Data Driven Medical Cannabis - Mara Gordon
Mara Gordon is a cannabis advocate, entrepreneur, and researcher. She has harnessed her background as a process engineer to create therapeutic dosing regimens for thousands of patients around the world, drastically improving their health, quality of life and longevity. Mara openly shares her knowledge about the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant – whether consulting with medical teams, through TEDx Talks or calling out hyperbole in the industry she cares so deeply about.
Mara rose to prominence through the company she co-founded, Aunt Zelda’s. Back in 2011, Aunt Zelda’s operated as a collective, bringing bespoke cannabis formulations to patients. As additional regulations were introduced in California, Mara standardized her most popular therapeutic oil blends, making them commercially available to patients through the respected Aunt Zelda’s brand.
With science as her North Star, Mara has pursued data-driven, plant-based medicine for numerous maladies. Seeking to engage a larger medical and patient community as well as to place the practice of medicine back into the hands of qualified medical practitioners, Mara launched Calla Spring Wellness, a telemedicine platform and clinical service utilized by physicians and nurses to guide them on incorporating cannabinoid-based medicines into their standard treatment plans. Calla Spring Wellnessis fueled by her careful data collection through Aunt Zelda’s, along with years of research and development in consultation with knowledgeable physicians and world-renowned researchers.
Unlike other pharmaceutical drugs with recommended dosage protocols, formal clinical research on cannabis has been unavailable in the U.S. because of its classification as a Schedule I drug, resulting in more anecdotal than factual information. Unwilling to be stymied by federal laws, Mara co-founded Zelda Therapeutics in Australia. The company brings together some of the world’s leading researchers and clinicians active in the study and use of medicinal cannabis to treat a variety of ailments. Presently, Zelda is engaged in pre-clinical research for multiple forms of cancer and diabetes-related cognitive decline, as well as clinical trials for autism, chronic pain and insomnia.
As interest in cannabis spreads, Mara continues to be an outspoken leader in the medical cannabis space. She has appeared on stage in front of audiences nationally and internationally and was featured in the films The Medicine in Marijuana, Mary Janes: Women of Weed, and the award-winning documentary Weed the People.
I caught up with Mara recently to talk about her vision for a data driven, global, medical cannabis industry that could potentially fill the void that currently exists between pharmaceutical cannabinoid products like Epidiolex and the recreational cannabis market that is gaining momentum at the federal level.
Transcription services provided by a generous donation by Jeanne Nasarow of Bee Haven Hill Farms in Mendocino, California.
Levi: Hey, what's up? It has been a while, how have you been?
Mara: Thank God. It's good, you know, it's still a little hotter here than I like. But I had to move houses your recording now, but I assume this is going to be edited out.
Levi: Yeah. Yeah, this is not live.
Mara: Yeah. Okay, so I had to move houses because of the hurricane, right? So that was stressful.
Levi: I bet. Yeah, I've never been through a hurricane of you. It was your first hurricane first.
Mara: First hurricane. Hopefully my last hurricane.
Levi: Yeah, let's hope so.
Mara: I mean, what was I trying to get settled here better? Okay, what was really stressful was the like, of course, it was at night, you know, it was bad during the day, but it got worse at night. And then about 11:15 something like that. All of a sudden, it was just regular rain. Little bit of wind because we were the eye of the hurricane, right. And then about 2:15 in the morning and start up again, you know over a hundred miles an hour and as such you hear all this thing going on outside, but you can't go outside and look right.
Levi: You know, scary. Yeah. It's like a horse. Yeah.
Mara: It is pretty scary. I mean, it could have been so much worse. I mean it was a hurricane level 2. I don't know. Level grade. Whatever they call it. And I mean they have ones that are for. I can't even imagine. I mean, my husband went outside because we had these humongous iron gates and they're solid. So they'll do airflow through their solid and one of them just took off and was very loud and banging. Plus it made it very dangerous, you know, so he made it look like a weapon with like by the spikes on.
Levi: You know, right exactly.
Mara: So I made him go out there to try to close it and he was barely able to even walk. I mean it was like hunched over like in a ball to try to even get there to pull it back. I mean, it's just yeah.
Levi: Wow, so you've been through a lot if the pandemic wasn't enough. Let's throw in some natural disasters and I just, I, exactly knock on wood, but I say think like we all know earthquakes are going to hit. It's Southern California or at some point, right? It's long overdue. Oh God, don't even think about it. Let's talk about Canal. Builders.
Mara: I love your shirt.
Levi: Oh, thank you. I'll put this on just for you. Well, I got this at a thrift store in Palm Desert, but it's an authentic, you know, Hawaii Aloha shirt.
Mara: Isn't that cannabis all over it?
Levi: Well, that's why I got it. But no I think it's like bamboo or something.
Levi: Yeah. I'm not going to take the tag, you know, it's probably Eddie Bauer or something stupid.
Mara: Yeah, there's a plant that grows here. Wild that I mean every time I see them like what and then it does. It looks just like a cannabis cannabis leaf, obviously, there's colas or anything. Yeah, it looks so much like a cannabis plant, but it's not.
Levi: I think I know the one you're talking about, like, the leaves are kind of kind of feel. Like, I've seen it recently, like on Instagram. Somebody was like, tricking people to be like this.
Mara: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Next time. I say it, I'll take a picture and send it to you. Please do.
Levi: So. Anyway, it's been pretty crazy crazy times and we wanted to do this podcast for a while.
Mara: So what was your impetus to do a podcast?
Levi: I mean I kind of wanted to explore some of these topics myself, you know, I'm curious. I think number one. Just want to kind of be a journalist and Try to put some good information out there from good sources on important topics, you know, like Delta 8 and THC-O-Acetate, and you know, that stuff's like going off, like wildfire. So I've been trying to touch that and I'm just kind of general, you know. Basic kind of cannabis one-on-one terpene, 101 stuff for people. And I'm just trying to kind of build, you know, a catalog after a year or two. I can look back and go ahead. I got a nice kind of foundation of material on cannabinoids and terpenoids and all these interviews with various people and kind of, it's almost like, I'm kind of looking at, you know, obviously, I'm kind of just starting with, like, my network and would try to build from that. So, thank you for coming on, appreciate your helping me. Realize my dream here, but, you know, I just want to build on it and it's really, I think very industry focused right now. Like I had some of my friends that are not in the Cannabis space, like listen to it and they're like, dudes way. It's like, this is very much for people in your industry and it's kind of what it's for, but it's also cool. They're curious about cannabis and want to know what's going on here in California and nationally and you know, what industry, you know, insiders like us are talking about and just kind of documenting our Nations. And having it be kind this time capsule of this transition from You know, medical to recreational from what we've gone through in California, from prop, 215, to prop 64, and all that. And just kind of just, hopefully capture some good content that will be meaningful to somebody, you know, or hopefully a group of people, you know, super smart right now, and I'm not, I'm not like, you know, Trying to promote it to become some huge thing. But I think if I build it over time and that's quality. I'll have something. You know, I want to look back in a year and go. Hey, all right, you know, I really, you know, I was low ambitious trying to do one a week. That's two, it's everyone's schedules, you know, and you're not the only one. I mean everyone had a lot going on for people. So if I can get one or two a month, I'd be great, you know, and get quality interviews on a good topic. So, yeah, this is just kind of. This is just really kind of for me and Ian. Joy doing this kind of stuff. I always wanted to go into broadcast journalism. That's what I initially went to college for. So I have, you know, I was like yeah, I didn't last long because journalism is tough. I took one journalism course and I was like, yes, I'm listening to Sociology is like working more of my alley. But anyway, yeah, I just think that there’s . . .
Levi: Yeah, nice. Yeah, I’m a sociologist. I mean I think it's helped me a lot. There were more interesting people definitely want more pot smokers in the sociology Department then in the journalism department, but it but anyway, yeah, you know, it's cool to hold that people like you on that, you know, kind of know what you're talking about because as you know, there's a crazy amount of misinformation and disinformation out there, especially on the internet and you know, I'm not, hmm. I tried to, like, anytime I have people on it. You know, I don't want to see anybody's an expert because nobody's really an expert on this plant, you know, and you know, that as well as anybody into the plant. Yeah. Yeah, but I think it's important to talk about why I wanted to have you on as talk about Delta, a and Delta 10, and the so acetate. And just I wanted your perspective on these cannabinoids and, you know, I have my opinions on them, and I've had other guests talk about them. And You know, I think there's obviously regulatory reasons for this, and it's the federal prohibition. That is really driving. This type of Black Market Innovation to produce these cannabinoids to try to get people high or at least tell people they're going to get it delta-9 like effect from another cannabinoids are greater than Delta nine like effect legally over the counter. So to speak through them, the u.s. Farm bill, so I just think that's fascinating. It kind of scares me too, because it could, it could be the reason why moderates and conservatives say, hey, we can't legalize cannabis federally and I'm definitely worried about that. And so I know you are too. And so I want to talk to you about all that stuff, but we can dive into it whenever you want. I mean, I just wanted to. This is like super informal and Casual, you know, had spaces is a long format podcast. So 40 minutes, probably for them, the meat is good, but whatever flows is great. And I know, I know you and I can probably get into law this stuff and I've been talking about these cannabinoids already on the podcast. So people do kind of have been listening to kind of have a foundation of at least what I've talked about. I've talked about how people are converting CBD. I slid into Delta 8, and, and ultimately into the acetate, which is what I've gotten the most attention on from people. And a lot of push back, you know, people are like really. You know, if you start to question, you know, there are safety concerns around this. Yeah, you know, some of my lab created, you know, cannabinoids. And if you start to even talk about that, there's a lot of people who have a knee-jerk reaction to that. So I want to push back against that. That's my role as a journalist is to give people some real truth and let people sort it out and ignore all the noise, you know, I don't read my YouTube comments anymore because it's a hornet's nest.
Mara: I I stopped reading mine, a long, long time, every once in a while. Somebody will have an opinion about something I said or did. And in fact, the other day on Twitter. My Twitter account is my Twitter account. I put on there, whatever the heck I want. I've had it long before longer than I had cannabis in my world. Yeah, and this guy II said something about why I am called an expat? When Mexicans moved to the u.s. They're called immigrants. I'm an immigrant. What the hell's an expat. You know, that's just Americans or expats. Know. I'm an immigrant to Mexico and he's like, he wrote that. He was. What's the difference? Just shut up and talk about cannabis. And I was like, wow, you know.
Levi: Like Lebron James shut up and dribble.
Mara: Yeah, you know, it was like shutting up and saying like they did when they came out against the Iraq War. I was like, well, in fact, I tweeted back as like normally I would ignore it completely, but I was just like, I was like, whoa, you know, you must be really an unhappy person that had to bother to even do this and write this to me.
Levi: I know. Yeah, there are a lot of them. You know, I get the two things that I try not to do are the two things that when I do them to make me the most depressed about Humanity are driving and LA traffic or Southern California traffic in general, in Reading YouTube, comment threads and any role social media Common Thread. Just tanks me into a morbid depression because the worst type of people come out, you know, the trolls, you know.
Mara: These people it's like the people who are really busy and have a life don't have time to be commenting on you too, you know, yep.
Levi: And these days it's kind of, you know, if you open your mouth and say anything you're inviting criticism and I say bring it on, people bring it on. We're ready for it.
Mara: Yeah. I wish I could say that, you know, I mean, granted I've been giving schedule one drugs to newborn babies for a long time. So I have a lot of things to be criticized over.
Levi: I think you have pretty thick skin, you know, there's always we all have our little button, that's why I stay off of the YouTube threads because it will if you get into it with people, it's just not worth it. But there's a lot of confusion out there.
Mara: I didn't even know the last time. I haven't worked in a long time, but I know it has over 400,000 views. Yeah, so you can imagine there's a lot of comments.
Mara: And I made the mistake at the beginning of reading them and even trying to answer some of them and then I was like, wait a minute. Now they're using, this is their opportunity to be relevant and telling me to shut up and telling me that I'm just some old, you know, / trying to get rich and I was like, oh my God, you guys, people really need to get a life and I just, you know, I send them blessings and like I hope that at some point in your life, your life has enough. Meaning that you don't have to do this.
Levi: That's when you know, it's working though, I mean if you're getting attention to have people write something. Even if it's negative about you.
Mara: Yes. Yeah. I think I was married. It was somebody a long long long time ago. That said, if you're not pissing anyone off, obviously, I'm ad-libbing. But if you have piss anyone off, you don't stand for anything, right? So, you know, I've always stood for something, that's for sure, because I've always been a certain have.
Levi: Yes, you think you've been here. You've been a strong, add activist for the plant and you know, kind of a guy. Invoice. I think for the industry especially early on not the you're not anymore, but I think, you know, early on your voice, you know, and I just got to know you this year, through our friend, Brian has had on the show and I didn't know anything. I haven't watched your Netflix movie. I hadn't seen your Ted Talk. I hadn't hadn't. I didn't know anything, and I kind of like, I preferred not to know everyone's background, to meet people where they're at and to talk about what we love, which is this plant and how it can heal people and how it's I think, healed and restored. And helped us through life, you know, and I know you and I know you deal with a lot of chronic pain and I'm, you know, I'm a few little bit behind you but it's catching up, you know, and I feel that I've been rough on my body, you know, it was surfing and sports and you know, broken necks and spinal surgeries. And now you know about that in Canada. Cannabis has been my Saving Grace. It's really been such a wonderful non-toxic therapeutic. Act that's kept me off of opiates and synthetic painkillers. I don't take any of that stuff ever. It's wonderful. I don't have to, and I understand some people need to, but I think it can really really help people. You know, my father. I don't tell many people, but my dad, you know, was basically addicted to painkillers and alcohol and any, that's really what led to his demise. And so, you know, I think the opioid crisis kind of came too late. The awareness of that came too late for him, but I hope that, you know, it Can help save other people, and I think cannabis has been around. I know that he was always trying to get it, but you'd have to, like, I remember now, looking back. I was like, oh, my dad was buying pot when he was meeting that, like, Native American, dude, behind the Circle K and coming back with some tin foil, you know, it seemed like the scary thing and then he goes to the pharmacy and picks up, you know, a bunch of, you know, narcotics, you know, and with, you know, in pill form. And so in just, you know, I think about that a lot. And I really think that we're doing God's work, you know, not like the divine. Anything. But I think this is God's work, you know.
Mara: Yeah, you know the tragedy of that and I have it in my own family, my oldest sister. And I mean she knows I talked about her a lot. She's 68 years old. She's been sober for four years. It's great. Because when she was 12, she had chronic bronchitis and they they were giving her codeine soft, you know, and and then just kept and then that became a drug problem and, you know, proceeded through the whole opioid nightmare for her and alcohol for her whole development, developing an adult years until I mean, she was in her 60s. She was older than me when she got sober and I'm 62 and the idea of just starting my life now and blowing me away the other sister died of cancer. My sister, by the way, that's alive, that's sober. She's finishing up chemotherapy. Now from breast cancer, my other sister died of cancer. When it came time for us to set up a protocol and everything. She was going to have to reduce her opioids because of the internet, the interaction between the cytochrome p450 and the cannabinoids was making the opioids too strong. Wrong. And she opted to not do the Cannabis to not have to stop the opioids. Right? Because she was so addicted and I watched her literally drown to death from radiation. Pneumonitis from burning her lungs. They didn't have enough. They couldn't give her enough steroids or enough oxygen to keep going. And I kept like, well, if we give more CBD, we can, you know, incorporate increase the anti-inflammatory, yada yada yada. But it would have made less opioids. So, you know, would she still be alive? Probably not her? Her quality of life has been better. Maybe a little longer. I would say likely.
Levi: Yeah, and that's important.
Mara: Of course, even myself, you know, from where I was on opioids. I've never been thanked. God had the mental Obsession. I had a physical addiction, but I never had the Mental addiction. As a result. I never took more. I never wanted more. I never did none of that but I'm still getting off of them. Course. I was on a fentanyl patch and other ones but getting off of these drugs. It was really one of the most excruciating experiences of my life, the months that it took to get off of one after another methadone and all these drugs to get off of them and in the damage that it did. I mean, I felt like I had the flu for probably I think I counted 19 months. Post, getting off methadone. It's like it gets into all your cells now, even with the awareness of that and even with the ability to get cannabis. Now instead of opioids in other drugs for other maladies where it's appropriate, that's fantastic. It's still so discriminatory though, because it's not covered by health insurance. So I've had people that have said I would love to use cannabis, but my insurance company won't pay for it and I don't have the extra money. So that's why I'm on these other drugs. So until we do, you know, something to get it covered by insurance. It's really extremely elitist medicine and I really feel like you know, where I've put my, you know, I've been an RD person for, you know, 11 plus years now in this space, but I feel like we're I have put my focus has all been on making it a be a mainstream medicine prescribed by your physician and fulfilled by a quasi Pharmacy. Not by a budtender telling you that their favorite pre-roll is and in having it be legitimized and then the, the insurance companies will pick it up the governmental, pick it up, you know, it'll it'll be much more beneficial for
Levi: patients. It's just to be clear you're saying and I think rightly. So I agree that cannabis is an elitist medication because it's so expensive!
