Cannabis Data Consumers Can TrustCannabis Tech sat down with Michael Klein of cannabisMD, and Edward Sawicki, Jr., Co-Founder & CEO of Think20 Labs to discuss their collaboration which aimed at providing third-party, blind tests consumers can trust.
In an industry where ‘stoner’ mannerisms and jargon dominate, cannabisMD and Think20 aim to provide straightforward information for the uninitiated consumer. “We honestly just want to ensure that customers are safe and if they want to learn something, then we can provide that type of content through cannabisMD,” Sawicki explained.
Providing Accurate Information
Talking about how they entered the space, Klein stated, “As cannabis was entering the cultural conversation, we found that there was any number of digital platforms that had emerged, but that they were all speaking to the adult consumption or recreational market. They were assuming that a consumer already had a relationship with cannabis. Nobody was owning the authority voice about the potential benefits of medical cannabis and CBD and doing it from a non-advocacy point of view so that there isn’t a bias towards use.”
“Instead on the platform, we have all original content, original research, original first-person accounts, of both the positive aspects and experience people have had with medical cannabis and CBD and the not so positive.” The overall goal to empower consumers to make choices that are right for them and right for their lifestyle,” Klein continued talking about the cannabisMD platform and their goals as a company.
This point of view is a direct outlier in an industry that usually focuses on the recreational market and its explosive sales. Instead of having a focus on the consumption of materials, cannabisMD aims to keep the conversation based on data and analysis so that patients can enter the cannabis space with a real understanding.
On the Horizon
Think20, cannabisMD’s partner, spoke of the possibility of consumers taking a DNA test which would then allow the lab to potentially tell them what reactions, positive and negative, they will have from which strains, and pair consumers with vendors who can provide the products.
One of the biggest hurdles has been how to report results in an unregulated market. Sawicki mentions, “Since we are a licensed cannabis compliance lab, criteria for testing are provided by the state. With CBD, there really aren’t any regulations, other than THC content, for us to follow.”
“At the end of the day, we realized we’re not a governing body. All we can do is provide the information until there are regulations in place,” Sawicki admitted. “What we’ve decided to do with our certificate of analysis in the CBD realm is just to give the information and work with the end customer and explain to them that this is in your product.”
Ultimately what the consumer or vendors decide to do is within their freedoms, and while cannabisMD exists to publicize information about products, it cannot make any choices for anyone. It can merely remain objective and promote access to information.
Developing the Voice of Medical Authority in a Consumption Market
“We want to be the lab that’s sitting down with the FDA, sitting down with the regulatory bodies, helping to set the standards for testing,” Sawicki stated. “That’s where we want to be, and we want to be at the forefront.”
In addition to working with publicizing consumer information, Think20 Labs is reaching out to farmers to provide pre-cultivation testing of seeds and plants during cultivation. Critical information as hemp draws out any metals present in the ground, so newly developed hemp fields converted from old tobacco fields, could mean the first few years of the crops will likely test positive for contaminants or the farmer has to remove several feet of topsoil to ensure a safe harvest.
American hemp is also difficult to grow because of the regulations on THC content. Inexperienced farmers who have never worked with the crop before will struggle to understand how to maintain the proper THC content and will end up growing ‘hot’ hemp, or hemp that tests too high in THC concentration.
Working with labs such as Think20 could save hemp biomass from being useless for farmers, but another option is to raise the limit for legal hemp’s THC content to 1%. This would echo the standard European countries have for hemp and would allow American farmers to compete in the global market.
Where cannabisMD will shine is in their stripping of the cannabis stigma. Klein explains: “We are with a cannabis curious consumer from that moment of curiosity about CBD and sleep or CBD and pain management, whatever it might be, and through their journey of discovery – that is why we created the platform as a safe environment for consumers to learn more.”
Think20 Labs already produces QR Code which can be scanned for patients to quickly and easily gain access to reliable analysis of products. Their work makes cannabis a safer and more transparent industry as they strive to work with companies that aim for the same level transparency and consumer safety