Initially theorized in 2004 by Dr. Ethan Russo, Clinical Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency is thought to be responsible for migraines, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease and other related conditions that affect nearly 20 percent of Americans daily. In January of this year, a unique partnership between Anantlife's Dr. Rahul Kushwah and Cannalogix Foundation's Chief Research Officer, J.B. Creel commenced for the benefit of all patients seeking relief from the systemic effects of an imbalanced Endo-Cannabinoid System.
By February, the collaboration had already shown results with the development of the world's first genetic kit measuring a Clinical Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency. We sat down to discuss the partnership with Dr. Rahul Kushwah and Mr. J.B. Creel, a passionate duo whose keen sense of caring and impeccable global awareness are paving the way forward for patient-centered medical, cannabis research.
Thank you, both for taking the time out to speak with us today. Before we begin, can you tell our readers a little bit about your background and how you came to be interested in working with medical cannabis?
Dr. Rahul Kushwah: I actually co-founded a genetic company two years ago after seeing a professor at the University of Ottawa Medical School. As we were offering a lot of genetic tests, targeting all the specialties, we had a lot of cannabis physicians come to us, and they were really encountering a huge problem. They were like, “Okay let’s see if we can try medical cannabis. To somebody in certain situations that does work, but for others, it does not, and then there’s a possibility of adverse reactions.” So really we worked for almost a year and a half in trying to develop the first cannabis genetic test which can really identify if a patient is prone to developing adverse reactions to cannabis. Then it was after that we actually collaborated with J.B. and Cannalogix, and that’s where we developed and launched the first test for Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency. So it was more about addressing an unmet need from a clinical standpoint that we were after and that’s what led us toward developing cannabis-based genetic tests.
J.B. Creel: I come from engineering and defense, like electrical, electronic, radars, communication stuff like that. My mom told me that she was terminal back in 1999, facing multiple sarcomas; various cancers throughout her body. I walked away from my Department of Defense job and became her caregiver and never went back, because not only is she still alive today, almost 20 years later, cannabis gave her her life back. Now I’m blessed to be able to help people, maybe not completely overcome, but improve, and empower with a better quality of life. And that’s worth more to me than the job that I used to have. My job is mainly to facilitate the recruitment and the organization, and supervision of some of the world’s best scientists on Endo-Cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids and their interaction. I’m really blessed to be where I’m at, and I’m so grateful to have people like Dr. Kushwah and the rest of the experts to come together to help us help people. It’s really amazing.
And talk to us a little about Clinical Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency (CECD)? For our less technical readers can you break it down into layman’s terms?
Dr. Rahul Kushwah: I’ll try to keep it central rather than going into technicalities. When he talked about the Clinical Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency, it truly comes from observational studies where it has been shown that people who are suffering from brain debilitations like fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome… the patients show a lot of synergy; versus you have a lot of migraine patients who go on to develop fibromyalgia. At the same time when you look at the neurotransmitters signaling in these individuals there seems to be some kind of commonality among a bunch of patients that suffer from these clinical conditions. And that’s where really the Endo-Cannabinoid deficiency comes from.
I think the simplest example, for instance, is when you look at anandamide. FAAH is actually an enzyme that’s involved in the breakdown of anandamide. It can look at three clinical studies where FAAH is inhibited in mice and what these studies have shown is that these mice can really tolerate pain. To some extent, they have no pain whatsoever. So, really if you were to simplify that finding, what it really shows is that the way that our body breaks down anandamide plays a role in pain reception. And that is for things like migraines and fibromyalgia as well. So from a genetic standpoint, what we are looking at is in an individual, are there any genetic variances that potentially impacts their Endo-Cannabinoid system? And it could mean that maybe they are either breaking down anandamide at a very fast pace or perhaps they have a genetic variance which actually slows down breakdown of anandamides. And that to some extent can help us identify if the individual could be a candidate for suffering from Endo-Cannabinoid Deficiency.
J.B. Creel: I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Doctor, you touched on this a little bit, but let me ask about the collaboration between Anantlife and Cannalogix. How did it get started and what it’s been like working together?
Dr. Rahul Kushwah: One of the first things that I like to say is that going through any partnerships one of the things I look for is that we have to think alike. One of things that I see with J.B. is that the kind of passion he has to help people out there is outstanding. It’s phenomenal. I mean to tell you the truth, even if I did not know much about Cannalogix and I was talking to J.B., I would want to work with this guy. And at the same time, you look at the Cannalogix Foundation, and the mandate they have and the way they are really helping cannabis patients, you couple that with what we are offering and really we could make huge strides in helping patients all throughout North America. So this is really a meeting of minds, and that’s how it’s led to this collaboration.
J.B. Creel: You know, that pretty much sums it up too. It’s truly a wonderful experience to be able to finally meet someone that had the desire to want to create something to impact lives, to improve them. Most pharmaceutical and most of the analytic industry is looking for long-term customers. It’s been hard. I mean we’ve been trying to find solutions for this for a while, and pharma does not want it because the reality is this one solution impacts, do the numbers, the fibromyalgia, migraines, and IBD which is including Crohn’s, the whole nine yards, inflammatory bowel disease, impacts over 20 percent of the our society. So this is a pretty significant breakthrough for the patient vs. for pharma because, as you know, once people start getting on to cannabis, they start weaning off of pharmaceuticals. So it’s been a fight and then finally whenever we met him it was obviously a divine intervention, and we couldn’t be more pleased or blessed.
The CECD.SOLUTIONS package
So let me ask you gentlemen about the CECD.SOLUTIONS package, it seems like a pretty comprehensive offering. Give us some details, if you can about what it is, what it does, and who the target audience is.
J.B. Creel: Mainly with the package what we were looking to do is to provide a comprehensive solution for someone facing those diseases. Due to the fact that the laws are set up the way that they are right now, we don’t want to get involved with actually handling any meds or giving you any meds or anything like that. So what we want to do is to be able to set you up with a program where you are actually able to navigate that yourself. Even if you are maybe working a market that has a mix of flower and regular oils and stuff.
So on one side of the test, it will name out however many strains the database shows actually work for your conditions based on your analysis. Then the other side will actually show what your optional profiles are. So if you’re unable to find the flower, but you’re able to go out to a dispensary and say, here’s a gram of oil and according to the oil it says it has 18:1 THC or whatever it happens to be, if you’re able to review that off of that report, then you’re able to pair yourself with oils that are going to be more effective for your conditions; versus going in and spending that $130 on that oil and coming out and saying “oh man I just took a little drop of it and now I’ve got anxiety.” First, you’ve wasted that $130 because you’re not going to do it again because you don’t like the anxiety, and second, if you had a comprehensive report you wouldn’t have purchased that oil because it would have told you that wasn’t what you were looking for, to begin with.
So we’re trying to fill that gap and fill a need for patients that are no longer able to get stuff from us.
Let me ask you guys about the Stormy Ray Cardholders' Foundation (SRCF), how does that come into play and what do you hope to achieve with that?
J.B. Creel: Full disclosure, we were originally a brainchild of the Stormy Ray Cardholders' Foundation. We’ve been her research group since the beginning. She’s the oldest medical cannabis, non-profit still in existence intact from her original form.
Whenever we started Cannalogix off on its own back in 2014. We had a lot of collateral damage that year, and we started off Cannalogix as its own separate splinter for that. We took the research and development division with us because that’s what we did. She totally was open for it. We did it strategically, but whenever Measure 91 came through, both of our organizations suffered a great deal of lack of support from the industry and what not because people weren’t putting money into the non-profits to protect the program. Now they had shifted all of their money to the for-profit trade organizations to start pushing in the directions that were going to benefit their businesses. We won’t represent a business. You can’t serve a business and patients at the same time because patients don’t have any money. Businesses have money, and if you’re non-profit and you start relying on the businesses money, business ends up with a de facto sense of management or control because they can always threaten to take that money.
We’ve got a lot of controversy around them on that, and I give them credit for that. If you really look at her history, she has never once gone against a bill that helped the patients, and that’s really what I have to look at. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for Stormy Ray, my mother wouldn’t be alive today. I’ve got to give her that. She educated my mom, she taught my mom what my mom needed to know, and my mom took her chemistry background and made the first oil that saved her life. And she’s alive today. As much as the industry hates on me for not standing behind them for them to make money on this program over the last 18 years, she’s never done anything in my eyes to hurt the patient. For that, she’ll always have my support.
Let me ask you a final question. Tell me something that nobody’s talking about in your field right now that you think they should be? What’s something that we don’t know that we should?
Dr. Rahul Kushwah: If you were to ask me I would say that what’s really underappreciated right now is the pharmaceutical genetics for cannabis. I mean talking about adverse reactions to cannabis is not a bad thing. If you were to take cannabis as a medication, every medication has adverse reactions on different people according to their genetic makeup. For instance, if you talk to cannabis producers, their take is “oh no, cannabis cannot have any adverse reaction.” Well, guess what? Anything and everything out there can have adverse reactions depending on your genetic makeup.
So what you hear lots of times is when it comes to our genetic tests to identify who’s prone to adverse reactions, “no, no, there are not going to be any adverse reactions, so I don’t know what you guys are identifying.” Well, what we’re saying is what we’re truly able to identify is a select or small group of patients on whom maybe cannabis is not likely to have a lot of efficacy and who are highly prone to adverse reactions. And again, this percentage or segment of population is going to be a lot lower compared to other groups out there, but yes, there is that segment of population that is prone to adverse reactions. It is something which is really underestimated and underappreciated when it comes to the overall field of cannabis.
J.B. Creel: I want to add one thing like the tests we’ve co-developed, is what is going to solve a lot of those problems because at the same time it’s going to give people the insight about what those deficiencies are. So they have the ability to correct those deficiencies before they become an issue. Now with the Endo-Cannabinoid system, people aren’t talking about it, and he’s right, nobody’s in this industry wants to own that fact. I’m here to tell you, look up tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). It’s an appetite suppressant. You can take somebody that’s 300lbs, put them on a THCV dominant blend, and they can lose weight without exercising, all the way down to their normal weight.
The problem is if you give somebody that particular blend that has a high metabolism already, like someone skinny that eats 6000 calories a day and can’t gain a dime, literally it will induce them into an anorexic type state. I could get so deep into the science on this. I’ve got strains, and we’ve been tracking over 1500 strains, so he’s right. individualized medicine, and that’s the only way to do that’s through DNA like we’ve been doing, is literally the key that everyone needs to be focusing on.