The Cannabis Conversation | Medical Cannabis | CBD | Hemp

EPISODE #6 CBD - what is it and what can it do? With Dr Chris Cordier and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech

April 02, 2019 Anuj Desai Episode 6
The Cannabis Conversation | Medical Cannabis | CBD | Hemp
EPISODE #6 CBD - what is it and what can it do? With Dr Chris Cordier and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech
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The Cannabis Conversation | Medical Cannabis | CBD | Hemp
EPISODE #6 CBD - what is it and what can it do? With Dr Chris Cordier and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech
Apr 02, 2019 Episode 6
Anuj Desai

In this episode I speak to Dr Chris Cordier and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech - a leading UK medical cannabis company. We discuss what CBD is and why everyone is getting so excited about it, as well as some advice on what to look out when buying CBD. 

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I speak to Dr Chris Cordier and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech - a leading UK medical cannabis company. We discuss what CBD is and why everyone is getting so excited about it, as well as some advice on what to look out when buying CBD. 

Anuj :

Okay. So today we have on the show Dr Chris Cordier, and Mike Parker from Grow Biotech, which is a medical cannabis company based in London. Chris's role is as a research chemist having previously been a research fellow at several top universities across the world, including Cambridge and Imperial. And Mike is Head of Business Development for Grow Biotech. CBD is everywhere and being hailed as a miracle cure for anything and everything. But what is the real truth? Chris and Mike are here to help us understand that from a scientific as well as commercial perspective. Guys, welcome. So let's get so stuck in straight away. Chris this is probably more aimed at you, but what is CBD and how does it work on the body?

Chris:

Okay, so CBD stands for Cannabidiol and within cannabis there are three main classes of compounds that have some pharmacological effects. There are flavanoids, And as you might guess, they're somewhat associated with flavour. Terpenes, which we normally attribute some of the aroma of cannabis and cannabinoids. And those are often what we somewhat loosely call the active components, whereas perhaps they are really a little bit active. So CBD is a similar structure to THC it has a slightly different molecular shape and when considering small molecules and how they interact with the body, shape and structure often dictates function. So for example, THC is more psychoactive component whereas CBD is still psychoactive and if you look at the definition of that really just means it affects the mind. Whereas CBD is non-psychotrophic. Meaning it doesn't get you high, it doesn't have the inebriating effect of THC.

Anuj :

Okay, that's great. And so you pointed out how CBD Is Different From THC. What are the kind of known different effects it has on the body?

Chris:

Okay. So if we start from a high level, um, just start talking about the safety profile I suppose. So first thing to know about CBD is it does have quite a broad and good safety profile, meaning that relatively low toxicity. So overall it's quite a good starting point from developing new medicines. That said, there are still some side effects. So one CBD based medicine that has been FDA approved from GW Pharmaceuticals for the treatment, of, two rare forms of epilepsy, which we don't have current medicines that can provide some patient relief for that, is called Epidiolex and has some side effects mainly associated with sleep disorders. So that could be a sleepiness and fatigue as well as insomnia or trouble sleeping, uh, and the others is digestive problems generally so either diarrhea or some appetite alterations. Uh, but even in most cases we're talking about quite large quantity of CBD, or very continued use of CBD for long periods of time. So generally speaking, it's far safer than the majority of pharmaceutical drugs that do affect the mind.

Anuj :

Fantastic. Okay, great. So that one, that's a pretty good rundown and thankfully not overly scientific cause I'm not great in the area. What Have you seen some of the claims are being made about it and how reliable are they really at this current stage?

