Yeah. Thank you so much for being here. Before we wrap things up, I want to ask you about specific products that you would recommend. And before you answer, I just want to let you know, don’t worry about any kind of bias because I’ve worked in the supplement industry before and I only worked for the brand that I did, because I thought they had the best product. So I don’t want you to worry about that. I know it can be sometimes people get all weird when you ask them well, what product do you recommend? It’s we really want to know, you know, the listeners, they always want recommendations, and they want to know what product you think is the best?
Well, I think that’s a tough question, I think it’s probably gonna depend on the individual and what they’re trying to treat, or if it’s a wellness product. Again, I’m not a physician, and a lot of these products haven’t been researched. So I think there are some limitations there the best thing that I can say, I know it’s kind of an easy out. But the best thing I could say as an objective scientist is to do your best to make sure it’s a good clean product to make sure that it’s got the certificate of analysis and appropriate testing, and that you know what you’re getting. And from there, there are literature searches that you can do to figure out what products may be best from a scientific standpoint, if you look at the actives components, I would not suggest products that have some sort of really bizarre like a solid CBD capsule or something because I don’t think you’re going to get very much absorption. So I think certainly the most evidence is around like oil products and drugs and oil soft gels. Hope that is helpful.
Yeah, because people asking a lot. I think capsules are the second most popular way to use CBD other than tinctures. So you’re saying the oil-based ones have shown to be the most effective right?
In literature. I mean, that’s what we see from like the absorption. Yes, you know, I don’t think there’s a lot of data on like high ethanolic mixtures with cannabinoids, it may be very good as well. There’s just not much data on it. So I think it’s important to look at but I haven’t seen anything this far. But I do know that the things in oil carriers seem to be absorbed very well.
Yeah. And that makes sense because it’s lipophilic. So it loves fat. And it also makes sense as to why that would work well with fatty foods as well. Okay, Hunter. Well, thank you so much for being here. This was I can definitely say one of the most interesting episodes I’ve ever done because you obviously have just so much background and years of research in this space. For people to connect with you after this episode, if they want to find you or ask you questions or just contact you, what’s the best way for them to find you online?
Sure they can. I’m on LinkedIn so they can find me on LinkedIn, or certainly available for email as well. So any route of communication is fine with me.
Okay, great. I’ll leave a link to that in the show notes. Thank you again for being here. It was a pleasure.
Thanks for having me.
Hey, everybody, that concludes our episode for today. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, I certainly learned a lot and just like every episode of the CBD school podcast, I always leave with tons of new information and stuff to think about. So I hope you have a great day. And before you go, I want to remind you that you can use the coupon code canopy 15 at shopcanopy.com for 15% off your order, so head over to shopcanopy.com and get 15% off your full order with coupon code canopy 15. All right, and that concludes our podcast for today. Please make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. If you enjoyed the podcast. Also, visit CBDschool.com for even more great content on CBD. And until next time, this is the deme the CBD professor from CBD school.com, signing out. Thanks for listening. Bye for now