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Cindy Orser

Chief Science Advisor, CLIP Labs, San Diego, California, USA; TAAT Global, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Biggest challenge facing cannabis science?

By far, the biggest challenge facing the cannabis industry this year, including cannabis science, is to effectively deal with fraud, specifically the entrenched black market, dragging down the feasibility of the industry to continue in its current arrangement in some critical states like California and Oregon.  The healthy black market exists because of the exorbitant cost of doing business in the legal cannabis space due to recurring licensing fees, taxes, testing costs, and lack of standard business deductions, all while meeting individual state action limits for contaminants and allowable dosing range per product. Some of these state-regulated failing products flow into the black market to recoup business costs.  

Controversial opinion? 

Yes, I firmly believe that the industry needs to move away from establishing a value for cannabis flower based on THC content.  First, there is minimal clinical data to justify any particular THC dosing regimen at the medicinal level. Secondly, there is no rationale for making 90% pure THC extracts available for recreational use. We do not know enough about the long-term impact of chronic use of such products. Most importantly, equating the value of cannabis flower to its THC content has created the monster that cannabis complicit states have to rankle with now, which is the fraud from inflated THC numbers. Furthermore, the focus on THC content ignores the contribution of other physiological secondary metabolites, including terpenoids and flavonoids.

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