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E125 - CannMed24 - These are the People in your Neighbourhood Part 2

 So many amazing Canna-people, so little time. CannMed 24 was sublime! Here are the another batch of clips we got!

Ben Cameransi – Mingowood Pharmacal, LLC - Dr. Benjamin Cameransi, MD, DABA is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist, with a entensive background in pain management. He has started four BioTech Companies. He was involved in the development of Ryanodex™, a treatment for Malignant Hyperthermia. But wait, there’s more… Acidic cannabinoids aren’t very stable when they are extracted and purified. Dr. Camersani’s team at Mingowood Pharmacal has a way to fix that.

Taz Turner - CordovaCann Corp - Taz has the top three attributes we look for in a guest. He knows where Manitoba is located. He’s a finance guy who spoke intelligently during his Capital Markets Panel. He is fun to chat to at a breakfast information session. Taz tells us how it is surprisingly difficult to get investment into the cannabis space in 2024. But, numbers and valuation guys like him (who also speak cannabis) are slowly convincing others that opportunities abound.

Melissa Moore - Professor, Cannabis Horticulture & Biology, SUNY Niagra Community College. Melissa Moore developed some of her horticultural chops in Northern California, but now passes on her knowledge in Buffalo, NY. She was very helpful getting pics of Trevor during his Capital Markets Panel and then she sparked some intense Aspergillus discussions. Professor Moore tells us why cleanliness is next to godliness in your grow room and, hear why Kirk is frothing at the mouth to pick her brain about how to grow plants better.

Episode Transcript

Trevor: Kirk. We're back. 

Kirk: Hey you're back.

Trevor: I'm back.

Kirk: Actually, people. People already know you're back, because this is the second episode we're doing and you've been back. So how's things?

Trevor: I'm enjoying I'm enjoying, you know, plus 12 because, again, I try not to be a whinner, but it was freaking hot in Florida, like, 32 C or about 100 Fahrenheit. And they had us outside a lot. Like, not, we're in tents and stuff, but Holy dina, 100°F, 32 degrees C, 100% humidity. You sweat through your shirt in a big hurry in that?

Kirk: Yes. I understand you were wearing shirts from our Friends of Prairie Supply Co.

Trevor: Yes. Plug for Prairie Supply Co. If you're going to go to a cannabis conference in Florida, get your shirt first at Prairie Supply Co. It dries quickly.

Kirk: And you can shop online and you can find them on our web page. So they support Reefer Medness The Podcast. Hey listen, I asked you question when we were doing some live stuff about, if Florida was a have state or have not state when it came to Rec cannabis, what did you find out?

Trevor: Finally on the last day, well, eating on a beach because, you know, we'll brag about that a little bit. Day. So right now Florida is medical use. Like you can get your medical card and then get cannabis that way, but, adult rec use, meaning you could just walk into a store that sells cannabis and buy it without a medicinal card that is on their ballot for the November 2024 election.

Kirk: So it is a medical state. Did you see medical cannabis stores anywhere?

Trevor: I never. Honestly, I never left the, the complex. But.

Kirk: Looking out the taxi window, looking out the taxi window, you didn't see.

Trevor: I saw, I saw I saw people fishing for catfish off the side of the highway.

Kirk: Okay. And the alligators in the ditch. That's what I remember when I was in Florida. They had damn alligators in the ditches.

Trevor: I did see.

Kirk: Okay, so you

Trevor: Did see a panther crossing sign, which is cool because we are not relatively close, within an hour of where the Florida Panthers hockey team plays and I saw Panther crossing signs. And as of the taping of this, the Florida Panthers are still in their Stanley Cup playoffs. And my room, my son's roommate's uncle is one of the assistant coaches on Florida Panthers. So they're a long, roundabout way to the Florida Panthers.

Kirk: And and you saw lots of people consuming. Not a lot. So you saw a few people consuming medicinal cannabis at the conference.

Trevor: I did. Yes.