Chris:

So in order to somewhat, address that, I am going to go into slightly more science. So, uh, when the cannabinoids were first identified in terms of that molecular structures, we immediately tried to look into how their effects are derived from the body. And often really that means that on the surface of most cells we have some kind of receptor and compounds will be outside of the cell, can bind to that receptor and impact how the inside of the cell functions. And in using that kind of process, we've found that certain receptors are where THC and other cannabinoids bind, and obviously we label them as cannabinoid receptors, but actually they have endogenous - meaning natural compounds within our body - that normally interact with that and simply the cannabinoids are hijacking that system and then altering it from an exogenous source. Now what we do is that cannabinoids generally, and even CBD specifically, has more than just its effect on these numb cannabinoid receptors. Theres a Whole Alphabeti spaghetti of acronyms according to different types of receptors- 5HT receptors and a whole variety of others that cannabinoids do affect. What I would say is there's so many effects of CBD in the body in terms of wide ranging cellular targets. For what, so we can kind of divide what is known into small, perhaps not completely verified studies and a bit more concrete works. For example, we definitely know that CBD can be effective in the treatment of some epilepsy drugs such as the FDA approved drug. We also know that it can be effective in the treatment of anxiety and pain - have some sort of anti-inflammatory effects. Now, in both cases we kind of have some evidence in human studies or even clinical trials. And what I mean by clinical trial is process by which pharmaceutical drugs go to market. So they determine that it works in some kind of cellular assay. Meaning we would just give the compound to a cell, observe what happens. And then the next stage from that would be maybe to try it in some kind of animal or maybe a Human. And if you can do it on a large quantity of humans and tests its effects, then you can derive, one its safety, two its efficacy. It's ability to have the desired effect. So, uh, anxiety, inflammation and pain and some forms of epilepsy. We have quite concrete evidence to say CBD can be effective but given there's a whole variety of receptors that we do know affects and even the receptors that we know it's interacting with, but we don't even know what the receptor does, which means that there's a lot of, somewhat anecdotal evidence. So just to list of a few. There's some cellular based assays. Or small animal studies that suggest CBD can be effective in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, depression and even cancer. So, but, but, and I really should temper that with is that if you have a range of cancer cells and you in a petri dish or something, you, you add some CBD to it. If the cancer cells stop growing, and that's kind of how we define them. Cancer cells as constantly growing cells. They stopped growing, but it has some anti-cancer effect. That's a long way from saying that it can cure cancer or any specific cancer in a human body. And even that, even if we could say that there's multiple different cancers that have arisen from multiple different molecular mechanisms and therefore there's no one drug that's going to cure everything should that would go a long way to go. But I think is why a good starting point, even if it's somewhat anecdotal and not immediately proven.

Anuj :

I mean it's good to lay out what are the kind of strong areas and what are the less strong areas where there's more work to do. There's more work to do in general I suppose on the medicinal side. One thing that you've briefly touched upon, or at least an area that I'd been interested in was around this idea of the entourage effect. So what we're talking about CBD here in isolation presumably - is there is some body of material to suggest that actually CBD may work more effectively when combined with other cannabinoids i.e other active compounds within cannabis including THC?

Chris:

That's right. So that's if we just talk about it from a conceptual point of view to begin with and then we can dig into the Molecular Science. So how this comes about is if you take the cannabis plant and you extract CBD, at the end of that you have a pure compound. Not a million miles away from, if you take paracetamol tomorrow, something like that. That's majority one active ingredient with some other components in there, that don't have a biological effect. If you do the same thing for CBD, then you can get someone that CBD and it could have some, some effect. Or if you take the crude extract and what that means is contains a variety of the other cannabinoids, perhaps also some terpenes and you administer that to a patient. That effect can be different from a CBD alone. And in some cases a patient may suffer, no relief when given CBD alone but do have relief from their symptoms when given a crude extract. And so one way to think about this is, so the entourage effect is really nice term for it really does kind of comes down to the expression called Pharmacosynergy. Really that just means any pharmaceuticals that have synergy with one another, meaning that the sum is greater than the components. And so it can be a variety of instances of how this works. One way to think about it is think about each cannabinoid, each active component in the cannabis plant kind of been a key on a keyboard and if you strike one particular note, or if you strike multiple notes at the same time when you arrived at it's a cord. And that's kind of a good way to think about how multiple components can give a different effect than 1 component alone. So its obviously more complex than that. And if you think about it, more perhaps like a graphic equalizer where you could increase the quantities of each component as opposed to just being a binary on or off. And of course it's getting more complicated with that as well. A variety of targets that we don't actually know what they do in the body. So, um, as a few examples of where there's, there's some validation fest. So you talked about maybe cannabinoids and terpenes having a synergistic effect, and there's some evidence that suggests that. So one of the key bits of evidence pointed to that is to save it. Maybe terpenes affects some of the permeability of the blood brain barrier and what Macy's is a barrier around the brain, which you've already, which restricts the access of some compounds into the brain. And if a terpene is going to affect the entry of compounds and for blade and that will affect the overall effect we all observed, two is increasing the delivery of feeling. Exactly. Yeah. So there's a variety of other mechanisms where you can, where you can have two different compounds interacting at two different sites in your body, or it could be interacting at the same site that maybe attenuating the effect of each other. Or it could be as, as you rightly pointed out, a delivery aspect. So maybe one compound enhances the delivery of our content, or one component may be slows down the exit that compound as your body degrades with compounds and tries to excrete it. APPS, some of the other components in the cannabis extracts can attenuate that. Um, that metabolism of that truck, the love, the use of a musical metaphors that I think you've highlighted where, where there's good research and where there's probably more needed. Mike, maybe this is a good chance for you to kind of get involved as well. What are the kind of products that are company being sold in the marketplace at the moment? Because in boots and Holland and Barrett and everyone seems to be stocking something to do with CBD.

Mike :

No, there's a variety of what we call delivery methods for post semester as a form foam products you get a full range of things just yet. We'll industry, you've got vapes, oils, changes, which all droplets normally go into the time you have a soft gel capsules for the slow release perhaps if you're doing it for a sustained release

Chris:

and then you have just carrying on supplements and then topical creams. There's a whole range of beauty and health products and I've seen in high street retailers using CBD as, as a, as a component is a bit of a deep and open ended question. Some methods and delivery more reliable than others in terms of,

Mike :

well it's about I guess efficacy, maybe the rates of absorption into the body. So if your delivery method, and that's going to be a lot quicker in the my soft gel capsule, which you'd want for sustained release Niacin for example, if you suffer from chronic pain or any kind of condition that would keep you awake at night, this would be a slower release rather than getting a heads from a vape, which wouldn't be pretty quick to Jordan bloodstream. It's up to however you administering it to yourself.

Chris:

Two and topical creams as you like that or they say been shown to be effective for, for whatever they're trying to treat.

Mike :

Uh, some people I've spoken to other people set of Joey's Apps, so it's I guess on case by case basis and that's as an individual as each person would be, you know, sports injuries, sweating information direct to the joint or whatever it is that you'll tracing would be, I imagine the first step. Yeah,

Chris:

they're kind of the state of research and, and where we are. Um, I've certainly read a couple of articles or maybe they're trying to sort of chip away at this and cbds reputation, but I think one of them was saying that from a scientific perspective, the minimum effective dose is, seemed to be around 150 or 200 milligrams of CBD. Whereas the, the dose that you would get from a kind of high street, a supplement that you buy is considerably less without, you know, without doubt. A lot of people swear by it. So is there a gap in between where the researchers and what people are affecting IEP scientist doesn't exactly know yet? Or is there a placebo effect or, you know, that's a good question. So I'd say that there's clearly a gap in terms of what was definitively that are just coming back to the safety aspects of their CBD because it is relatively safe. I think that, uh, that does open the RP avenue for simply patient trialing and see how it effects. So in terms of the dosing, if, uh, it, it really kinda depends on what you're trying to. So a minimum effective dose for a sleep disorder might be quite different. Minimum effective dose for some treatment of disorders of the mind. So I think the, when you hit things like that, I think it's, I don't want to poop of it. I think it, I agree with that. There's a lot that still is not known, but I think it really depends on what you're trying to treat and how you're judging the men. Subjective at the the minimum effective dose. So if you are talking about let's say the treatment of anxiety, well by definition you're talking about a subjective experience. So if you start to introduce the placebo effect and obviously we can claim a placebo effect, it's a paradox, but you can't necessarily improve. I think so. I think the gruesome, some strong evidence to say both the treatment of some disorders of placebo effects with CBDS is not really something we have to consider too much. I guess it's not, but it's Unli Asian persico effective was a genuine science behind it. I feed, I mean you hold on a really good point in there as well. That isn't always more is better or more effective. It really is dependent on why you're taking it and what more of the reasons behind it. So yeah, I mean I've certainly, you know, I know plenty of people who swear by it in the same way that you did Mike. So there's clearly something there and again, you probably need to just do some research on why exactly you want to take it and for what reasons. So moving on, everyone seems to be having CBD marketed to them in some way or another. And what would be your advice in sort of helping people in how they choose?

