michelle sexton

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U.S.: Marijuana Lab Test Results Controversy Discussed

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The latest episode in a series of ongoing podcast interviews offered by Ganjapreneur, a cannabis business website and online resource, explores the cannabis testing world with Dr. Michelle Sexton, founder of Phytalab.

Dr. Sexton is a naturopathic doctor, an editor and advisor on the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Monograph, and was a consultant in the development of Washington's recreational cannabis market.

With legalization continuing to spread, regulators are beginning to take a serious look at cannabis science and the ways it can benefit the distribution of safe, quality products. One of the more common regulatory demands — that all products be tested for potency, contaminants and other criteria by a state-certified laboratory — is a uniquely difficult scientific process in today's world. In fact, many dispensary owners and other cannabis retailers have complained that when submitting samples from the same plant to different testing facilities, they frequently receive varying results.

During the interview, Dr. Sexton establishes that "there's a difference between certification and proficiency. That's the bottom line." Essentially, the people setting the regulations for cannabis testing aren't actually scientists, and there is a disconnect between the way things have wound up and the way things should have been done.

Washington: Cannabis Testing Lab Founder Dr. Michelle Sexton Interviewed

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As marijuana legalization has spread to new states and regions, the regulatory framework of the industry has struggled to adapt. How to ensure product safety via scientific testing has been a popular debate, and some legal markets have mandated testing for cannabis producers and retailers.

Ganjapreneur, a cannabis industry publication focused on business news and culture, recently published an interview with Dr. Michelle Sexton of PhytaLab about her take on cannabis testing regulations.

Dr. Sexton founded PhytaLab in 2010, and she has also served as a consultant to the Washington State Liquor Control Board on the implementation of I-502, the state’s bill which led to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and she is also an avid surfer and rock climber.

In the interview, Sexton explains how the lack of federal recognition of legal cannabis markets has made scientific research very difficult. "Due to the federal status, crowd-sourced science has virtually replaced clinical research, being 'loosely' conducted without the usual controls or theoretical frameworks," Dr. Sexton said.

Washington: Marijuana Potency Testing Accuracy Challenged

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The rules of Washington state's recreational marijuana legalization law, I-502, require a sample tested from every lot of marijuana. But how useful is that testing?

The program is having some success detecting substances like yeast, mold and bacteria, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times. About one out of every 10 batches of marijuana fails and can't be sold in recreational pot shops, according to Washington State Liquor Control Board data.

Potency testing, meanwhile -- which measures levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component, shows Washington weed is widely variable. Recreational marijuana averages about 16 percent THC in the state, but about 2.5 percent of samples test above 28 percent.

Laboratory directors from the state's 12 licensed pot-testing facilities said they are forming working groups to lobby the Liquor Control Board for more oversight of lab methods.

"Part of it is to invite more regulation," said Brad Douglass, scientific director at the Werc Shop, one of the 12 labs licensd by the state.

Randy Simmons, with the Liquor Control Board, claimed that the system is off to a good start. "The majority of what's out there on packages is correct," he said.

"The lab side is emerging," Simmons said. "As it matures, I think all those things that have been missed ... or things we find out we should be looking for, will all be changed."

U.S.: Experts Discuss New Cannabis Monograph On Google Hangout At 5:30 pm PT Thursday

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Scientific data, standards put to rest the notion that medical marijuana is a dangerous drug with no medical value

Patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is hosting a Google Hangout Thursday at 5:30pm PT (8:30 pm ET) with a panel of leading medical and scientific experts to discuss by video the new cannabis monograph from the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), an authoritative compendium of scientific data, including long-awaited standards for the plant's identity, purity, quality, and botanical properties.

What: Google Hangout video discussion with experts on the significance of the recently released Cannabis monograph, followed by a Q&A
When: Today, Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 5:30pm PT (8:30pm ET)
Where: Go to http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_live to join the Google Hangout, which is open to the public.
Featuring: Several authors of the cannabis monograph, including American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Executive Director Roy Upton, RH, DAyu; University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Lyle Craker, PhD; and cannabis researchers Dr. Michelle Sexton, ND, and Dr. Jahan Marcu, PhD.

U.S.: Experts Issue Standards on Cannabis, Restore Classification as a Botanical Medicine

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American Herbal Pharmacopoeia monograph lays scientific foundation for quality assurance and expanded research

The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), in a historic move, on Wednesday released the first installation of a two-part Cannabis monograph that classifies cannabis (marijuana) as a botanical medicine, alongside many other widely accepted complementary and alternative medicines.

Written and reviewed by the world's leading experts, the cannabis monograph brings together an authoritative compendium of scientific data, including long-awaited standards for the plant's identity, purity, quality, and botanical properties. The monograph provides a foundation for health care professionals to integrate cannabis therapy into their practices on the basis of a full scientific understanding of the plant, its constituent components, and its biologic effects.

"The inclusion of cannabis in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia returns the plant to its place alongside as a proven botanical medicine, which has been used for centuries by countries and cultures around the world," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which helped support the development of the cannabis monograph.

"Health care professionals, researchers and regulators now have the tools to develop effective public health programs for medical marijuana and to further explore its therapeutic benefits," Sherer said.

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