It’s 6 AM and I am rushing to the Louisville airport to catch my flight to Vancouver to present my research at an International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) conference. Upon boarding at my connection in Chicago, I was seated next to a business man headed to the same conference. What are the odds? So I introduced myself, “Hey, I’m Pritesh Kumar, a research scientist at the University of Louisville and I am working with cannabinoids.” He replied, “My name is Michael Mayes from Chicago, I represent Quantum 9, a medical marijuana consulting and technology firm.” We started conversing and I learned a great deal about the business side of cannabinoid research. From our 5 hour flight, I quickly learned that Michael is an extremely intelligent and motivated individual. While I engaged him in the science, he schooled me on the business and cultivation side of things. I learned about the cannabis consulting work he does and a great deal about the cannabis plant itself which I previously was unaware of. Michael is a very quickly learner as I was very impressed how fast he was picking up what I was saying.
As a research scientist, I rarely see things from different aspects, which is why I am grateful to have met Michael who provided me viewpoints I had never previously considered. Furthermore, Michael was kind enough to help me prepare my presentation slides for the talk I was giving at the conference. Before he started working on it, the slides were relatively bland in terms of presentation. When he got through with it, in a matter of minutes, it looked amazing. I am grateful for Michael’s help with my presentation as I later went on the win an award for one of the best oral presentations at the conference. We spent the next few hours going back and forth, talking about various topics related to cannabinoid research and business and before we knew it we had arrived in Vancouver. I look foreword to future collaborations with Michael.
At the conference I had the pleasure of meeting another great individual by the name of Joshua Ahn from Seattle WA, who is currently writing a book about the therapeutic potential of cannabis edibles. Joshua, who comes from a non-science background, is very knowledgeable regarding cannabinoid science research. He is an extremely determined and talented writer. I look foreword to reading his book in the near future.
During the oral presentations, one in particular was fascinating and immediately caught my attention. Erin Hanlon, who is a research associate at the University of Chicago’s Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, discussed the link between circulating endocannabinoids and sleep deprivation. This study could help explain the connection between lack of sleep and obesity as it is well known that after a night of sleep deprivation people have been shown to want larger portions of food. The implications of this work are vast and hopefully will lead to novel pharmacological interventions for both sleep and weight-related disorders.
The ICRS 2013 conference was a successful event where I met several individuals involved in all aspects of cannabinoid research. Overall, it was a great event where everyone was welcoming to one other. These types of conferences, where scientists can speak to non-scientists, have the greatest potential for success in that one can view different aspects in the same field.