The Cannabis Quality Strategies & Solutions Summit and the Increasing Need for Standardization


From the mountains of Poland to the streets of Los Angeles.

The backdrops of the ICRS Symposium and the Cannabis Quality Strategies & Solutions Summit couldn’t be more different, but a common thread connected the two shows: Legalization. At CQSS Summit the issue of legalization and the subsequent regulatory measures were top of mind, making it evident that everyone involved in the medicinal cannabis industry from physicians to patients to cannabis pioneers are all considering the potential impact a reclassification from the DEA may have and how to best prepare for finally being granted the level of access to cannabis we have been fighting for over the past two decades. Be careful what you wish for, right?

Luckily, I have always known that day would come – whether it’s this year, next year or 10 years from now, there will come a day when the government can no longer deny that cannabis is in fact medicine – and I have built Constance Therapeutics to not just meet the current (and ever-changing) requirements, but to exceed them. A lot. I have always believed that we were unique in our evidence-based and standardized formulations approach, but attending this conference confirmed it.

The presentations made and the conversations had during the conference made it abundantly clear that the majority of folks in this industry are still not taking cannabis as seriously as they should. I know I have said it before, but I’ll say it again: It is high time we start treating cannabis like the medicine that it is.

We can’t afford to wait until the government steps in. Growers must hold themselves to the same farming standards as any other ingestible crop. Producers must implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and routine product testing. This attention to quality and standards extends beyond just the producer and into the lab where products are being tested for harmful pesticides, contaminants and residual solvents. It is imperative that the producers know the type of SOPs and GMPs that are implemented at the labs they use and that they hold those labs accountable. Finally, products must be standardized to allow the opportunity for physicians to develop specific protocols for conditions, develop dosing knowledge and monitor for efficacy.

This desperate need for quality and standardization was made abundantly clear in a CQSS presentation by Dr. Jack D. McCue, entitled “Cannabinoids and Cancer: Do They Work?” The UCSF Professor of Medicine Emeritus shared with us his experience using hemp oil* in conjunction with traditional medicine when treating a 14-year-old girl with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The lack of standardization of the oils used over the course of 78 days made it impossible to truly manage proper dosing or monitor for efficacy. However, despite these imperfections, Dr. McCue still concluded that, at the very least, the oil has the potential to help with symptom relief for both the disease and the treatment of it. He also stated, with confidence, that hemp oil* would most certainly be a part of his treatment should he ever be diagnosed with cancer.

It was an absolute honor to be a part of this conference, both as a presenter (I gave a talk on the synergist relationship between the naturally occurring compounds within cannabis) and a member of the audience listening to cannabis legends like Dr. Ethen Russo, Dr. Jahan Marcu and the great Dr. Mowgli Holmes. Conferences like these truly show the incredible progress this industry has made since medicinal cannabis first become legal in California in 1996. But they also serve as a reminder that there is still so much to do here.

*I suspect Dr. McCue was actually using cannabis oil based on the specific strains (Chronic, Afghani, etc.) mentioned and references to the presence of THC within the oils. Unfortunately, it is quite common for people to use inaccurate nomenclature in this context due to a variety of reasons. There are several difference between oil from hemp and oil from cannabis. Many of which you can read about it here.