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Cannabis Chose Me

John Poss’ Fight to Disrupt the Pharmaceutical Industry Through Cannabis

John Poss had spent 40 years working with troubled companies from every industry before becoming the CEO of GB Sciences Inc., a cutting edge cannabis cultivation and biopharmaceutical research company.

When Poss first began working with GB Sciences Inc, they were developing an agricultural Technology that, while spectacular in its conception, simply couldn’t scale enough to build a business around. However, Poss immediately recognized enormous value in the research that the company’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Andrea Small Howard and her colleague at Chaminade University, Dr. Helen Turner were carrying out to scientifically demonstrate cannabis’ entourage effect.

“The research fascinated me. And I had survived cancer for seventeen years by getting into a clinical trial three weeks before I was supposed to be dead - it saved me. I said, ‘John, here's a way for you to payback for the good fortune you had. I saw the potential of cannabis as real evidence-based medicine, and the potential to help patients. That’s why I took the job.”

John Poss

Unfortunately, he quickly learned that there was a chasm between the desire to help and the reality of bringing new medicines to those patients.

According to Poss, cannabis-medicine faces enormous structural impediments. Beyond the innovation-stifling nature of the pharmaceutical industry itself, which routinely requires billions of dollars to bring a new medicine to market, cannabis’ designation as a Schedule 1 drug routinely sparks fear and seriously impedes new research. For example, a basic toxicity test for one of GB Science’s medicines took almost two years to complete because U.S. institutions refused to test any medicine even associated with cannabis.

While in theory those regulations are in place to protect, the reality is they can also hurt patients by denying them choice and access to medicine outside of what a small handful of pharmaceutical companies develop. That’s why Poss is so passionate about what he calls democratizing medicine.

“We should get a vote on our health treatment, but instead get put on the medical assembly line and before we know it, we're paying thousands of dollars a month. The sad thing is that individual caregivers, all care about the patients, but they are locked into a system that dictates their behavior.”

John Poss

In Poss’ view cannabis has the unique ability to disrupt and then help fix this broken system because, one, grown on a large scale cannabis has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits at low cost. And two, while traditional pharmaceuticals are focused on isolating a single molecule, if Poss can help prove the entourage effect, he hopes companies will have to reconsider their approach to include the possibility of multiple parts of a plant working together as a medicine.

Poss is well aware he’s facing an uphill battle, but it’s one he’s completely committed to fighting.

“Our vision is a simple one,” he said. “Putting cannabis based medicine in the hands of patients.”

To hear John Poss speak more about his work on cannabis pharmaceuticals, his drive to democratize medicine, and much more, join us in Los Angeles on July 27 for a day devoted to exploring the intersection of cannahemp medical research and manufacturing technology.

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