Mike :

Due Diligence is always a good start for buying anything. So if you're going to buy toothpaste, you know you're going to buy from a trusted brands, you're not going to buy an unknown before. Always look for verifying trusted products with a declared source. Not just made somewhere or physical location. You'd want to have it backed up with lab reports, everything to have. If you can get hold of it as a certificate of analysis on all of the actual contents, quantities and ratios of the CBD content or manufacturing days and batch number and you will say for stuff that you don't want to imbibe or have in your body. Yeah, that's things such as Corn Syrup, Trans Fats, GMS, artificial additives, sending Asians preservatives and you want to make sure that it's verified that it's free of contaminants such as mould, bacteria, pesticides, any Solvent residues. One thing that people don't know is that cannabis is bio accumulates it, so they will be stuff that said custodians, the prompts from whichever ground was growing in not we're chasing his dream, hydroponic dealer aquaponically but heavy metals and stuff like that which are generally good for the buddy and you also want to look at what extraction methods they've been using. Co Two extractions is good and then food grade ethanol is this also good? Kind of want to stay away from the saying, prepping hundred columns. He kept that kind of stuff. It's just of homework. If someone is telling you something's too good to be true and then your mind thinks arts are probably is that makes sense. CVD is being used by a lot of people for a lot of different things. So I guess take things with a pinch of salt and trusts, but also their farm is the general theme of thinking as you would any, any periphery wounds helps people

Chris:

make that choice. Cool. Okay. So in terms of the CBD market such as it is, what are the kind of exciting market trends that are happening in relation to it? Or were there any kind of interest in commercial areas that are cropping up around?

Mike :

Well, I think for a stock, just like the mainstream adoption, others in the market and how it's being de stigmatized in a pretty rapid process and the fact that it is treating the side of the course being sent to be treating so many different conditions. You know, especially with things like chronic pain, epilepsy, anxiety, a sports injury, as Chris alluded to, things that affect the mines, which is Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ms, Huntington's, et cetera. And then saw it was pretty exciting from, from a natural organism. And that's on a women, a bit of chemistry essentially. It can be used to tweak, et Cetera, uh, challenge more mainstream pharmaceuticals. I mean that's, that's, that's, that's very exciting part of it. But in terms of what's an unusual applications that we've come across, we've seen, uh, gene pet foods or CVD to release anxiety and small animals. I mean, that's kind of understandable if it's same delivery message to us talking about people are not putting him to foodstuffs, such as infused chocolate bars, baby schools, et cetera. I'm using that is that, it's kind of interesting, but I guess as a company ourselves, whatever's going to come out of the research with it as the exciting part for us.

Chris:

Right. Yeah. Interesting. So you kind of made me laugh a bit, but you're right, it doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of coming Pittstown. So, I guess one of the reasons I was very interested in putting out cost was obviously the subject matter, but it will say from a personal perspective how we come to work in cannabis because obviously it's been taboo the whole time I've been alive as probably not in the natural thing that you tell your parents. But how did you guys sort of come to be working in this area? Well, uh, I've been, I don't get a chemist or my life the, they probably still my I life and uh, so, so it's been about 11 years of them getting fairly fairly mainstream organic chemistry. And what I mean by that is you just developing new techniques and might ways of synthesizing new molecules that could be of interest to the pharmaceutical industry of material science and so on. And at the same time, I, uh, I have my own research group man, period. Um, I had, uh, I have family members in the west coast of the US and I went to visit some of them and I saw how the cannabis space was changing bear. And I felt like I could really make a difference. I think as an organic chemist, one of the, the way we're trained is to think about how to design new ways of making molecules or how molecules react and understand them as well as how many Internet with audit from a biological perspective. And I think I wanted to try to find a new problem. And I think it was partly my, my visit to, to be us, to see some family members and partly my reading of the book by Michelle Alexander, the new Jim Crow. And it talks about the war on drugs and in particular mass incarceration in the US. And I found this really fascinating and in particular the number of people that are locked at the nonviolent drug offenses. And principally really we're talking about them. A lot of those cases about cannabis and obviously the laws are biased in terms of racial disparities, disparities in terms of arrests and incarceration rates. And I felt that as a chemist, there's some areas, but I could, uh, input in terms of the science. And it's something that it's not so straightforward to do within academia, or at least you can't be kind of a dynamic to a new emerging industry. And you know, when I'm very old and maybe I'll have some grandkids one day, I'll be able to tell them about it. Yeah. I uh, I moved from the status quo when I moved to do something while it was still illegal as great, a very brave move as well. He gets, it might have

Mike :

originally I come from Zimbabwe. Last year they became just the second government in Africa to legalize the production of cannabis for ways to bring the country back into the international arena and get her, get a new industry going. So that's perfect ground conditions forward. Whilst I was over in London looking for, looking for kind of network of investors and [inaudible], I first came across a networking events every month. We'll first Wednesdays and I was introduced by my colleague, Dr. Refreshing. We works with Chris. And through that, through that networking event, I meant I meant other people. And during that same time as well as involving government suspended licensing. They have real ended against this. But I thought in the meantime, instead of trying to push a rock up a hill, etc. I room pursue a career within the, within the industry in London. And that kind of made me to, uh, to grow biotech through another colleague Tom Gray. And eventually I met with the hairy and CEO of Ben and one thing led to another, and I'm sitting here today with you.

Chris:

Fantastic. I've been asking most people in this question, but, so what is your parents say when you told them you have a job in cannabis?

Mike :

Almost? I think they had the same kind of reservations as any parent was also the fact that two retired consultant radiologists, I think they still pretty quickly

Chris:

okay.

Mike :

By the potential of with this and the fact that you can actually form a legitimate Korea. I think the, it wasn't actually as hard as I built it out in my mind to convince my parents that it wasn't just an that kind of choice. But I think my dad is even sending me clippings of newspaper every day while I'm at work about various happenings in the world, which is, which is, which is great.

Chris:

You tend to say we'll pay the sales pitch is not one of my research. Well there wasn't really much convincing to do. I tell my mom and she's not a super science literate and from her perspective it just seemed, I'm just using my chemistry understanding to solve a different problem. Say it wasn't really much of a challenge. It was slightly more of an interesting conversations within within academia. So I made a decision about a year and a half ago. I think I want to perceive this industry and I spoke to a variety of my colleagues in academia and uh, it was interesting. I think I'd save as kind of an age divide and pretty much everyone I spoke with about 40 or 45 years around that they kind of understood, oh yeah, obviously this is the future and this is cleared away. A lot of things are going. I think there's a lot of that area pretty, he's pretty supportive about the idea. Maybe we still had some interest in me staying in academia because they innovate. They have a, have a preference. But on the other side of that, there was, um, there was some academics I spoke with maybe a little bit older, maybe a little bit in the hole. I don't see close minded, but perhaps I'm a little bit unaware of the changes in the science as well as the public issues. And they were a lot more confused about why would you, why would you do such a thing? But I think, I think they'd be younger people kind of understand the queue to get to hear the, uh, the kind of professional side of the debate. Okay. Great. Well, thank you guys. It's been really illuminating and, uh, it's a very relevant topic at the moment amongst the hundreds of other topics within the cannabis family. Uh, so thank you for helping us with that today.