Introduction to Science Column

I am happy to introduce Cannabiz Journal’s Cannabis Science Column, written each month by one of the members of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision (CANN). As one of the founding members of CANN and the immediate past chair of the scholarship committee, I would like to announce the winners of the first annual Cannabis Chemistry Scholarship Award, known as the CANNCHASHNA award. This scholarship award is like none before it and promises to be a positive influence on the state of the art and on cannabis chemistry’s place in the larger scientific community.

When we started CANN in 2015, the prospect of establishing a scholarship was a distant vision. Thanks to Jim Dawson, President of Heidolph North America (HNA), our vision has become a reality; Heidolph’s substantial donation funds a travel award for chemists to present their work to the larger scientific community. 

We are both pleased and humbled to present the first round of awards at the 255th ACS National Meeting when CANN, a subdivision of ACS’ Chemical Health and Safety Division (CHAS), can focus on the work of the award recipients. This award can serve as a beacon of light for those who have done good works and want to share their accomplishments with others in the community.

 The award winners are numerous and come from a diverse set of backgrounds, including from three countries besides the United States. Many of our awardees are from our existing network of cannabis scientists, while others are from outside our network completely. In addition to the obvious benefit of bringing these chemists to a forum to present their work, I sincerely hope that they will be the first of an intimate cohort whose collaboration and support further drives the leading edge of cannabis chemistry. Please allow me to introduce each of the winners here with a bit of info on their background and what they will be presenting.

Dr. Jahan Marcu is the chief science officer at Americans for Safe Access and the director of Patient Focused Certification. He earned his PhD in cell biology from Temple University. Dr. Marcu also serves as program chair for CANN and has the distinction of being one of its founding members. 

Andrew Pham is the scientific director at BelCosta Labs and a consultant at ILP Scientific, LLC. He received his master’s degree at Northeastern University working with Dr. Makriyannis. Andrew is also the current chair of CANN. Pham’s presentation will take on the complex challenge associated with the operation of motor vehicles under the influence of cannabis and the chemistry of so-called “drugged driving” laws.

Dr. Mark Scialdone is the president of Better Chem Consulting. He earned his PhD from Wayne State University and holds a wide number of patents, mostly from his time at Dupont—first as a research chemist, then as senior research chemist, then as research associate and finally as transformer insulation application research scientist. Mark also has the distinction of being one of our founding members. 

Dr. Linda Klumpers is a director at Cannify, consultant at BIRD Life Sciences & Business Consulting B.V. in the Netherlands, and associate dean for professional education at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her presentation will focus on the current state of our knowledge on the effects of terpenes and cannabinoids on the human body.
Dr. Melissa Lewis is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Molecular Design and Pre-formulations at the University Health Network at Toronto, Canada. She received her PhD from the department of chemistry at University of Western Ontario. Dr. Lewis’ presentation will focus on Canadian medical cannabis and the effects of decarboxylation on the components of extract products.

John de la Parra is a lecturer at Tufts University as well as owner and principal scientist at Vine Research and Consulting. Parra is defending his thesis this year from Northeastern University in biosynthesis, isolation, and analysis of novel plant-derived pharmaceuticals. Parra’s presentation will focus on rapid metabolomic phenotyping of cannabis sativa.

Dr. Michael Schafroth has just received his PhD from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in application of stereodivergent methods to the synthesis of tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids. Dr. Schafroth is currently in a post-doctoral position at Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Schafroth’s presentation will focus on cannabinoids from the plant Radula marginata and their effects on the human body.  

Those interested in applying for the next round of scholarships can send a resume, abstract, and title to before July 1, 2018.  Questions and concerns can be posed to the same e-mail. I look forward to helping usher in the next generation of cannabis scientists with this award.

Ezra Pryor

Applied Markets Specialist at Heidolph North America

Past Chair of the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision