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The 2018 Cannabis Science Conference will be held August 27–29, in Portland, Oregon. With the conference quickly approaching, we sat down with Josh Crossney, president and CEO of CSC Events, for a preview of what this year’s show will offer attendees.
What are some of the key topics that this year’s Cannabis Science Conference will address?
Crossney: Some of the key topics include advances in academic research and quality control (QC) testing, genomics, efforts to improve standardization, improvements in analytical instrumentation and testing methods, as well as greater medicinal cannabis information sharing, including physician and patient presentations. In the medical track, I also see increasing focus on cannabis as a more effective alternative to opiates. Opiates kill nearly 100 Americans a day, whereas no one has ever died as a direct result from a cannabis overdose. What could be a more relevant and important discussion than advancing alternative medicines that put an end to the terrible opioid epidemic?
We have also added a cultivation track this year, which differs greatly from other conferences because the focus is more technical. This year we also have technical updates from several cannabis testing labs, with topics ranging from sample preparation and method development to microwave-assisted extractions and informatics.
Can you tell us more about the addition of a cultivation track? Why did you feel there was a need to add that track?
Crossney: At last year’s Canna Boot Camp, there was great interest from all participants in a phenomenal cultivation session hosted by Autumn Karcey (Cultivo, Inc.) and Ken Kovash (GI Grow). Cultivation techniques greatly impact cannabis science, both in terms of therapeutic efficacy as well as potential introduction of contaminants.
Additionally, many QC and research scientists lack a fundamental understanding of cannabis cultivation, so we felt there was a strong need to help bridge this gap by introducing a cultivation track.
What do you hope for people to learn or gain from your conference this year?
Crossney: My hope is that attendees walk away from this year’s conference feeling educated, empowered, inspired, and connected. By empowered, I mean that the Cannabis Science Conference has become the annual pilgrimage for key opinion leaders like Tracy Ryan, Professor Jack Henion, Professor Dedi Meiri, Dr. Scott Kuzdzal, Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, Dr. Sue Sisley, Janie Maedler, Sharlene Mavor, and Dr. Jahan Marcu. These truly inspirational people have so much knowledge to share, and at the Cannabis Science Conference we work very hard to maximize networking with these experts; including opportunities ranging from discussions at poster sessions and exhibit booths to participation in interactive panel discussions. Attendees will walk away with new knowledge and collaborations that will help catalyze and advance cannabis science for years to come.
Can you give us any hints as to who your plenary speaker will be?
Crossney: Every year the Cannabis Science Conference works diligently to create relationships with celebrity influencers who are either in the cannabis space, or looking to get involved. We are thrilled to be able to introduce Fran Drescher to the cannabis science community. It has been such a pleasure getting to know Fran over the past few years through Cancer Schmancer and their wonderful events, such as the annual Cancer Schmancer Health Summit in Los Angeles and Cabaret Cruise in NYC. When I saw that Fran and Cancer Schmancer were beginning to include medical cannabis education into their events, I knew that she would be a perfect fit to address our esteemed guests at the 2018 Cannabis Science Conference.
I mentioned previously that I want this year’s attendees to walk away inspired: Fran Drescher will most certainly inspire people.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about this year’s conference?
Crossney: This year we received hundreds of scientific abstracts. In addition to adding a cultivation track, attendees will see expansion in our poster sessions as well as the number of vendors on our exhibition floor. We are anticipating more than 160 sponsors, exhibitors, and media partners this year!
I am excited to announce that our Canna Boot Camp full-day, hands-on workshop will return to Chalice Farms again this year. By the time this article goes to print there will likely be only a few tickets remaining, but I strongly encourage everyone interested in a more hands-on experience covering everything from cannabis cultivation and preprocessing to extractions, analytical testing, edibles manufacturing, and dispensary operation to attend a future Canna Boot Camp.
In closing, I would like to thank Cannabis Science and Technology for your continued support. Your sister publications, LCGC and Spectroscopy, have been our premier media partner now for years, and I look forward to working with your team for years to come. There are many exciting things ahead for us!
M. L'Heureux, Cannabis Science and Technology1(2), 62 (2018).
Editor's Note: At the time this article originally went to press, Fran Drescher had not been announced as the plenary speaker at the 2018 Cannabis Science Conference. This version has been updated to include that announcement.