Mara: One hundred percent, especially in the legal market.
Levi: Right! And that's because really of the prohibition, I mean if manufacturers could go direct to Consumer, they could sell it, you know, half or less, you know, the price directly to the consumer, but all the regulations dry. The price up artificially really because they don't want it to compete. Pharmaceuticals and you're right, the pharmaceutical companies and the government, in my opinion, want to make sure that they can control them, you know, physical Management, Mental management, pain management, anxiety. All the things that drugs are here to help us cope with. And they want to make sure they control that pipeline from beginning to end and cannabis is a viable competitor. And so they're trying to figure out how to navigate implementing, you know exactly what you're talking about, which is a real thing. Go up to Industry is probably right one, a pharmaceutical cannabis industry and then you know, the Cannabis industry that will exist, you know for people that want to buy flour and pre-rolls and tinctures and other
Mara: products. You know, there's the I've always described it with my vision being one where you have, you know, think about us a traditional Pharmacy where Have like the candy and the junk food and the stuff at the front of the store and that you go to the over-the-counter stuff where yourself treating and then behind the counter with the pharmacist. Yes. That same thing exists. The Cannabis. You have your gummy bears. You're very very low dose, you know, fun flowers, whatever. Then you have your OTC for somebody who, you know, very low dose, you know, products and I know that just a matter of the higher. Hello, you take more but you don't want to have it in one package so much that somebody is going to have potential harm. And then you have the one that's Guided by somebody with some medical education and I don't want cannabis as a pharmaceutical. I wanted a biopharmaceutical, but I don't want to. I don't want there to be a confusion between cannabis use for medical purposes and cannabis use for self-directed and I consider Wellness over to adults. Use together. I put Wellness with that and the space that I live in, is the space where your doctor is good is guiding you with what you're using and how you're using it in the feedback loop goes to your physician. You know, not your Facebook group or whatever nonsense.
Levi: The problem of course, is the doctors and nurses aren't taught about the endocannabinoid system or about cannabis Therapeutics and medical school, as far as I know, are a brush but there's that's changing, right? So that's what needs to change is really part of it.
Mara: That's part of it, you know, back not to do a history lesson here. But back when prohibition and the Tax Act was first passed.
Levi: In 1937.
Mara: They've specifically used the word marijuana instead of cannabis because Physicians were prescribing cannabis quite a bit and pharmacists. They had all these compounding pharmacists that we're making these tinctures and whatnot. And they never would have agreed to have. It has become illegal. They would have had a great, a bit of a been more outspoken. Okay about it, but they kind of tricked them with this, you know, marijuana instead of cannabis, right. Which is really, you know, tip pretty typical. But you know, I'm very hopeful for the future. I think that there's momentum going on around the world. I mean, for example, I gave a lecture the other day to a group of people in West Africa. I'm doing a lecture tomorrow morning in Ukraine. And I mean places that you would never even imagine, cannabis would be part of the conversation are coming more on board. And there's a momentum that's there that we're going to have enough, you know, forward motion that at some point, the government's are going to have to either catch up or get out of the way.
Levi: That's pretty much what's happened in the US, the federal government, you know, going to drag its feet and seems like every single step of the way. Dale one step forward, two steps back, it seems like. And it's really the, you know, the people from the Cannabis space that are pushing it Forward. They're demanding that, you know, and it's been a long, long fight. I mean, let's see. The War on Drugs was declared what 1972, the kind of really reshaped and scheduled cannabis. And hemp as a schedule, 1 controlled narcotic meaning. It has no therapeutic value and a high addiction rate. So which was weird or both? Course, untrue for cannabis and put it through hemp into that as well. What's essentially made Industrial Hemp like hemp that's grown for a rope and fiber, also illegal to cultivate in the United States that changed in 2018 passing of the u.s. Farm bill. Your expertise in extraction is really valuable here because I do a different process. I do an old-school ancient infusion process that just takes the Bud, and I'm not, I'm not extracting. I'm not using ethanol or CO2. I'm infusing.
Mara: I'm infused too.
Levi: Right, everyone should Infuse, infusion is wonderful, but there's like a much more, you know complex. I love the simplicity of the infusion and people can do it at home. But there's a much more complex chemistry to extraction and then taking each of these components and reducing them down to isolates and then converting these isolates with various means that are Nicely over my head, but that's what is happening for my understanding, the u.s. Farm bill allowed, the cultivation of hemp in the u.s., It also allowed the manufacture of him, derived cannabinoids like CBD in products as long as those products and the hemp it came from had less than 0.3 percent THC, which is how the US government defines cannabis and him. Don't ask me why, I just wrote a blog post on it and I know less about it now than when I started the blog post, so
Mara: It's very arbitrary. Yeah, it was a couple of scientists. I believe in Canada, right? But it actually came up with it and now they regret it so much because it has sense, based in
Levi: nothing, right? I read that it seemed, it seemed like an Iraq war moment or something, or they're pulling out some like high school paper, you know, to be like, well, here's somebody somewhere that said this
Mara: about the role, but it's based on nothing. And so now that you've opened the door to that. That discussion I have always and I don't like hyperbole but I'll say I have always been against CBD manufacturing processing from him. Hmm. I have been against it from day one. I'm just as against it now and the reason is, it needs to be regulated specifically. Now, the only thing that the regulations Are looking at is that it is below the threshold of THC is all they care about and maybe if it has, you know, residual of some high solvent or something. It is just not the way and the purpose of the farm bill from the you know, the good of all would be because Industrial Hemp has so many amazing benefits. It can do so many things to help our environment. To help, you know, I mean packaging I mean on and on at the list is endless but instead they jumped in this and started genetics and cultivating hemp. That would have the highest yields of CBD and not necessarily the cultivars that are best for industrial processing. So they didn't even stay true to that. Right. The only reason that I see that Delta 8 has become this big deal is because there's such an abundance of the CBD that comes from hemp that has no market because most of its crap, right?
Mara: So they're looking for, what can I do with this worthless powder that I've created to make some more money. Oh, Delta H. Yeah. We'll put this poison in there and will Create this other product and we'll push it out. There is a legal high. No, it's not. It's THC. Delta 8 is just as THC. So it is not, it is not legal under the farm. Bill, you know, you take something and you convert it into something else. You can no longer claim that it's this because now it's this. And that's the case with Delta 8. And I've, I mean, the patience that we've been providing medicine. For guidance to our doctors for all these years. They're still buying their CBD through licensed cannabis operators. They're not, they're coming to us and saying we want CBD that we know is full spectrum. Can I mean the real definition of full spectrum and not the marketing term of full spectrum that really does have the profile of the plan. It hasn't been frankensteined and then put back together from a bunch of different isolates and fake terpenes. So, I would like to see that industry just fall on its face personally, right?
Levi: Yeah, basically what you're describing is, you know, we've kind of through legislation Farmers have been forced to kind of create this third type of cannabis, that would not exist in nature, which is a CB, a high CBD, low THC, hemp hemp cultivar. I wouldn't, I mean, I might exist in nature but I'm probably not right. And if cannabis were legal, no one would be growing hemp of any varietal for cannabinoid extraction. It just wouldn't make sense.
Mara: Now, they would be going for industrial and they would go into the packaging industry or the biofuel industry or you name it. I mean, there's so many different buildings.
Levi: Yeah, and I do have to say, and this is not just because I'm a hemp manufacturer, but there, A really good farmer out there. They're the ones that were getting out of him from Oregon. Our cannabis Farmers have converted to help because Oregon grew too much cannabis. You can't export it, and they're growing at rigorous standards and lab testing and doing a good job. But I agree with you in principle that the regulations and the legislation is creating these artificial boundaries that shouldn't exist. You know if we were just able to cultivate Activate and manufacture the best cannabinoid based products that we wanted. We'd be growing, you know, THC and CBD, Rich cultivars. Extracting it out and doing and making whole plant medicine. Instead, We're turning our kind of navigating this weird gray area. Right? And it's really frustrating as a manufacturer. And I manufacturer has, you know, cannabis products to and I know you have four years with and Zelda's and yeah, you, we won't have course, you know, CBD I slit has Value. Sure, I mean I could see it coming into play for someone coming down from a psychotic episode or if they've had too much THC, for example, and they want, they want something actually bringing them down. But that's one area where maybe I could see that. But for 99% of issues, you want a whole plant product and that means having everything that was in the plant, you know you point out the terpenes, you're not adding them back in and a lot of people don't know about the nitty-gritty. Sharing details but people are adding terpenes are found in all plants including cannabis not in all plants, but pretty much. And the Citrus industry is one of the main producers of Botanical terpenes, like lima knee and people add them into formulas, especially Vape formulas and it's in the hemp space. You know that maybe that's fine you no. No, I'm okay with things being pineapple, strawberry flavored, if it's safe and if it's natural and if it's been tested and it's regulated like yours. I'm not in right now. The hemp space is finding this gray area. Where what I hear you saying is that there's consumer safety and really a patient, you know, out of a confusion issue. I play where people that are looking for medicine are going to get duped into thinking that what they're buying over-the-counter from a vape shop. That's labeled, you know, Delta THC tincture or vape pen or whatever and they read somewhere heard somewhere that, you know, this is going to be really good for their migraine headache or whatever it is and Then it's completely unregulated, in the vape pen, has some cutting agent or is high in pesticides. It's going to trigger a migraine, you know, who knows because nobody tested it. Nobody cares. And unfortunately, there's a lot of bad operators and that's why we need regulation as you just have you know, in any industry are going to have good operators that are going to do the right thing. No matter what and you're going to have bad, operators are going to try to twist, twist it and tweak it. Anyway, They can, you're always going to have that, which is why regulation is so important and why even though California One is a regular trade space has not been perfect. And it's been rolled out like I made the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Looks like a coordinated effort. I mean, this has been really sloppy, and they didn't take a lot of Industry feedback, but I'm still glad it happened. And I'm going to keep fighting with it to make it better. Because I think people deserve to have this product in this medicine, available to them. It's safe. It's lab tested. It's consistent right?
Mara: There's a lot of things in the way that regulation was rolled out. That I'm very much against, you know, however, the existence of Regulation, I'm not, I'm a huge, huge, proponent of Regulation. But I also think that they have seen, they mean, the state government has seen cannabis is a cash cow and what they've ended up doing is they've added all these layers. That each one has its own taxation. And fees at it. And by doing that, what they've really done is push. Everybody back over or the majority back over into the Underground Market because they've made it just too difficult to comply. And we have a bunch of really badly made products. Now they are being white labeled by a few operators to wear. Everything on the Shelf is the same. No and all mediocre. I mean, I reached out to somebody the other day because I was looking for some GDP flower. And I said, you know, I need to. I said I do ethanol extraction, very old school. I only take things out. I don't put anything in. I remove waxes. I remove chlorophyll but I don't add anything back into the oil and he says, oh, I've got plenty of THC distillate for you. And I've got GDP terps. But what does that have to do with anything that I'm talking about? I mean, you know, and the reality is when you, and I know where I'm going to go down a rabbit hole here, but when you heat cannabis, that's been extracted, and you decarboxylate it, you in other words, you activate by, removing the carboxyl, molecule the acid molecule, that's on there to activate THC. At the same time, the terpenes are going to naturally assume other levels based upon how they were processed. The temperature, what I see, so often with a lot of these frankensteined products that are out there. The majority of the products don't add the right level of terpenes back.
Levi: They add too much right?
Mara: Way too much because you need to look at what the level of terpenes are in the flower. Right? But then you need to look at what the level of terpenes are in a finished product and they're very, very low a little bit. Goes a very long way in there and they're, you know, these are the kind of things that people have headaches from. And the cough. And when you look at these vaporizers, if you see a cloud of smoke, that's bad. That's the opposite of vaporization. That's burning. And that's often the terpenes that are actually creating all that smoke.
Levi: Yeah, interesting. Yeah, and yeah the obviously the the EVALI syndrome that you know, some people say got blown out of proportion, but you know, I I really think there's this rush to just like rap, cannabis up into the standard consumer packaged Goods, you know, like just Dad distillate, just add isolate, turn it into bubblegum, you know, mouthwash dental floss, you know, and and there are Innovative people in the space doing that stuff and doing a correct and while and then there's this law, that white label culture and cannabis is just, it's just a raw material. There's and I'm sorry, but I feel like this is a Sacred Space. Capitalism cannot just march in here, and completely destroy everything that cannabis is represented. And I think, I think we're going to see kind of the re-emergence of that Spirit, you know, through the people and the energy and the industry. We've been beaten down over the last four years, but I think we're going to bounce back because ultimately, we are the ones that know how to make these products. Were the ones that know how to sell these products. We're the people that have been In a longer than anybody. Reminds me of the Canadian government. When they first rolled out their medical marijuana program or a long ago that was, you know, they basically band cultivation for all the small Growers and they and the country. It was like, no we're going to do it. We have where the experts were going to grow cannabis. And as you know, they completely flop completely failed because you may be growing good cannabis isn't rocket science, but it's also not that easy, you know, not on go out and try to, you know, scale up a good tomato. Garden. I mean, that's all, you know, farming is difficult and especially growing a smokable, an adjustable, you know, medicinal herb under the right conditions, that really maximizes its full potential. And you get that high, terpene content to really give the medicine the punch. It needs it because it's not complete. Phytochemistry that makes these whole plant products special, right? It's not just taking THC and adding in it with limonene and me racing. Maybe that works. We don't know, maybe that works. Certain things. We don't know.
Mara: It doesn't though, at least I don't think it works.
Levi: I'm trying to be open-minded about it.
Mara: I'm gonna back you up a little bit because something said, one of the reasons that when I first started working with cannabis, I wasn't always the most popular person in the room. I mean, there's a lot of reasons to know me is to have an opinion about me. But to one of the reasons is because people would talk about the sacred plant and the magic of cannabis and all and I would say no, it's just Three, it's just chemistry and it's miraculous that there is a plant out there that can do so much right if you believe, you know, I mean it's amazing is probably a better word that there is a plan that contains so many different compounds and so many different variances and can be manipulated in such a way to create various, and that can be processed to create so many different things. That is astounding. Ending on the other hand. It's all completely explainable Through Chemistry. Sure, Sure. And as a result. It's something that we should be able to do over and over again. It's repeatable. It can be consistent with it. We can have certain varieties that are grown for certain purposes. All that kind of thing. Yeah. No, I did over the last years. I've watched it in the pharmacy. Let's go back to my model, the pharmacy and I've watched more and more shelf space being taken up by products that are junk, you know, used to be, you would go to a pharmacy and you had All these rows of supplements vitamins now, half those supplements are coming in gummy bear format. That is not how you take your medicine. I don't have, I don't think medicine has to taste like candy. What is wrong with our culture that medicine has to be candidate medicine? Doesn't necessarily taste good. It's not the purpose of it. It's not a social event to take your medicine. It's not part of your daily caloric intake, you know. - should be your medicine, and I really feel very strongly about that. I mean, THC, being extracted, on its own, we've had that as a legal pharmaceutical for years. We have drawn a banal, not a popular product. It's not, what's that used for Marinol? It's for the side. Always. Yeah, that's yeah, that's a side effect of chemotherapy.
Levi: Like anti-nausea, right?
Mara: Exactly. They are antiemetic. But it's not very good. Most people don't like it. It's better than other drugs.
Levi: It's a synthetic version of THC?
Mara: Yeah, but once again, a molecule is a molecule. So when you isolate THC down to where it's a hundred percent THC, you're really no different on a molecular level, than looking at a synthetic. The molecules are molecules and I'm not a chemist, but I spent enough time hanging out with them. And learning from them that I want people. They are, they are very fun. Now, as far as the mixture of them, we've published back in 2018. I hate you know, old but it was still an extremely important paper that we published on the Entourage effect. Looking at the three major subtypes of breast cancers, taking a full plan to extract. That was one that we had made, you know, ethanol extract of a high THC. See, but it wasn't particularly high. It was just a normal, you know, 60% sort of product and we compared it to the single molecule they see. To see which one did a better job of killing cells, cancer cells, and we did this in Petri dishes. We did this in mice. So we went through also, now, Metro and in Vivo studies, we then took after we got the results and there was no question that the full plant was like hands down more effective. We then took the top five. Terpenes that were found in the whole plant extract and mix it in with this them in, with the single molecule, in the same ratio that they were in the medicine to see if they, then worked, as well as the full plant, and they didn't work any better than the single molecule. All psychological and it's awful. It's all flavor preferences that people think at least in that study.
