U.S. Representative Jared Huffman has been in favor of legalization even before it was politically convenient; Huffman publicly supported ending cannabis prohibition during his time in the California State Assembly before being elected as a U.S. Representative. Nowadays, Huffman’s congressional district includes the Emerald Triangle – the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. Huffman notes the special burdens placed on small business owners in the industry, including the hesitance and inaction California has seen at the local level. Although federal legalization may take time, Huffman says, there are plenty of incremental reforms that may help us get there sooner.
At root, Bridget Conry is an herbalist with a steadfast faith in the power of plants. Besides believing that everyone should be able to grow their own medicine, Conry also discusses the importance and efficacy of educating people about cannabis in a patient and professional manner. She also notes that communities will likely gain more confidence in the industry once we start to see more regulation, which is happening sooner than we think. Conry believes that the industry will, indeed, become normalized, but only with time and hard work.
Tahira Rehmatullah is in impressive leadership positions at not one, not two, but three major cannabis companies – it is no surprise that she has plenty of nuanced insights about the business side of the industry. For example, she notes that larger companies have been strategically diversifying their revenue streams in order to stay afloat amidst competition and fluctuating tides. As well, she believes that it is only a matter of time before countries stop importing products from Canada and start self-producing at half the price. Besides business, Rehmutallah predicts how medical cannabis might eventually look in the U.S. and shares her predictions for the 2020 election.
Mickey Dor, Senior Medical Advisor of the Medical Cannabis Unit for the Israel Ministry of Health, tells the story of regulated cannabis in Israel and notes the different types of changing winds that he has seen over the years. Although every country has a different approach to cannabis, Dor believes that the first step must always be teaching. If we prioritize research and educating physicians, then legislation and funding will naturally follow.
For eleven years, Dr. Michael Segal has been treating PTSD patients – mainly IDF veterans – with medical cannabis. Segal describes the incredible improvements he has seen in his patients: “If you see a post-traumatic patient before and after cannabis, you see two different persons.” Segal compares this type of success in Israel to the lack thereof in the United States in order to emphasize how important it is to prioritize our veterans’ mental health.
Dr. Silviu Brill, of the Pain Institute of Tel Aviv Medical Center, is passionate about the need for personalized medicine in Israel and around the world. Although he believes that some standardization is necessary, it is indisputable that each person and condition requires a unique ratio of THC and CBD. As Honorary Secretary of the European Pain Federation, Brill also spends much of his time researching how to best treat chronic pain in Europe. Nowadays, there is an unprecedented open-mindedness about ensuring safe patient access and sensible regulations.
Boris Blatnik joins us and shares just how a participants must be in the Cannabis industry: "With business in general, you have be adaptive, but in this space that's moving so lightning fast, you've really got to be able to pivot and change."
Professor Gil Bar-Sela joins us and explains how cannabis is used to treat different illnesses and conditions: “For example, if we want to bring cannabis as cancer treatment, then of course, we need to do a specific study trying to answer this indication like every medicine that goes into the market. If you are dealing with symptom control, then it's a different area of research.”
Most of us know that cannabis can be used for things like pain relief, but what most of us certainly don’t know is that it can also be used to kill cancer cells. Dr. Haleli Sharir discusses the use of cannabis as an alternative to chemotherapy when done in the context of personalized medicine (as opposed to standardized medicine.) Though she is not entirely opposed to standardization, Sharir firmly believes that a disease cannot be effectively treated unless one fully understands the cannabis extract, the source of the disease, and a person’s genetic background. She reminds us that “diseases are connected. Tumors are connected. You cannot separate the tumor from the person.”