Kirk: Yes. Okay. Let's, you're at the conference, you've got your phone, you're saying, hey, talk into my phone, who do we have for this, this, this batch of neighborhood people?

Trevor: Okay, so we're going to start with I'm getting better at his name, Ben is an anesthesiologist. Done lots of interesting work in with anesthetics, but I think this is also, like, his fourth biotech startup. And he his company is so and we've talked about this on other podcast, the acidic form of cannabinoids seem to be having you know, I'm sure they've always been good. But how about we are hearing more about them now. So this is that this is the THCa. This is a CBDa. This is what you get in the plant before you heat it up or, you know, burn it in a joint or whatever. The, the acidic forms of the cannabinoids seem to have some of their own specific medical properties. But the problem in if you're going to formulate them into a pharmaceutical is they're not stable. Once you sort of extract them from the plant, they break down with heat and light and, and, and and so having it being stabilized is, is an issue. And Ben's company is working on that.

Kirk: That it's really cool. We've done, a couple of episodes on this episode 121, episode 46 are both cannabis stories about the acid form of cannabis.

Trevor: Cannabinoids.

Kirk: And I find it fascinating that it seems like the acid form is coming in because, I mean, back in the day when we first started talking about this podcast, one of our early sponsors, was telling me how they have been growing cannabis for decades, back in the day. And, they used a lot of leaf and raw product in their smoothies and stuff, and that was part of their their daily routine was to take some of their shake from their grow-op and eat it raw. So this is not a new thing in the cannabis culture, going to the acid form.

Trevor: No. And one of the many things I can't get to with this is I went to at least one talk where the acidic, if you're doing it as a tea, for example, the acidic form of the cannabinoids are more water soluble, so making a tea or a smoothie out of the cannabis plant actually makes a lot of sense to get the acid form out. Like the THC and CBD, they are what's called lipophilic. They're, think about the little oil droplets. They're not going to mix with the water very well, but the acidic form mixes with water better. So smoothies and teas from the acid part of the plant actually chemically make some kind of sense.

Kirk: That's interesting because you think of a cannabis flower, it's very sticky. It's got the trichomes, the crystals and the sugar leaves, and it's very sticky. So when you're trying to get the chloroform out, you, you stuff it with water. But my understanding is that it doesn't, the water doesn't necessarily take those off the flower.

Trevor: Well, mine too, and I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this at all. But there was definitely one of the speakers was talking about how, cannabis tea was getting a lot of the acidic cannabinoids out, and, and they were using that. Honestly, I, I don't even remember what they were medicinally using it for.

Kirk: I was thinking about bubble hash because you use ice water. Right. So it must be they they must be shaking off. You must be shaking it off with the water. And then yeah, then they get because I guess we should, we should actually go into a story and then come out of it.  Yeah let's go to the story.

Trevor: So honestly,  Ben what we're trying to say is yes the acidic cannabinoids are very interesting.

Kirk: Yes.

Trevor: Let's hear how your company is stabilizing it. Hi, we're at Cannmed24 again. We're going to talk about CBDa stabilization and how it might have a little bit to do with Maalox. Ben, I'll get you introduce yourself.

Ben Cameransi: Hey good afternoon. My name is Ben Cameransi. I'm the managing partner for Mingowood Pharmacal, a company located in South Carolina. I'm also a physician board certified in anesthesiology. I have over 25 years of drug delivery experience, and Mingowood is now my fourth biotech company. We've had a few previous, successes with, product approvals at FDA in the past and have been able to license previous drug programs, and drug products to larger pharma companies.

Trevor: Okay. We're just waiting for the the snack cart to roll by, which is good. It shows where we're recording a live spot. So, what are your products right now? So, CB all the acidic cannabinoids are seem to be having a moment, but one of the problems is they're not particularly stable. And you guys think you're you've got something that might help with that.

