Good Afternoon Pennsylvanians!
The leaves are turning, the wind is cooling, the sun is sitting high, glistening off the Appalachians, as we get set to embrace another beautiful fall season in the Keystone State. We as the cultivators, processors, dispensaries, and laboratories of the medical cannabis industry are anxiously awaiting to drop first seeds in the ground as the hard-working farmers have for centuries before us. We are finally here, arrived at this moment in history and time together, collectively as an industry and as the grangers of our time. Much alike to the pioneers before us, we bare many responsibilities to those that rely upon us. These responsibilities include: accuracy in delivery, high standards of production, and embracement of knowledge through the scientific process. They say that with great opportunity comes great responsibility. Henry W. Haynes might have said it best, “The possession of great powers and capacity for good implies equally great responsibilities in their employment. Where so much has been given much is required.” We who are entrusted in good faith to this position not only carry these responsibilities but we must also be the example for the rest of our nation who will be watching closely.
Patients who depend on us, do so trustingly and in confidence that we will deliver medical marijuana at the highest measures of scientific standard and accuracy. Unfortunately, a recent study by Johns Hopkins showed us this may not always be the case; 87% of tested medical marijuana product failed to meet package labeling. (Ryan Vandrey, PhD, et al, “Cannabinoid Dose and Label Accuracy in Edible Medical Cannabis Products”, Journal of American Medical Association, Ed. 313, Issue 24, pp. 2491-93 (June 23, 2015), available at http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2338239 .) A multiple number of conclusions can be drawn from this study, but ultimately the results illuminate a blemish on our industry. For all the progress we have made, it puts into perspective just how much we still have to do. At Keystone State Testing, we believe that the first steps in providing the highest standard of accuracy begins with using the highest levels of integrity, rigor, and honesty in reporting. Since there is no nationwide regulation or set standard within each individual state this is the biggest hurdle that must be overcome in order to learn where we can all take a step forward. We believe that the growers, processors, and laboratories who are committed to using the highest levels of integrity, rigor, and scientific process in their practice will be the ones who are truly committed to improving the lives and environment of patients, communities and the state. The growers, processors, and dispensaries who lead in plant and product integrity will ultimately be the industry leaders that steer us in the right direction.
Embracing knowledge through the use of science is not only essential but a critical step needed to better serve our patients and communities. We have the technology to detect and eliminate contaminants like pesticides or bacteria. We have the science to fine tune the potency and balance between THC and other cannabinoids. Pennsylvania laboratories are able to insure the integrity of medical marijuana while focusing on the targeting of certain types of medical marijuana for different medical conditions. These same laboratories may be a crucial part in the ongoing research and scientific studies that will further validate and widen the conditions treated by medical marijuana. While state mandated regulatory testing does require measurements in some areas across a plants life cycle, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to do more. We owe it to our patients to do a lot more. We have the technology, validated methodology, and the science to do so. We now have the ability to profile plants through obtaining a large spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and lineage. We can then take this information and provide patients, dispensaries, and hospitals with the products they need through plant optimization, accurate extractions, and ultimate product knowledge. We should take the guess work out of the equation and let science zero in on the patient process. We are all better when we work together.
About the Author
Russell Krupnitsky is the COO of Keystone State Testing, a Pennsylvania Testing and analytical solutions provider. Having over two decades of managerial experience he is committed to ensuring and maintaining the most responsible and ethically robust client centered business model.