Levi: And that's one study. But I mean, I'm on the whole plant for sure. I think, at the very least, until we have evidence to suggest. Otherwise, we should absolutely be using the whole plant. I don't see any reason not to and it does really at that point. It comes down to flavor and marketing, right? I mean, I get pushed back on my tinctures because the whole plan tinctures taste like the whole plant, you know, it's not mask like medicine wear with anything in an ethanol extract. Something that you know, if you're using a distillate a refined, you know, something that looks clear that's had all the terpenes removed, probably been colored remediated and remediate, you know, had probably 15 different solvents thrown at it by the end of the process. Yeah, you can get a flavorless tasting product and you can add your Eno. Cotton candy flavor. But yeah, I agree with you. It's not medicine. There's, you know, I'm, you know, and I are all our talk. I've enjoyed it so much. Really the last got over the last year or more, and I think it's important to recognize like everybody's in different spaces. I've kind of taken that. I am a believer in medicine and always will be, but I've also got to be a business person, you know, first right now, which means not like we just released a gummy, you know, like gummies. These gummies sell and it's a worm on the hook to bring people into my, my tinctures, and my topicals, in the things that I really believe can really change their life and you know, and hey, the gummies are nice. They're tasty and, you know, I enjoy a little sugar every once in a while, but I'm totally with you that if you're prescribing medicine for people and if you know, if you put into the dr. Drew, you know, patient portal the products. Those people who are consuming should be medicine, pure and simple. You know, maybe you had a little bit of natural flavoring or something. If it becomes an issue, they do that and over the, you know, drugs all the time, but you keep it basically really in harmony with what's best for this condition. And I feel like we're like light years away from that. I feel anecdotal. We have so much good info on what cannabinoids are good for, but the research is so far behind because of the federal restrictions against studying cannabis. Is that still the case? What? You're probably more current on that than I am. Where are we at in terms of? Being able to really study this plan.
Mara: Well, there's a lot of places in the world where that study is going on. I don't think that that's a really viable excuse anymore. I feel like it's been an excuse for a long time. I don't really think it's the most studied plant on the planet. Hmm. Nothing has ever been studied more than cannabis. The thing is how has it been studied? There's a conference in Boston that I spoke at a What time's the international cannabinoid base pharmaceutical conference and it's all the big pharmaceutical companies and as they all present on what they're studying, and I just shake my head because they're all looking to minimum to, you know, to distill down to the single molecule and looking for the method of, you know, mechanism of action and the pathway to treat X because that's what they do as Pharmaceuticals. Well. That's not the way the endocannabinoids system works. So you're never going to be just it's just not going to work. It's just not going to work. You're going to fail. So, you know, I want to jump on something you said before if I may for a second about it. I mean, it's fine to have gummies. I'm not against gummies as long as they aren't being treated as medicine. Sure, Right. Right. Well and you know, the whole idea of the cpg, It just irks the crap out of me because I remember, I was it. I was at Meadow Lands a couple years right before the year before the pandemic started. And this woman came up to me and she was all excited to tell me about the fact that her company was coming out with a new SKU every month. That was the goal to have a new SKU every month. And she was going on and on and on and how, you know, how much work that was and how excited, and we're going to come out with all these different cpg, different, skus, every month. And then I thought about the world that I live in, on the medical side. You need one skill, great. That's it. I mean you could have 10 but you need one and that's all you ever need. If you do it well because patients want to buy that same skew every single time they need a refill.
Levi: And what would that one be for you? It'd be like just the extract like in a syringe and people can do whatever they want with it.
Mara: I have more than one, but they're all the same thing right? They are there. Very high Creations, I think Iggy and extract higher concentration and fusion and lower concentration and fusion, just for ease of dosing, ease of taking their medicine and ease of packaging, save on waste and that's all you really need. If you have those things, obviously, that's not taking into account, you know, the other minor cannabinoids, the other Innovations, things like that, but just as a starting point of where cannabis is going to be when it gets to Medicine. It's not going to be medicine on the back of Delta 8. It's not going to be medicine on the back of the cpg. It's to be THC and CBD. So if you look at those, you just need to have the availability of them and then have them in different profiles. Maybe one that has more, you know, alpha-pinene in it. And why Manning and one that has more mercy and little or, you know, create the profiles by the cultivars and they're in their genetics. Takes that you select when you're doing your manufacturing. Having a slight variance in the profile of the medicine from batch to batch is perfectly acceptable, because that's the way Plant medicine works. I take Kirkman and it's a natural source of it. Each time. I opened a new bottle of it. Sometimes they're kind of brownish. Sometimes they're orange, you know. Whatever. I mean, you had an expectation of that. And I think with cannabis what we have found is when we keep the medicine in its, it keeps the Integrity of the plan. We're able to maintain a lower inconsistent dose over time where people don't seem to need to keep increasing the way they do on these single-molecule medicines.
Levi: Yeah. I know it's just but what you're talking about the whole plant, you know, it just doesn't fit into the global supply chain, you know, Paradigm. Very Well, that's all right. We like dogs on this show.
Mara: So where were you living? Sorry. Sorry. Sorry, give him some CBD. Hey, come Maggie, no bark anyway, so that's okay.