Ben Cameransi: That's right. Trevor, we have a drug delivery platform that we've been working on for the past two and a half years that specifically stabilizes the acidic cannabinoids from all the, major cannabinoid products, that are derived from the cannabis plant. We have believed for quite a while now that the acidic cannabinoids are the most biologically active, components of the cannabinoids. And, the reason that a lot of work hasn't been done with the acidic cannabinoids in the past, not just CBDa and THCa and CBGa is the fact that the products are highly unstable once they are purified from their, from the plant material. So we have, developed, a process and, it's being patented not only in the U.S. in Canada and Mexico, but also throughout the EU and some of the Pacific Rim countries that allow us to take purified CBDa and purified THCa, put them through this, delivery system synthesis process that incorporates some of the same ingredients found in Maalox, as you mentioned earlier, that provide, long term stability to the acidic cannabinoids from decarboxylation, oxidation, UV radiation and temperature.

Trevor: That's amazing because, well, for  those of you who haven't thought about this much, when when you take your cannabis bud and you light it, like in the cannabis bud right now is CBDa and THCa, but you light it because you want the Decarboxylated parts if you're using recreationally, but often medicinally we want the acidic ones, but that means they are sort of inherently unstable. So the fact that you can stabilize it should, so are you're kind of hoping this will end up in capsules injections. What what are we. Once it's commercially available where do we think this will go?

Ben Cameransi: So one of the benefits of the process is that the at the end of the synthesis method, we're left with a white fine powder. And that material can be micronized at the nanoscale particle size and can be used in emulsions as a dispersion in water or beverages or, just about anything else, as long as the pH of that material that the that the CBDa or THCa would be suspended in is not at a pH below 5.0.

Trevor: Okay, Ben, this was great. I really appreciate your time and nice to meet you.

Ben Cameransi: Thanks, Trevor. Nice to meet you too.

Kirk: Now that we've heard the story, this is what I was going to say just before is that they get it into a powder. So I'm wondering if that is, is that they've somehow well, this is obviously the patent, but they've taken the action of getting the acid forms off and then evaporate the water. I guess I don't know. Did you did he talk to you off camera about using water and stuff?

Trevor: Well, this was the this was the maalox thing. Now, obviously he didn't get into, you know, their trade secrets or frankly, necessarily would I understand it, but it was a similar process that they use for making maalox. It's what they're sort of doing to stabilize the acid forms. And like you saying they can get it, get it into a really fine powder. So nano means really fine. And whether you put that into like a capsule or like he's so words that we use in pharmacy that, you know, everybody else might not. Emulsions and dispersions. Those are when we have not dissolved stuff. Now liquid, so think drink but drink where we have some particles in it. So those, you know, capsules, emulsions, dispersions are all sort of a possibility with, with this, this really pure form of CBDa that's been stabilized.

Kirk: Well, and it's like your buddy in episode 121, the fellow with the with the nephew that's going into basketball, he's doing the sort of same thing with, with the acid forms.

Trevor: Well, he's actually on a completely, so that is, Akeem Gardner was I was also speaking at this, his, they're extracting a whole bunch of different. And we actually did a preview just before CannMed because he knew he was speaking at this, they're looking at things called canflavons, which are another thing in the cannabis plant.  And using that for and not just the canflavons, but that's sort of one of the other phytochemicals in, in the cannabis plant that, that Canurta and Akeen Gardener are looking at for treating things neuromuscular stuff like, ALS.

Kirk: Yeah, yeah. Anyways, it's interesting, I find this whole there seems to be a big push on, on the acid form, the raw form of cannabis in research. And it's, it's cool that you brought that story.

Trevor: So to segway into not a lot of people in Florida know where Manitoba is. You know may not be a surprise. Doris is found one on the beach because, you know, people just come up to Doris because she's very friendly looking. So one so a guy from New Mexico ended up talking to us about the Winnipeg Jets because he is a Colorado Avalanche fan. So he tried not too much to gloat about the fact that the Avs knocked Winnipeg out of the the playoffs. So, you know, a couple people know where Manitoba is. But one of the people I found to knew where  Manitoba is, is Taz Turner. And that's because he he has a company that actually sells cannabis in Manitoba, Starbuds.

