Making cannabis more accessible for research allows scientists to find new uses for cannabis and potentially expand cannabis-derived pharmaceutical products as well. Drugs like Marinol and Epidiolex are FDA-approved and cannabis- or synthetic cannabis-derived. Detwiler said that is more reason to move cannabis out of the Schedule I category, currently shared with drugs like heroin and ecstasy. Drug scheduling is determined by a drug’s acceptable medical use and the potential for the drug’s abuse or dependency.
Current pharmaceutical products don’t make use of every cannabinoid; there are hundreds of different cannabinoids that all interact with one another to create different effects. Additionally, there are a myriad of ways to ingest cannabis, from inhalation to topical to oral.
“There’s format, there’s dosage, and there’s types of cannabinoids. So to say that just because we have synthetic marijuana that solves everybody’s issue…that’s a very limited understanding of how pharmaceuticals and human biology functions,” Detwiler said.
For Detwiler, the power of cannabis is clear, and it’s a worthy investment both personally and for the advancement of society.
“If we find new ways to treat ailments in different ways which are better, less addictive, or just more effective, I feel better like I’ve hopefully done something positive for humankind,” Detwiler said. “From a scientific perspective, if there are scientists or aspiring academics that want to research cannabis, and suddenly in a year or two, they’re getting product from Clever Leaves, maybe even financial assistance from us — I feel great [about that].”