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Chatting With Dr Callie Seaman Ahead of Drug Science’s The Truth About Cannabis Event

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Mar 09, 2022   

Image credit: Bogomil Mihaylov via Unsplash

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Drug Science certainly lives up to its name. The UK-based organization is one of the most prominent campaigning groups in the country for scientific research into cannabis and other drugs, and much of this research is patient-focused.

Its main initiative, Project Twenty-21, is Europe’s largest medical cannabis patient study and has gathered real-world evidence from hundreds of patients across the country since its launch in 2019.

To share insights from this project and other research efforts, the Drug Science team will soon host The Truth About Cannabis, a virtual series of talks from cannabis researchers, patients, and business owners.

To learn more about the event and what attendees can expect, Analytical Cannabis caught up with one its speakers, Dr Callie Seaman, an honorary researcher at Sheffield Hallam University and executive director and scientific lead at Medcan Support.

Presenting cannabis testing

“I’m coming from the angle about testing,” Seaman said, “[and] why testing is needed.”

Seaman’s presentation will outline many of the key aspects of the cannabis testing process, from the equipment labs use to the analytes they look for.

“[The presentation will discuss] things like the difference between using HPLC [high-performance liquid chromatography] and GCMS [gas chromatography mass spectrometry],” she said.

“Microbial testing – what that is about and why it’s so important that we look at the microbial content,” she continued. “[The presentation will also] look at water activity and plating, the [testing] differences between countries, pesticide analysis, terpenes, and the potency of cannabinoids.”

These subjects may be very familiar to readers of Analytical Cannabis, but given the broader audience expected to attend The Truth About Cannabis, Seaman hopes her presentation will act as an introduction to this crucial aspect of the cannabis industry.

“[The talk will be] at a basic 101 level,” she remarked, “going through the steps as well as the analysis.”

But just because the presentation will have less detail about the cannabis testing process doesn’t mean that it will have less accuracy. On the contrary, Seaman is keen to avoid some of the errors that plague other such talks at cannabis events.

“What concerns me a lot, and what I see at the events that I’ve been to, is [that] someone will be there with a microscope going, ‘Oh, yes, we’re testing your cannabis.’ With a microscope? What are you testing for there? So, you can find mold with that? Can you identify that mold? I don’t think you can, can you?”

“There’s a kind of falseness that I’m seeing at some of these events, and I think we need to put some actual hard science behind the methodology.”

Seaman’s hard science will be joined by presentations from several other leading UK cannabis scientists, including Professor Mike Barnes (Drug Science’s chief medical officer), Professor David Nutt (Drug Science’s founder), and Dr Dani Gordon, a general practitioner and co-founder of the UK Medical Cannabis Clinician’s Society.

“[They] will really be going into the endocannabinoid system itself,” Seaman said, “so they will be talking from the perspective of a patient; I’m going to try and take it back to [the] perspective of a manufacturer, and those standards that are required.”

“Dani’s [talk] is going to be more about the effects of [cannabis] and the myths associated with the use of the products, and maybe even talking about psychosis and the risks of that.”

“So there’ll be really covering those ratios of terpenes to cannabinoids; I’m going to be [talking about] how we know that those ratios are there and how to get an accurate result.”

The Truth About Cannabis will take place virtually on March 23. Those interested in attending can do so for free at this link.


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