The 2020 ElSohly Award Winners: Dr. Justin Fischedick

April 28, 2020

Justin Fischedick holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the State University New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, a Master of Science in Biology and a Doctoral Degree from Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. Dr. Fischedick’s research interests are in the areas of biotechnology, natural products chemistry, pharmacognosy, and analytical chemistry. The results of his research have been published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals and publications. He has presented his research at national and international scientific conferences. Dr. Fischedick was involved in several research projects investigating the chemical composition and quality control of medicinal cannabis and other medicinal plants during his graduate studies at Leiden University. After completing his PhD, his postdoctoral research at the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University focused on analytical methods and biosynthesis of medicinally valuable compounds from plants. From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Fischedick was lead scientist at a cannabis testing laboratory, Excelsior Analytical Laboratory in Union City, California. Currently, he is employed as a senior scientist at Integrated Analytical Solutions, a GxP compliant contract research organization based in Berkeley California focused in areas of bioanalysis, drug metabolism, and analytical chemistry. Here he discusses some of his research and what we can expect from his presentation on May 6.

What will your talk at the CANN symposium be focused on?
Justin Fischedick: I plan to discuss a bit of the historical research on cannabis terpenes and how this has inspired some of the current research going on with cannabis terpenes. I will describe some research I’ve done regarding cannabis terpenes both as a graduate student and in industry working at cannabis analytical laboratories. I’ll describe how to analyze and properly identify these compounds. I’d also like to spend a bit of time discussing some of the statistical approaches you can use to analyze large datasets and some of the chemotaxonomic uses of such approaches.

What do you hope attendees at the symposium will take away from your talk?
I hope attendees get a broader understanding of some of the literature and studies that have already been done on cannabis terpenes. I find a lot of information regarding the analysis of terpenes in cannabis that is easily accessible online is coming mainly from the cannabis industry or instrument vendors. The information coming from both of these sources while sometimes useful can also be misleading regarding the most appropriate analytical technique or potential medicinal or therapeutic effects of these compounds. I’d like to clear up some of these misconceptions.

How will winning the ElSohly Award impact your research efforts or future projects?
I think obtaining the ElSohly Award is an honor and I thank CANN for it. It is nice to get recognition for work I’ve done. I can’t really say how it might impact my future except it is always good to bring attention to sound scientific research especially in a field as unique and strange as the cannabis industry.

How did you get started with cannabis research? Can you tell us about some of your early research projects investigating the chemical composition and quality control of medicinal cannabis at Leiden University?
I got started in cannabis when I was a graduate student at Leiden University in the city of Leiden, which is in The Netherlands. I was working at the Institute of Biology, Natural Products Laboratory. The main focus of the lab’s research was pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, plant biotechnology, and basic natural products research. They had a project involving medicinal cannabis that I ended up working on for my Master’s thesis and a big part of my PhD thesis as well. The overall goal of the project was to study how to develop cannabinoid-based medicines and the standardization of herbal cannabis for medicinal applications. I mainly worked on analysis and purification of cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. I also did research on administration forms for cannabis such as studying the vapor products by herbal vaporizers and some work on the bioactivity of cannabinoids.

Can you tell us more about your current research involving cannabis and what you hope to study in the future?
I’m not solely focused on cannabis at the moment although I am working on a number of method validations to meet the state of California regulatory requirements for a cannabis lab testing at an analytical laboratory in Berkeley California called Integrated Analytical Solutions. The main focus of the company has been bioanalytical, drug metabolism, and GxP pharmaceutical testing. I am working on a number of those types of projects as we also expand into cannabis testing. I think learning about GLP regulations has given me valuable insight into how to apply such approaches to cannabis and cannabis products analytical testing.

Dr. Fischedick will be presenting his talk “Terpenoids of Cannabis sativa L., Analysis and Applications” during the Spring 2020 CANN Virtual Symposium in The Second Annual ElSohly Award session on Wednesday, May 6.

Register for free here: