As marijuana legalization has spread to new states and regions, the regulatory framework of the industry has struggled to adapt. How to ensure product safety via scientific testing has been a popular debate, and some legal markets have mandated testing for cannabis producers and retailers. Ganjapreneur, a cannabis industry publication focused on business news and culture, recently published an interview with Dr. Michelle Sexton of PhytaLab about her take on cannabis testing regulations.
Dr. Sexton founded PhytaLab in 2010, and she has also served as a consultant to the Washington State Liquor Control Board on the implementation of I-502, the state’s bill which led to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and she is also an avid surfer and rock climber.
In the interview, Sexton explains how the lack of federal recognition of legal cannabis markets has made scientific research very difficult. “Due to the federal status, crowd-sourced science has virtually replaced clinical research, being ‘loosely’ conducted without the usual controls or theoretical frameworks.” She also describes how the industry itself has reacted to the notion that products should be scientifically tested and verified. “I think that the Cannabis community was really skeptical of analytical laboratory work in the beginning, particularly when the result did not come back as they would have hoped,” she explains.
The interview also covers Dr. Sexton’s personal career and how she came to be involved in the cannabis industry. “I became interested in the potency of cannabis when I was working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington. I was learning to measure endogenous cannabinoids in human serum and studying the role of this system in neuroinflammation. My research project hypothesized that Cannabis was a potential ‘supplement’ to a deficient endocannabinoid system in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.”
The full interview is available on Ganjapreneur’s website.
Ganjapreneur launched in July 2014 and has since established a significant presence in the cannabis business world. The website regularly publishes interviews and commentary from leading minds in the industry, and has also launched a B2B business directory, a live feed of job listings from marijuana job boards, a domain name marketplace for start-ups and venture capital firms, and a mobile app for Apple and Android devices which aggregates daily cannabis industry news, business profiles, and other information.