Levi: No, I was just teasing, you know, obviously, you know, the capitalist mines in big Pharma. Mine just doesn't work. Well with cannabis. It does in scientifically like I'm talking about the like AB, you know, and you're quick to correct and say, well, hey, this is about science, but it's kind of about both. And I think, you know, the spirit that I'm talking about is the relationship. We have to go to the Earth, you know.
Mara: Yeah. I mean, I agree with you. I didn't say that if there's nothing I said, there are things about this plant that are just mind-boggling. How, you know, it's like if you've ever met anybody that has just so many skills. You can't believe how many things they can do. You're like, Like, I don't know how you do it. But I believe you. You can. You've proved it to me that you can be my husband's one of those people. It's like, how do you know how to do that? Like, at what point in your life? Did you think it would be interesting to figure that out? But the plant is kind of like that.
Levi: You trust the plant.
Mara: I trust science. I trust the chemistry in the end. What I've seen. I pressed that hundred percent of the fact that it's amazing. That it does all these things that's beside the point, you know, just but you know, when you have people trying to lead the conversation that all they care about, is the bottom line, you're going to lose out on the really important innovation. I did an interview the other day for something. I don't remember what it was and they asked me, one of the questions was, you know, what's happening with women? Cannabis and I said, you know, besides going through all the things like women, don't attract the same kind of money, women, you know, the men come in and the Bro, kind of mentality of taking over and we're going to tell you, because you don't know. But women traditionally were the ones that were making the products, they were the ones that were doing the extractions and the infusions are more infusions. They were, they were even a lot of the times, the one doing the cultivating, but certainly the ones. Getting the products. And I think that when we kind of push so many women to the side and I know this is a stereotype but it's, you know, forgive me, it stereotypes exist because there's some truth in them. That when we push the women to the side more, we lose the heart of the purpose, the purpose being making medicines to help sick people, right? Yeah. Yeah. The kids like it's lost. Yeah, in the bottom. Lines, how many skus, you know, how many shelves are you on, you know, push push push. And now you see all these msos. There's no innovation going on there. Just seeing how fast they can spread everywhere is a DNA variation.
Levi: Yes, everyone's just kind of copying each other and Yeah, the Biggest Loser unfortunately is the consumer is just doesn't, you know, if you walk into a California Dispensary now, compared to pre regulation. Unfortunately, it's a very different scene, not for the better.
Mara: Right! Well, now you have to pay for shelf space and, you know, it's become. It's become a completely different world that I personally am not that interested in, you know, so what I've done is, you know, I mean, I'm already, I've spent all of covid-19 on my software platform for Physicians and I'm rolling it out. Now, I manufacture in South Africa and Export to Brazil and start other countries as well. California and the US need to get its act together, you know, to really be competitive with the rest of the world. I'm in Mexico. I can't wait to see what we can do down here. Yeah.
Levi: I think that's really exciting. And I think people will be really Surprised. I think Mexico will become a leader in space actually because there's a history of it there. It's natural for him when the plant grows. Well there for starters. And I think I think the people will embrace it, you know, from across the spectrum. There will be some pushback probably from, you know, conservative elements, but I think I think it'll be with the drug cartels and everything. I think people are just ready to legalize cannabis. Anibus Foley and Usher in a new era, you know, in Mexico, around drug policy in the US needs to step in line. I think it'll put a lot of pressure on the US will make us look stupid. I mean, we're stupider than we already look. Yeah. And never underestimate the stupidity of the US government when it comes to drug policy. We have never exercised any restraint or, you know, it's just when things smell funny follow the money, right? That's what Snoop Dogg says. If you want to know what's up with backwards, u.s. Foreign policy, follow the money. I won't go down that rabbit hole, but it's pretty disgusting.
Mara: Well, one of the things about Mexico that I'm going to say that I disagree with you on this is based upon not my opinion, but the something I heard from a quasi government official he said and he was off the Record so I won't identify he said Mexico has the opportunity to be enormous for making products and supplying through Mexico. As soon as Mexico starts to export the cartels are going to come in and stop it.
Levi: Because that's their territory is the export, right?
Mara: So I'm not really sure. I mean is he, right? Who knows, but I think that there's a lot to still wait and see. I mean that's going to be the case in a lot of these countries like look at Columbia Columbia. Has become like one of the leaders in Latin America and they come from a cartel origin story.
Levi: I think I know, I don't know enough about modern Mexican politics, but I just feel like sometimes things seem impossible until they happen, you know, and I just think my gut instinct is that people in Mexico. Got to be so sick of the way, the status quo something's just going to snap and then they'll kind of emerge as a trailblazer. I hope so. I hope so. I'm rooting for Mexico to kind of be a leader. But Mara, it's great to have you on. I know you're busy. I think your voice is super important in space. And I love, I just love you being who you are and schooling us kids on, what's correct, and I would love to have you back on the show. Anytime you talk about, you know, all these issues are fascinating and I could talk to you all day long, but Well, I
Mara: I want to say goodbye, but I want my dog to stop barking but I'm sorry. Sorry and he didn't leave. Any time I'm you know, I've loved the opportunity to get to know you over this last year and a half. It's been and I wish you the best of luck with your new journalism optional and the time you need me. All
Levi: right, sounds good. We'll make sure I post links to Everything you're doing. I'll reach out to you in an email and make sure people can find you because we talked a lot and we know each other, but I know people not everyone listening might not know Mr. Gordon in the work you've done in the space, how important you are in this space and the research that you've been a part of, so, I'm going to make sure and Link Link. Are you up really? Well on the site I have changed and have a great rest of your day. Try not to blow away.
Mara: I'll work on it. Thank you so much.
Levi: All right. I'll talk to you later. Alright, bye.