Marijuana Lab Opening in Bozeman
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Marijuana Lab Opening in Bozeman
Posted by CN Staff on April 03, 2010 at 11:15:06 PT
By Kahrin Deines, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Bozeman, Montana --  In the same medical-arts building with an eye doctor, a dentist and a traditional pharmacy, walls are being painted for a new laboratory in Bozeman that aims to test the potency of marijuana."There's just so much research that could be done to help validate and quantify how to use this plant," said Dr. Michael Geci-Black, owner of Montana Botanical Analysis.
After about five months searching for someone willing to lease space for the venture, Geci expects the lab to open its doors in the building on Bozeman's Willson Avenue in mid-April.Geci, a physician, and chemist Noel Palmer are already analyzing samples from medical-marijuana growers, using a chromatography machine to read the levels of the various constituents that give the drug its properties. They say that measuring the different substances in the drug could help someone choose the best pot product-and the best dosage-to treat a given malady."For 5,000 years, people have just done this by trial and error, but it doesn't have to be that way anymore," Geci said.A surge in the number of medical-marijuana users and providers over the past year has stunned municipal governments in Montana, leading many to form task forces to consider zoning restrictions and other regulatory measures for the nascent industry. Meanwhile, new trade associations, guilds and labs such as Montana Botanical Analysis are seeking to bolster quality-control standards and self-regulation within the industry.Under Montana law, "caregivers" can have up to six plants and one ounce of marijuana for each "patient." But the state is not required to ensure that the medical-marijuana caregivers provide a safe product, or "medicine," to their patients.For Montana's 10,000-plus registered marijuana patients, that means trial and error is the only guide to finding a quality product and provider. Because the law allows a patient to work with only one caregiver at a time, it's a process that can take time."We believe what will happen is those caregivers that are not following quality standards will have difficulty maintaining their business," said Jim Gingery of the Montana Medical Growers Association.The trade association, which formed in September, claims to have a membership that serves about 10 percent of the registered patients in Montana, or about 1,000 patients. Gingery said it soon hopes to cover the whole state with six chapters, each of which will be operated by an independent board of directors. The association could present members' views to state and local governments, and the membership would develop growing standards and a code of ethics."Responsible caregivers don't just supply the medicine," Gingery said. "They counsel their patients. The best caregivers do intake counseling."Currently, there are no guarantees beyond a caregiver's word that marijuana has been grown organically, or is free of mold, pesticides or other toxins. Extracts used to make cookies and brownies-an increasingly popular way to ingest the drug-also could have too much or too little of pot's main constituents, limiting a patient's ability to control how they feel with accurate dosing."It's very important for the industry to take a proactive role in regulating itself, otherwise people who have no understanding of this industry are going to step in and regulate it for us," said Blake Ocle, a vice president with A Kinder Caregiver Inc.Surrounded by close to 400 marijuana plants with names such as Pink Dumptruck and Mountain Skunk, Ocle and president Robert Carpenter recently talked about their success selling an organic product at one of the corporation's greenhouses. The company, which is a member of the Montana Medical Growers Association, has growing facilities in Belgrade and Norris that serve several hundred patients.Rows of tubs with six plants each-the amount a registered caregiver is allowed to possess for each patient-fill the Norris greenhouse. A soft whirring sound fills the space as a ventilation system stirs the air that is heated from above by grow lights and from below by a floor warmed with an exterior wood-burning stove.A lot depends on the consistent maintenance of the right conditions in the greenhouse; a recent spider mite infestation at the company's Belgrade facility led to a loss of more than $200,000 worth of product, Carpenter said.The team at A Kinder Caregiver also recently discovered that one of its extracts did not contain enough of the compounds found in marijuana that are thought to be therapeutic. A Kinder Caregiver made a mistake in the manufacturing process but learned about it only because it paid a lab to test the extract."Having third-party analysis by a chemist or even an agronomist is an invaluable tool for your patients," Ocle said.Aside from discovering such production glitches, proponents of testing argue that it could help turn marijuana into a better pain-reliever that could benefit more people."There's still so much worry about controlling the movement that I don't think the practical and medicinal aspects are being approached yet," said Rose Habib, a chemist who is opening CannabAnalysis Laboratories in Missoula.Habib, who said she used to do testing for the vitamin industry, hopes to soon begin analyzing "cannabinoid profiles" in caregivers' marijuana.Cannabinoids are compounds in marijuana that may be responsible for the pain relief it offers some patients. The main ones include tetrahydrocannabinol-the much-coveted THC of stoner culture-cannabidiol and cannabinol."I think the ratio between these three chemicals will help patients choose the strain that they are going to want to take," Habib said.Patients looking for the right "strain," or variety, of marijuana to treat their condition are now confronted by names such as Alien Trainwreck and AK-47. The names are holdovers, black-market sales lingo that reflects the drug's decades of classification as an illegal substance.But many people think there's another holdover from those years that's even more alienating to potential patients.They say dealers bred marijuana to have high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes people feel high. The argument continues that in the process the plant's other therapeutic cannabinoids, which do not have as strong an effect on mood and perception, were weakened in many strains."I have patients who are in their 80s and they're not interested in staring at a lava lamp or listening to the Grateful Dead all day," Geci said. "They are interested in the therapeutic effects."Geci, Habib and other lab operators think they can make money by helping growers breed strains more people will want to use. By measuring cannabinoid levels in both regular marijuana and tinctures that can be ingested, they think the medicine's potency could be standardized, allowing for better dosage control and bringing more doctors on board."I think that chemists have a tremendous opportunity to add a lot of legitimacy and consistency to this business," Habib said.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Kahrin Deines, The Associated PressPublished: April 3, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on April 04, 2010 at 16:09:24 PT
There is nothing wrong with heroes...
...or being one!
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Comment #5 posted by josephlacerenza on April 04, 2010 at 11:34:52 PT
Hero, NO...
I have been trying to spread information for the patients benefit. I am not here to tell them what is SUPPOSE to work for them, but for them to better make the decision.Personal empowerment!! 
Montana Biotech
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on April 04, 2010 at 10:48:53 PT
You may feel wonderful about yourself as you and other unsung heroes labor in the dark, without pay or recognition to right the horrible wrongs!You are a hero in my book! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by The GCW on April 03, 2010 at 22:36:35 PT
New Study Further Debunks Marijuana-Cancer Linkby Mitch EarleywineProhibitionists continue to shout whatever they can to frighten voters. As more and more U.S. citizens realize that current marijuana laws do more harm than good, the misinformation is going to get stranger and stranger. Just watch.One classic cry is that marijuana might cause cancer. Recent work out of Brown University actually reveals quite the opposite. Researchers gathered hundreds of people from Massachusetts who had head or neck cancers and compared them to similar people from the same neighborhoods who had no cancer. Despite the reefer-madness rants, those who had used marijuana for a decade or two were significantly less likely to develop these cancers than those who did not use marijuana. In fact, their rates of cancer were less than half the rate among non-users. Anything else that cut the rates of cancer in half would be hailed as the newest wonder drug for tumor prevention.As Dr. Bob Melamede explained almost five years ago in a delightful article from Harm Reduction Journal, cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth, so marijuana canít cause cancer. Cannabinoids show promise for battling cancer, not creating it.CONT. Anything else that cut the rates of cancer in half would be hailed as the newest wonder drug for tumor prevention.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 03, 2010 at 16:37:16 PT
You're welcome. I think you should call if you feel you should call.
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Comment #1 posted by josephlacerenza on April 03, 2010 at 14:21:42 PT
Thanks FoM, for posting this
I was so excited to this this in the paper!! It is bring a spot light onto the fact patients want to know more about their medicine.As I have posted here before, I have a cannabis potency and genetic sreening lab here in Bozeman, Mt. 
The Billings Gazette did not contact me for the piece. But I think that this,"...and other lab operators think they can make money by helping growers breed strains more people will want to use." was suppose to be me:)I don't not have a M.D. or a Ph.D, do you think that matters? Should I call the author and ask to be mentioned next time?
Montana Biotech
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