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Limitless Potential Of Cannabis Plant (Podcast)



  • Drs. Ethan Russo and Dale Hunt, superstars in the cannabis space, join the show to discuss why cannabis plant is a biochemical treasure trove that we've only just begun to understand.
  • We cover endocannabinoids, body receptors, the entourage effect at molecular level, and why we're at the frontier of the future of medicine.
  • We also discuss teaming up to create Breeder's Best, and why it's essential for breeders to have a seat at the table.

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By Rena Sherbill

Dale Hunt, PhD, JD, and Ethan Russo, MD, are cannabis industry pioneers, and along with Robert C. Clarke created Breeder's Best, the first cannabis company to focus on intellectual property protection for independent plant breeders and licensing IP for access to markets worldwide.

Ethan is a research pioneer in cannabis and was previously a Senior Medical Advisor for GW Pharmaceuticals' (GWPH) research on cannabis therapies including Sativex, a cannabinoid treatment for multiple sclerosis symptoms and severe neuropathic-related pain, and Epidiolex, the first FDA approved botanically-derived cannabis medication. Dale has 20+ years of experience in cannabis law, is a plant scientist and patent attorney who has focused on protecting plant breeders' rights.

Great discussion covering medicinal benefits of cannabis and beyond - we're only just starting to understand biochemical treasure trove that is cannabis. We also talk terpenes, entourage effect on a molecular level and why protecting breeders and getting them a seat at the table is so essential.

Topics include:

  • 5:40 - Dale started as a plant scientist, botany and Master's in genetics and PhD in molecular and cellular biology, then went to law school, studying IP law. Practice has always dealt with plant breeders and seven years ago began working in cannabis. Ethan had trained as a neurologist and even as a physician grew organically for local farmer's market. Around 1990 had a crisis of confidence around what he was doing - prescribing patients with more and more toxic drugs. Began incorporating more plants in his practice, studied ethno-botany, and after studying Spanish spent time in Peru and the Amazon Jungle studying medicinal plants and upon returning knew it's what he wanted to focus on. Began doing clinical trials with cannabis, ran into typical government roadblocks and became aware of GW Pharma and in 1998 came on as scientific advisor, then full time medical advisor.
  • 11:00 - More cannabinoids we discover and research, the more we discover how much potential is in the cannabis plant, not just THC and CBD. We've only scratched the surface of the potential. As versatile as CBD is, still a constricted marketplace - an utter lack of diversity; we see high in THC, myrcene or alternatively high in CBD and high in myrcene. The plant makes 500 chemicals, at least 150 cannabinoids - each of the 12 we've discovered have their own unique and safe properties - lacking in toxicity, with great therapeutic properties and with the exception of THC, which does have side effects when not used properly. Also around 200 different terpinoids that have synergistic properties when combined with cannabinoids - potential is limitless. Explaining the entourage effect.
  • 18:00 - Ethan's time at GW Pharma - great to have a role in the development of the space, but it's right now the Wild West - on one hand, great to see innovation but almost impossible for consumer to know what they're getting. Inadequate quality control in the CBD industry. Point of sale should have complete analysis and safety data for consumer and patient.
  • 23:00 - Breeder's Best origin story: Dale helped breeders but couldn't get them a path to success and profit solely as an attorney protect their property rights. Need to also help breeders find the right commercial relationships. Most breeders don't want to have to focus on the business side, but on the art of growing cannabis. Breeders will always own their own IP, BB acts as exclusive licensee. Met Ethan and matched up their visions and assembled a great team, each in their own expertise. How the business works. Navigating around Covid.
  • 30:00 - Interested in "minor" cannabinoids - CBG, for example has great potential medicine - anti-anxiety without being sedating. Also has success in treating prostate cancer and all cannabinoids have potential to kill cancer cells without being toxic. Also have come across land raises - a type of cannabis grown in an area growing cannabis for many generations and usually has special properties. Many land raises have been lost and has resulted in homogeneity in current cannabis strains. They'd like opportunity to develop new varieties. Much more was available 30 years ago - have to diversify to see all of cannabis' capabilities: not only medicinally but also industrially.
  • 36:00 - Pharma industry as cannabis displaces people's belief and reliance on pharmaceuticals. Too many examples of pharma interfering with cannabis commerce recently, including contributions to defeat ballot measures. It's not a medicine if people can't get it - many states where there's no cannabis legally available and people rely on black market. Artisanal growers and supplements also exist. There has to be coexistence between all players. Plenty to fear, but industry players also have to be more responsible in safety and quality and many companies won't do unless it's absolutely mandatory.
  • 41:00 - Self-taught breeders that have devoted themselves to growing great cannabis varieties and they will finally have a seat at the table and that will lead to more patients having more strains and the benefits that come from that.

This article was written by

On The Cannabis Investing Podcast, host Rena Sherbill provides actionable investment insight and the context with which to understand the burgeoning cannabis and psychedelics industries. C-level executives, analysts and sector experts share portfolio picks and help you think through your investing approach.

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Comments (1)

OneStrawRevolutionFarming2023 profile picture
Fans of nuance and accuracy would ask for the word "Nearly" to be added to this title please :-)

How about this topic please and thank you :-)

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