Could Yeast Be a Game Changer for Cannabinoid Production?

The process used to brew beer and bake bread could prove to be groundbreaking for cannabis researchers. And a growing number of biotech companies are betting on the process to help them more cost-effectively produce cannabinoids, or the compounds found in cannabis.  Demetrix is one of those companies. Jeff Ubersax, the CEO of Demetrix, an Emeryville, California-based biotech company that is researching yeast-derived cannabinoids, said the company has a yeast strain that is able to produce cannabinoids at a lower cost than more traditional agricultural methods.  “How do we use biotechnology to make these compounds that have been present in the plant for a really long time?” he told Cannabis Wire. The process could help them access cannabinoids present at low levels in the plant, which are understudied because they are difficult to access, he added.  Demetrix was co-founded by Jay Keasling, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author of a study in the journal Nature published in February on yeast-derived cannabinoids. The scientists in Keasling’s lab were able to use brewer’s yeast to produce CBD and THC. Demetrix licenses technology from Keasling’s lab at Berkeley.  The process holds “the possibility of new therapies based on novel cannabinoids: the rare ones that are nearly impossible to get from the plant, or the unnatural ones, which are impossible to get from the plant,” Keasling said in a UC Berkeley announcement about the research.  Another company founded by Keasling, the biotech company Amyris, is now working on yeast cannabinoids. Rare cannabinoids would be too expensive to access via more traditional agricultural methods, said Sunil Chandran, vice president and head of research and development at Amyris.  “There are numerous cannabinoids that might have therapeutic properties, but which are produced in extremely low amounts in the plant, thereby making their production/purification cost-prohibitive,” Chandran told Cannabis Wire in an email.  But there are also other benefits to using yeast. For instance, Amyris doesn’t have to rely on crop yields, so its production isn’t impacted by volatile growth seasons or climate change, Chandran added. The biotech is using yeast and sugarcane to produce a fermentation broth that is primarily CBD. The company plans to deliver twenty or more pure cannabinoids in the next few years using this method, he said.  One of the major benefits to using yeast is the amount of time it takes, said Kevin Chen, CEO and co-founder of Hyasynth Bio, a Montreal-based biotech startup. It can take months to grow a cannabis plant, whereas yeast takes about a week, he said.  The process also requires less space, Chen added. For example, it could take a few hundred thousand square feet to house a large-scale cannabis grow, whereas a yeast operation only needs about 10,000 feet. “It has a bunch of different advantages in terms of efficiency and scalability of the technology,” Chen said. Hyasynth expects to have its first yeast-derived cannabinoid product on the market by early to mid-next year in Canada, he added.   But not everyone is sold on the benefits of using yeast to produce all cannabinoids. While it may be useful for rare cannabinoids, plants might still be the better option for accessing CBD, as plants produce the compound in large quantities, said Jeffrey Raber, CEO of the Werc Shop, a cannabis testing lab. Yeast production may make more sense for pharmaceutical development, where more novel or rare cannabinoids can be used, he added.  “CBD is produced so much by the plant, that’s going to be hard to compete against,” Raber said. “For something the plant isn’t going to produce a lot of any time soon might be the biggest win for that technology.”  There will also likely be regulatory questions about yeast-derived cannabinoids as companies inch closer to market, Raber added.  Despite these uncertainties, companies are continuing to invest in the process. In September 2018, Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, a biotech company founded a decade ago by MIT researchers, formed a multimillion dollar research and development partnership with global cannabis company Cronos Group to produce yeast-derived cannabinoids. (Ginkgo Bioworks declined to be interviewed for this piece.)  Intrexon, a Germantown, Maryland-based biotechnology company formed in the 1990s, also announced that September that they, too, have a yeast strain that can produce cannabinoids through fermentation.  Demetrix’s Ubersax told Cannabis Wire that yeast presents a significant opportunity for researchers to more meaningfully investigate the therapeutic benefits of cannabis.  “Here’s a class of molecules that has implications in human health and wellness that are present at very low concentrations in the plant and would be a great opportunity for biotechnology to start producing these and making them more available,” he said. 

Everything You Need to Know About Vaping-Related Lung Illnesses and the Cannabis Industry

As the summer of 2019 drew to a close, the cannabis industry fixated on a rash of illnesses linked to vaping products. The focus has only grown more pronounced. As of Oct. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported more than 1,400 cases of vaping-related pulmonary disease and at least 33 deaths.  While the illnesses are linked to vaping products (and increasing in number every day), the science is still a murkier subject. State health officials and independent researchers are grappling with a fundamental problem: If the source of these illnesses is found in the illicit vape market, as investigations indicate, then how can the scientific community and law enforcement effectively prevent the spread of this disease? What sort of public education responsibility falls to licensed cannabis businesses? Here, we’re reserving a page on Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary’s websites to maintain our record of how this story is unfolding. You’ll find our growing archive of news stories below, and we’ll continually update this page with the latest information and perspectives on this industry problem. From the CDC: What is causing this outbreak of lung injury? The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time. No single product or substance has been linked to all lung injury cases. The outbreak is occurring in the context of a dynamic marketplace for e-cigarette or vaping products, which may have a mix of ingredients, complex packaging and supply chains, and include potentially illicit substances. Users may not know what is in their e-cigarette or e-liquid solutions. Many of the products and substances can be modified by suppliers or users. They can be obtained from stores, online retailers, from informal sources (e.g. friends, family members), or “off the street.” More information is needed to know whether one or more e-cigarette or vaping products, substances, or brand is responsible for the outbreak. If there are questions you’d like to see answered or angles you’d like to share, please email Digital Editor Eric Sandy at esandy@gie.net. Here are the stories we’ve published on Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary to date: Oct. 17: Washington Adopts Emergency Rules Regarding Flavored Vapor Products Oct. 15: Colorado Regulators Prepare to Ban Certain Additives in Cannabis Vape Products Oct. 11: A New Theory Emerges: Is the Vaping-Related Lung Illness Culprit Actually Cadmium? Oct. 7: Mayo Clinic: Vaping Illnesses Resemble Chemical Burns Oct. 4: Oregon Governor Issues Temporary Ban on Flavored Vaping Products Sept. 26: Medicine Man Pulls Vape Cartridges Containing Propylene Glycol or Vitamin E Acetate Sept. 26: How Vaping Backlash Affects Major Tobacco-Backed Investments in Cannabis Sept. 24: Massachusetts Will Ban All Vape Sales for Four Months Sept. 19: Vape Sales Hold Steady for Many Retailers Following Weeks of Lung Disease Headlines, Chemical Uncertainty on the Illicit Market Sept. 18: 3 Tips for Supply Chain Risk Management Amid Vaping-Related Lung Illnesses in the U.S. Sept. 17: Hawaii Health Officials Pull CBD Products Following First Vaping-Related Lung Illness Sept. 13: OLCC Provides Guidance to Recreational Marijuana Licensees on Vaping Illness Outbreak Sept. 10: Special Report: Cannabis Researchers, Scientists Confront Vaping-Related Lung Disease Debate Sept. 9: Vaping-Related Lung Disease Prompts Public Health Questions Across Cannabis Industry

U.S. House Passes Bill Providing Legal Cover for Banks, CUs, to Work with Cannabis Businesses –

The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation that would provide legal cover to banks and credit unions that want to accept deposits and provide other financial services to cannabis businesses. This is a huge step toward normalizing the cannabis industry and eliminating the glut of greenbacks the industry has been forced to deal with since states began legalizing the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis products. “American voters have spoken and continue to speak, and the fact is you can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), author of the legislation. “Prohibition is over. Our bill is focused solely on taking cash off the streets and making our community safer.” The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, enjoyed broad bipartisan support, with 91 Republicans joining 229 Democrats to approve the measure in a September 25 House vote. While Senate passage of the measure is no guarantee, the fact that the full House aprpoved the measure is a major coup in itself, as no such legislation had ever previously made it to the floor for consideration in either house of the U.S. Congress. Laws in 33 states and the District of Columbia now permit the use of cannabis products, like marijuana and CBD oils, for medicinal and adult recreational purposes. These laws, in turn, have sprouted a vibrant market for cannabis products. According to some estimates, the cannabis industry will generate about $10 billion in sales this year and as much as $80 billion by 2030. But most cannabis businesses today are forced to operate on a cash-only basis. That’s because financial institutions, fearful of running afoul of federal prohibitions on cannabis and potentially getting shut down, decline to work with businesses known to be involved in the cannabis industry. This, in turn, has created a significant public safety risk, as cannabis businesses flush with greenbacks have become targets for criminals, which not only puts the those businesses at risk, but communities at large. The SAFE Banking Act seeks to harmonize state and federal laws related to cannabis by prohibiting federal regulators from taking punitive actions against financial institutions that provide banking services to state-sanctioned cannabis businesses, as well as ancillary business that serve them. (Think landlords, electricians, etc.). The legislation provides a safe harbor for any bank or credit union that chooses to work with cannabis businesses provided those businesses hold and maintain licenses from state or local governments to grow, transport, display or sell cannabis products. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). A hearing on the Senate bill was held in July before the Senate Banking Committee, and the chair of that committee, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), has promised a committee vote on that legislation this fall. The SAFE Banking Act also enjoys the support of a wide range of national organizations and state officials, including the National Association of Attorneys General, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the Credit Union National Association, the American Bankers Association, the Electronic Transactions Association, 20 governors and 18 state banking supervisors. “Today is a step forward for a common-sense bill that will make communities across the country safer,” Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH), a co-sponsor of the bill, said following House passage of the SAFE Banking Act. “Passing this bill keeps the right perspective: no federal regulator should block Americans’ lawful access to the financial system,” added Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), another co-sponsor. “This principle holds true whether you are talking about firearms or cannabis.”

California made it easier for marijuana workers to form labor unions

Weed workers across the country are unionizing, and California just made it easier for them. On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a requirement that all cannabis stores enter into so-called “labor peace agreements” as soon as they have 20 or more employees. California is now one of two states — New York is the other — that requires licensed weed shops to make a deal with a formal labor union in which managers promise not to stop workers from joining a union. And in exchange, organizers won’t encourage labor strikes against the company. Labor unions have been pushing for these agreements in recent years, as more and more states decriminalize marijuana. They say they want to make sure the $6 billion industry doesn’t exploit workers, who are often paid below the minimum wage or given marijuana instead of wages. They also see it as a pathway for workers to form a labor union and boost membership. When unionized, cannabis workers have ended up negotiating annual raises, health insurance subsidies, and higher-than-average wages, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which has been organizing cannabis workers across the country since 2011. California has required cannabis shops to sign labor peace deals ever since 2018, after voters approved a ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana sales. There was just one problem: the law didn’t include a way to enforce the deals, because it didn’t give businesses a deadline to make them. The new law, signed Friday, gives businesses 60 days to do so. If they don’t, workers can file a complaint with state labor regulators. This will “provide employees with clarity on when an employer is failing to comply with the laws and a complaint needs to be filed,” said Reggie Jones-Sawyer, the California assembly member who sponsored the bill, according to the industry news site Cannabis Wire. While the new law represents a small tweak to the current law, it will help unions make inroads in one of the fastest-growing industries. It also represents an unusual approach to labor organizing. The emerging legal marijuana industry is relying on a rare labor strategy once used to organize shipyard workers and casino employees. They’re known as labor peace deals, or LPAs. Each deal varies from workplace to workplace, depending on what both sides negotiate, but they tend to have some things in common. First, company managers agree not to dissuade workers from unionizing, and they often agree to give employees’ contact information to labor organizers. They also give unions access to the workplace to meet with employees, as long as organizers don’t disrupt work. In exchange for access, labor organizers agree not to vilify a company or say negative things about an employer to its workforce. The unions also agree not to encourage workers to go on strike or picket. As the term suggests, these deals are meant to keep the peace during what can often become a tense unionization process. But the setup only works when employers aren’t trying to stop workers from organizing all together. For the legal marijuana industry, these deals are sometimes mandated under state law. Aside from California, New York requires its medical marijuana dispensaries to sign labor peace deals. In Illinois, which recently legalized recreational marijuana, the state will consider whether a business has signed such a deal when determining which shops can get a license. Labor unions, such as the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, have been pressuring states to pass these laws. They see it as a way to boost union membership in a rapidly growing industry. Ten states have fully legalized marijuana sales in recent years, for both medicinal or recreational consumption. About another dozen states allow sales for medical use. As more and more states pass laws allowing businesses to set up shop, the demand for workers will continue to rise. It’s hard to determine how many people work in the cannabis industry. Because selling marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the US Department of Labor doesn’t track job growth in the industry. But New Frontier Data, a cannabis market-research and data-analysis firm, estimates that the legal industry employs at least 250,000 people who work directly with the plants. That includes people working in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries, patient identification centers, hydroponics stores, and growing facilities. And the growth of marijuana dispensaries is a trend that labor unions are paying attention to. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, better known for organizing supermarket employees, is the now the “most powerful cannabis union” in the country, representing more than 10,000 workers in 14 states, according to Rolling Stone magazine. “It has negotiated contracts with major operators like MedMen, helped legitimize the movement for cautious politicians, and hammered out pro-worker provisions in multiple state legislatures,” writes Josh Marcus for Rolling Stone. In fact, it was UFCW that forced the federal government to enforce labor rights for cannabis workers. In 2013, workers at a medical marijuana company, Wellness Connection of Maine, walked off the job that winter, protesting the company’s use of pesticides. The company repeatedly retaliated against workers for trying to unionize with the UFCW, and disciplined several workers who participated in the walkout, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces federal collective bargaining laws. In October 2013, the company settled the case. By doing so, the NLRB acknowledged that cannabis workers were protected under the National Labor Relations Act — the 1935 law that gave workers the right to unionize. “Only by sticking together, we were able to find the strength to speak out about the gross violations that we saw at work,” Ian Brodie, a former Wellness employee, said in a statement after the settlement was reached. “By fighting for our union, we are protecting our customers and shaping the medical marijuana industry into a safe and well regulated industry that provides good jobs and needed medicine for our community.” It’s unusual for a company to advertise the fact that its employees are unionizing. But in the legal marijuana industry, that’s normal — a sign that the company is a legitimate business, and not a shady operator growing marijuana in someone’s garage. In August 2018, employees for the Have a Heart dispensaries signed the first collective bargaining agreement for cannabis workers in Washington state. The company even wrote a press release to announce it: “We consistently strive to have a positive impact in the neighborhoods where we do business, and we see our partnership with [UFCW Local 21] as part of our commitment to creating a safe and empowering workplace,” wrote CEO Ryan Kunkel. The contract, which covers about 135 workers in the Seattle area, includes comprehensive health care benefits, annual raises, and higher-than-average pay rates for the industry, according to the release. Recreational marijuana sales are fully legal under Washington state law. Then, last week, cannabis workers in Pennsylvania signed the state’s first collective bargaining agreement in the industry, according to UFCW Local 1776. They work for Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Solutions, a subsidiary of Vireo Health, which operates in 11 markets with legal cannabis. The new contract sets base wages for employees and provides them with affordable health care benefits, guaranteed annual raises, generous paid time off, and an employer-funded retirement plan. Wendell Young, president of the union affiliate, described the contract in a press release as a “great win for the future of all workers in the cannabis industry.” The CEO of Vireo Health, Kyle Kingsley, issued his own statement too, and it suggests that cannabis companies see unions as effective partners in advocating for marijuana legalization. “We believe that a unionized workforce is key to our company’s success and look forward to partnering with UFCW to support legislation, such as legalizing adult-use cannabis, that will help create thousands of new middle-class jobs across the Keystone State,” he wrote.

Eaze Partners With Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica And Recreational Embassy To Debut Eaze Hospitality – MJ News Network

CALIFORNIA: Eaze, California’s leading cannabis delivery marketplace, announced a new partnership with Recreational Embassy, an elemental curator of cannabis and hemp solutions for the luxury hospitality market, to bring high-touch cannabis experiences to luxury hotel guests with the launch of Eaze Hospitality. The Eaze Hospitality concierge service will debut at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica, marking a first-of-its-kind intersection of tourism and the cannabis industry. “The partnership with the Fairmont and Recreational Embassy is another proof point that cannabis is normalizing,” says Sheena Shiravi, Senior Director of Marketing at Eaze. “Offering adults in-hotel access to safe and legal cannabis at California’s luxury tourism destinations reinforces how beneficial it is to incorporate cannabis into every aspect of your life.” Eaze Hospitality is designed to meet the needs, tastes, and lifestyle of the luxury cannabis consumer. Features include a concierge service that serves as a resource for guests’ questions and supports a positive cannabis experience. Eaze Hospitality is committed to educating both new and existing customers about the benefits of cannabis and the innovative products available to them. “Hotels should have a safe, legal and thoughtful approach to meet the needs of the modern luxury hotel customer,” says Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Director of Sales and Marketing, Rebecca Huetter. “By partnering with Recreational Embassy, we are able to provide the contemporary level of hotel amenities our guests have come to expect.” “Being present is what the new modern luxury travel experience is all about, and cannabis is the key wellness product to help you get there,” said Lauren Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Recreational Embassy. “As we guide the hospitality industry along this fresh customer journey with integrity, Eaze Hospitality reinforces the overlap between the new cannabis consumer and the modern luxury traveler.” The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, California is the first property to leverage Eaze Hospitality to facilitate access to legal, compliant and brand-aligned hemp and cannabis products and services. Guests aged 21+ will have access to customized in-room menus that feature low-dose and non-inhalation hemp and cannabis products. Through Recreational Embassy, the hotel will also offer bespoke CBD products including a custom scented fig CBD-infused bath bomb inspired by the property’s signature fig tree. The potential to holistically reshape the signature elements of a luxury property hotel-stay by integrating hemp, cannabis and CBD products offers an unprecedented opportunity for hotels to drive incremental revenue. “We bridge the gaps between both those experienced with cannabis and those we call ‘canna-curious’ who are interested to learn more,” says Brian Applegarth, Chief Education Officer of Recreational Embassy. “The most common questions we hear from visitors are about how to get cannabis products and where to enjoy them. Our goal is to minimize confusion for hotels and their guests while maximizing on-property experiences and driving incremental value.” Share this:

How Leafly’s New Cannabis Guide Will Impact Businesses’ Relationships With Consumers and Patients

More than once in my time at Farma—the nation’s first dispensary to focus on phytochemical data and not the indica/sativa dichotomy—a customer would slink away to the corner of the store to check out what Leafly had to say about a particular “strain.” The website’s model of simplifying complex phytochemistry into broad categorizations of indica, sativa and hybrid was extremely accessible and helped consumers feel like they were taking the guess work out of tough choices. Of course, this model also left out important variables—namely, the unique chemical makeup of each individual batch of flower that helps predict both therapeutic and experiential outcomes. This week, Leafly launched a sweeping overhaul of that old convenient but over-simplified system. Taking a cue from countless studies and industry leaders who have long advocated for phytochemical data over broad and inaccurate categorizations, Leafly has designed a new system to help consumers visualize the “ingredients” that make up unique chemical profiles in cannabis: the Cannabis Guide.  Of course, cannabis is an extremely chemically complex plant with a great deal many more secrets to divulge, especially in terms of how it works within vastly more complex and diverse human body chemistries. While this fresh take from Leafly does much to deepen the discussion around the importance of phytochemical ingredient differentiation to help predict therapeutic and experiential effects, it represents only the tip of the isomer iceberg. The exploration of how complex compounds work together to create polymodal actions stands to revolutionize the cannabis, caregiver and pharmaceutical industries and give voice to the synergistic systems of which we are each comprised. How Does the Leafly Cannabis Guide Work? Up until now, chemovars on Leafly’s website were classified according to the three colloquial categories: Indica (purple), Sativa (red) and Hybrid (green). There was an emphasis on subjective effects, but also included phytochemical averages when available. Leafly  The new guide uses a series of simple shapes, colors and sizing to express variances in phytochemical data averages as aggregated from a combination of lab-sourced analyses and people-sourced reviews: The overall graphic is reminiscent of a flower, with three concentric rings surrounding a central shape. Diamonds and circles are used to denote primary cannabinoids THC and CBD, with the central shape indicative of cannabinoid-type dominance. (CBG is reportedly incorporated as well, but no information is given on the website as to what to look for when seeking out CBG-rich chemovars. Additionally, CBG-rich flower is a bit proprietary at this point and may not be easily expressed as an average in a single lineage.) More on the hits and misses of this model below. The size of the diamonds and circles shown in the concentric rings signify that cannabinoid’s average potency; larger diamonds indicate higher THC percentages. Equal representation of circles and diamonds indicate a mixed-ratio varietal. Colors represent terpenes. The primary, secondary and tertiary rings surrounding the central dominant cannabinoid are color-coded according to the average principle terpenes found in a specific chemovar. There are eight possible colors/terpenes that can be represented. Cannabis Guide Hits The indica/sativa dichotomy and subjective energy associations haven’t completely disappeared, but they are de-emphasized in the updated model. This is important as consumers long accustomed to old vernacular begin to navigate a more complete picture through the language of phytochemistry. Starting from a place of mutual understanding will ultimately ensure a more seamless transition. Leafly   Awareness of how certain profiles correlate to personal preferential patterns can help consumers make better choices for themselves. Once they find the profiles they like the best, and if their favorite retailer is able to provide up-to-date chemovarietal information, the consumer should be able to walk in and pick something out even if she doesn’t recognize a single “strain name” on the shelf. This is great news not just for consumers but also for growers focused on proprietary genetics—who are willing and able to participate in phytochemical analysis—as desirable compound profiles start to outweigh easily recognizable names. This model puts the control into the consumer’s hands: a long-standing legacy of cannabis in and of itself. But the component that I might be most excited about is the inclusion of a “Flower Finder.” Here, customers can plug in the cannabinoid and terpene profile that they want and receive personalized “strain” recommendations. You liked that flower with 20-percent THC and a primary terpene profile of limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and pinene? Here are three, five or 10 more chemovars that are likely to have a similar profile. Cool stuff. …And Misses I hesitate to critique this new guide as I do truly believe it is a huge step in the right direction from Leafly’s tremendously influential platform, but there are a few things to keep in mind as we continually seek to improve upon old systems and more fully track this plant’s promise.  Minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC and THCV are underrepresented or left out altogether. These molecules often show up in small amounts and may be difficult to average among a given “strain name” but can reach as high as 7 percent in some cultivations. And it is likely that we will soon see minors turn into majors in the flower of the future—like the CBG-rich examples some growers are currently working on. Even in the lesser amounts we see today, these minor cannabinoids can make or break therapeutic benefits for medical patients and can also play a role in modulating, mitigating or amplifying the intoxicating characteristics of a given chemovar. Phytochemical analysis and its subsequent interpretation should be considering all discoverable cannabinoids, which still only represent a handful of the over 100 cannabinoids the plant is capable of producing. Minor and trace terpenes that help to define the unique characteristics and therapeutic values of the user experience are left out of the picture. With only eight terpenes to choose from and only three of those eight represented for any given chemovar, the “strain” snapshot remains incomplete. Data that could prove useful to understanding preferential and experiential patterns through terpene/cannabinoid synergies remains limited in this model. In a perfect world, even quick reference guides would have seven or eight of the top terpenes listed to improve predictive reliability. Terpenes in the guide are also color-coded according to subjective and isolated effects. First, a great deal of the evidence we have on terpenoid effects comes from aromatherapeutic studies, not studies on combustion and inhalation. Second, most of the studies that we do have discuss either isolated terpenes and their effects when ingested or terpenes tested in tandem with other constituents from their source, like tea tree oil for instance. Third, suggesting that myrcene is always deeply relaxing or that limonene is always associated with energetic highs doesn’t take into account how these molecules work when they are side by side or how they might create a very different response within an individual body. After years of analyzing phytochemical data for the flower on Farma’s shelf, I began to recognize profile patterns that reliably correlated to experienced effects in the average consumer. For instance, rich myrcene levels in disparate proportion to other terpenes often indicated a calm but lucid effect in most people. Or when myrcene was in near equal percentages with limonene, the chemovar often conveyed a strong stony euphoria when THC levels were at moderate to rich potencies. Patterns are only possible to recognize when the data is good and when people are paying attention. Lessons Learned To Leafly’s credit, they acknowledged most of these concerns in a two-part preamble that accompanied the release of the Cannabis Guide. In addition to describing the best way to navigate the new system, the supplementary text also laid down the fundamentals of phytochemistry, why it should be important to growers and consumers and recognized a lack of standardization in analytical testing. They also highlighted the difficulties some growers face when hit with the added cost of terpene testing not required by most states—craft cultivators still supplying that data to consumers are going above and beyond and should be commended for their dedication to better consumer outcomes.  Leafly  The two-part piece also made a clever analogy to Leafly’s expanded, but still streamlined chemovar profiles: online dating. “You can get a sense of someone’s personality from a dating profile, but you’ll have to go on a date to see if you really match.” Much like online dating, the Cannabis Guide may be imperfect, but it’s a great way to get the ball rolling and begin to better understand preferences. The closer we can move towards understanding more of the powerful and synergistic compounds like those found in cannabis—compounds that play off of one another to increase therapeutic and experiential value—the closer we will be to revolutionizing the way we approach medicine. With their Cannabis Guide, Leafly has just lit a fire under that movement. Andrea Sparr-Jaswa is the science editor of Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.

Florida company faces liability lawsuit over possible CBD vape illness

(This story has been updated with a company response.)South Florida manufacturer JustCBD is being sued by a woman in the U.S. Virgin Islands who says she was sickened by one of its vape products. The woman alleges that CBD vape oil made by the Hollywood, Florida, company caused her pneumonia-like symptoms in August. She was ultimately transferred to a Miami hospital, where her legs were amputated because of organ failure and oxygen deprivation, Courthouse News Service reported. JustCBD, part of a larger company JustBrands, has not responded to the product-liability lawsuit in court, but company spokeswoman Holly Baird told Hemp Industry Daily the company was “saddened” by the woman’s illness but not responsible. She added that JustCBD does not sell products in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Florida company is also fighting unrelated legal claims that its labels misstate CBD content. JustCBD also makes topicals, tinctures and capsules containing CBD, which it calls “Mother Nature’s secret miracle.” To read more about vaping-related illnesses and the cannabis industry, click here. Subscribe to our Newsletter