Kirk: Yeah, that's an interesting name. I have not been to one of his stores. They have three in Winnipeg.

Trevor: Three in Winnipeg. So, you know, next time in Winnipeg, we're going to have to go say we know Taz. Please put up our poster.

Kirk: Well, I'm going to be going across Canada, back to the coast. So I'll be dropping off posters as I go. But I segue away from Taz. He he's basically it's another sort of short story about investing in the commercial marketplace.

Trevor: So Trevor at Cannmed24. Today I have Taz Turner. I'll get Taz to introduce himself and talk a bit why he's one of the few people here who knows where Manitoba is.

Taz Turner: Thanks, Trevor. I'm Taz Turner. I'm the CEO of CordovaCann  we own a chain of retail stores? Cannabis dispensaries across Canada? Mostly in Ontario, in Manitoba. And then we have some US assets as well, in Oregon and Washington. We have our cannabis retail dispensaries are under the Star Bud's brand. And we do have three stores in Winnipeg. Operating under the Star Bud's brand. And we're enjoying some good success there.

Trevor: So I understand you kind of started cannabis, dipped your toe into cannabis in Canada. Decided that wasn't for you. Went to the US. That didn't work out. And back to Canada, something like that. How did that go?

Taz Turner: Yeah, no, it's been a convoluted process, a roller coaster of sorts. We started the company seven years ago. When we started it, we said that we were only going to be a manufacturer of unique formulated products in the cannabis market. And because that was such a costly endeavor, we pivoted in 2020 and bought the Star Buds International assets in Canada. And so we moved into the Canadian market at that point. After we bought those assets, we opened a number of stores, including the stores in Manitoba. And, that's really the largest source of our, our income now, for the company, of CordovaCann.

Trevor: Its always interesting story how the cannabis companies came to be. So yesterday you were on a panel at the cannabis capital markets panels. And one of the things you got your panels touching on is basically how hard it is to get capital or money into a cannabis company. Just want to give listeners, just a quick peek onto what you guys were talking about.

Taz Turner: Sure. So it's obviously been very difficult. We do believe that the market is turning. Even for Canadian players, partly because of the potential rescheduling of cannabis in the U.S.. My thought process on all of this has been we're always looking for the incremental investor in cannabis. And, you know, over the last 3 to 4 years, the number of cannabis investors has shrunk quite a bit. And there hasn't been really any, retail or institutional investors to pick up that slack. And so I think for the first time, really in the last three, four weeks, we started to see that turn. My hope is we're at the trough here. From a capital raising standpoint, I don't think it's going to get easy quickly. But I do think that you're starting to see for, institutional type investors that are coming back and asking questions, looking at the valuations, in the market in both Canada and the US that have real interest in learning more about the marketing, getting into it. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be overnight. But I do think that we're hopefully on the start of an upswing, mostly driven by the what's going on in the U.S. market.

Trevor: Taz is an investor. You know, he on his panel, he talked about basically all his investment slash analysis cred. Like he, you know, he knows how to evaluate a company and that kind of thing. But his panel was interesting because it's not easy right now. If you have a cannabis company to convince people to invest in it. You know, one of the the stories and I remember it last year when we were at CannMed. So, a Israeli researcher, Didi Mirae, he was talking about, you know, a Canadian cannabis company just came up to his lab and said, here's $5 million. Go do something with it. So he said like what? Well, we don't care. You know, basically 2018 legalization, there was just money, a flow on to go to everything. All the it's it said cannabis people were throwing money at it. It's not that way now. Now Taz is thinking that that is slowly turning around. But yeah, they had a whole panel on the fact it's not been easy the past couple of years to convince people with money to put it into cannabis companies.

Kirk: It's it's, it's a very, very, very unpredictable, very unpredictable.

Trevor: It is. And, you know, you don't. And everyone wants to get rich quick, but, you know, you're not going to get rich quick in a cannabis company. So you have to have an investor who.

Kirk: Some did back in 2016, 2017, 2018, those guys did.

Trevor: Some of them did and some of them didn't. So, you know, but it it was very interesting to and Taz was also I think a good someone who, you know, came from the investment but is is actually now getting quite knowledgeable in cannabis. So he, he knows how to sort talk about the cannabis market to other investors. So having people in the finance world, pro cannabis and know something about it very useful to have.

Kirk: So the next one is, is we've been looking for horticulturalist forever. And I'm thinking this is just another tease because we should be having her as a whole episode. You met a horticulturalist.

Trevor: I did and so segway back to when I was talking on the panel. I just needed some pictures taken of me, so, you know, I could prove I was up there on the panel. And so I talked to this nice person who agreed to take my picture, and after she took a picture and texted them to me. So what do you do? I'm a horticulturist. Oh, does Kirk ever want to talk to you. So this very nice person turned into. Turned out to be Melissa Moore. So she, sort of started her cannabis journey in California. And now past five ish years, I think has been teaching horticulture in, Buffalo, New York. So should we listen to a little bit from Melissa?

Kirk: Yeah. Let's listen let's listen to her.

Melissa Moore Hi. Yes, my name is Melissa Moore. I live in Buffalo, New York. I work for SUNY Niagara. I am the coordinator for the horticulture department there. And I have created and teach six cannabis courses there. We have a pretty robust program, that bleeds into our culinary program as well. My background comes from Northern California. I was out there in Mendocino County for around 15 years cultivating, organic farming as well with traditional crops. And that's where I got a lot of my background with cannabis. As far as my degrees, I have a bachelor's in organismal biology and a master's in sustainable engineering. And, I been teaching for about five years. Program program's been going on. We got a large grant from New York State that's helping, create a consortium and build workforce development throughout our surrounding counties. So that's been really fantastic.

Trevor: What are some of the courses you teach? If we if we showed up your institute. What what what might you be teaching?

Melissa Moore Yeah. So we have cannabis production, biology of cannabis, medical applications of cannabis. We do a history society and compliance course. It starts way back in 10,000 BC. And then we're it's up to modern times. We go over federal regulation and state regulation. We dive in pretty deep on the state regulation.

Trevor: And in several provinces of Canada you can grow your own. So if we have someone who thinks they might want to start sort of growing cannabis at at homes or for a home grower, got any? I know there's lots of things you could say, but got any home tip and tricks for a first timer.

Melissa Moore Tips and tricks for a first timer. Think big. Start small. Hey, you really get your small skills down first. Don't think or try to go too large with your operation. Like, really? Start with just 1 or 2 plants and, start to just understand the plant you know, it's different cycles through veg and flowering, the change of nutrients from veg to flower. And just understanding, your environmental factors and how the plant responds and interacts with that before really getting into breeding or you know, trying to get like the best THC potency out of it and stuff like that.

Trevor: And then lastly, sort of on the other end, in large scale grows, they have problems with pests and things growing that shouldn't be. And I know you were talking a little bit about Aspergillus. I guarantee most people don't know Aspergillus is one to sort of tell us what it is and why it's a problem.

Melissa Moore Yeah. Aspergillus, it's a yeast mold. And it will what its issue is its biggest issue. It's all around us, you know, especially, we handle it just fine. Healthy people, immunocompromised people have issue with it. And it's really it's, it's metabolites that can really hurt us. It's mycotoxins. So that's what its issue is. It's poop actually, but this kind of answers the last question that you asked. And sanitation. Right. That's really the most important thing, ventilation, through our drying process and sanitation, keeping our garden clean and our drying room clean as well.

Kirk: I love, I love. I love her analogy. Think big, go small.  If you're growing. Yeah, yeah, because all of us.

Trevor: That could be a button.

Kirk: Yeah. All of us in our garden are always thinking about, you know, the Greencraft garden that you could be growing instead of the two, four, five plants you're growing. I thought that was very interesting. I, I am, and the other tips on growing, you know, it's just I would really like to get her on as an entire episode.

Trevor: So that's sort of our our first little tease of what happened at CannMed24.

Kirk: Well hold on. do you want to talk about Melissa she talked about a little bit about mold. Can you go on more about the mold?

Trevor: I am not a mold expert by any stretch. But Aspergillus is like she said, a yeast slash mold. Again, I didn't go to any of the cultivation seminars because they are often going at the same time is stuff like endometriosis, but it's definitely a thing that happens, especially in bigger.

Kirk: Yeah.

Trevor: Operations. In in what I was talking, I made a pitch for irradiating cannabis.

Kirk: Yeah Yeah.

Trevor: Which does get rid of mold. Let's say that was a little bit of a controversial statement. Some people were okay with it. I had what grower, said that. I'm glad you mentioned that. But if I told people working for me that I was going to bringing the equipment to irradiate the cannabis, I'm pretty sure they would all quit. So there's there's definitely.

Kirk: Oh, buddy

Trevor: There are definitely people who are and I if I'm understanding it right, I think it is just completely off the table if you if you're in Europe. I think there's been at least parts of Europe that said, no damn way can you radiate the cannabis, get rid of the mold. But there is other cool things like apparently you can release, sort of good bacteria that will eat the bad mold, the Aspergillus. So and then that there was ozone. So again, talking about stuff way above my pay grade, but, there's companies that will use ozone to kill your Aspergillus and then someone else. You can't do that, that'll, you know, destroy the percentage of THC in the plant. Anyway, you want to get a group of horticulturalists excited, apparently, mentioned Aspergillus and and let them go.

Kirk: Well, I tell you, you know, it's having a garden. You just you just don't want anything to happen at it, you know, you keep it, you keep it isolated from the other plants in the house. And, you know, you take a shower, like if you got gnats upstairs or, or, or any sort of small animals on your plants upstairs, you can't bring it downstairs and tell you, I would like to talk that horticulturalists. It's, the garden, the garden growing.

Trevor: But remember Melissa quick take home was cleanliness. Yes. You know the answer to Aspergillus. The first first line of defense. Keeping everything clean. 

Kirk: everything clean, but that's everything. When you're trimming your apple trees, you're supposed to clean your clippers with, you know, everything's got to be clean. Yep. Got to treat plants. You got to treat plants like they're individuals. Which I heard I don't know if you heard the interview. There is, CBC radio was interviewing, a scientist who basically says that plants are individuals and plants actually are aware of their surroundings, which is another episode. But did you hear that interview?

Trevor: I did not, but, yeah, people have been saying stuff like that on and off since they put like lie detectors on plants in the 60s, and we're pretty sure they had feelings. And I'm not coming down one side or the other, but. Yeah.

Kirk: Talk to your plants.

Trevor: Interesting.

Kirk: Talk to your plants.

Trevor: Talk to your plants.

Kirk: So I am Kirk Nyquist. I am the registered nurse, and we are Reefer Medness - The Podcast found that

Trevor: And I'm Trevor Shewfelt, I am  the pharmacist. And these were two episodes of people we met at CannMed24. Thanks to all the organizers there. It was a fantastic conference, learned lots, met lots of great people. So I don't know if we've got anything else to say.

Kirk: Well, I, I'd like to keep on with the yacht rock theme of the, Still Young band and play another Neil Young song. How about Midnight on the Bay?

Trevor: That is just about perfect.

Kirk: Yeah, I figured you must have spent a little bit of time midnight on the bay with you and your ocean girl.

Trevor: Yeah. Doris and I actually got went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a big, warm, salty bathtub. I'm not sure. Outside a bathtub or hot tub. I have been in a body of water that warm, so. Yeah. No, that was that was fun.

Kirk: Cool. All right. Man. So, Reefer Medness The Podcast. Come back in sometime.

Trevor: Yeah.

Kirk: Sometimes.

Trevor: Its good we're having Fun. You should have fun and learn with us.

Kirk: Yeah, exactly. All right. See you later.