INDUSTRY

Boston University Hosts First-Ever Cannabis Science Fair

Cannabis takes center stage on Boston's world-class science hub.
Cannabis takes center stage on Boston's world-class science hub. / Image courtesy of MCR Labs

The Boston University Build Lab will be hosting a cannabis science fair this Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 – the first of its kind. 

This science fair will showcase the work of institutions striving to expand humanity’s knowledge and understanding of the cannabis plant. 

Through a collaboration with local cannabis testing leader MCR Labs and the Cannabis Center of Excellence (CCoE), this landmark event will feature scientific presentations from commercial and academic institutions like SCIEX, Skell Labs, the University of Vermont, Harvard University, and more. 

This is a big deal if you love progress and innovation.

Cannabis industry news is often dominated by legalization and regulation updates, and the science and research sector is ready to share their findings on a louder, much more public scale than we’ve previously seen throughout years of prohibition. 

Massachusetts is Bringing Their Cannabis Research to The Forefront

Massachusetts is one of the most prominent research and biotech hubs in the world, and combined with the state’s legal cannabis program, there is plenty of opportunity for cannabis science and innovation. 

For MCR Labs, a leader in cannabis analysis, compliance testing, and research – involvement with the science fair was inevitable. 

“While cannabis testing is our business, MCR Labs’ leadership strongly believes that consumer education and research play a significant role in reducing the stigma around cannabis,” said Joe Crinkley, Public Relations Manager at MCR Labs. 

“The inspiration behind this event was a desire to showcase the progress being made by academic and commercial institutions to study and expand our understanding of cannabis, despite restrictions that still limit research efforts.”

Restrictions have hampered cannabis research, both throughout the nation and worldwide. However, establishments like MCR Labs and the CCoE have forged ahead with several studies and events to share their findings. 

“As colleagues in the cannabis science space, our organizations enjoy supporting one another and collaborating to give the public better access to information that can help them understand what we know and don’t know about cannabis as a medicine or consumer product,” Crinkley told The Bluntness.

The “Cannabis Science Fair” Will Expand What We Know About The Plant

This Saturday’s science fair will provide that information to the public in the form of poster presentations, live demonstrations, and four keynote speakers: MCR Labs founder and CEO Mike Kahn, CCoE founder and president Dr. Marion McNabb, Dr. Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, and Boston University’s Dr. Gerald J. Fine. 

The presentations will cover topics like cannabis use and breastfeeding, cannabis e-cigarettes, terpenes, cannabis’s effect on opioid abuse, cannabis edibles, and an overall review of medical cannabis and how it’s been working on our society. 

“We want people to see that cannabis is a fascinating and misunderstood plant that has great potential for helping people,” Crinkley said.

“However, we also want to show there is still so much to learn when it comes to cannabis, and that there are groups working to advance our understanding of the benefits and risks that come with the plant.”

This is a crucial component to cannabis education today. As the public becomes more comfortable with conversations around cannabis, industry players are responsible for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: cannabis is a good thing that comes with its share of drawbacks and nuances.

Instead of looking at the plant in absolutes, we need to keep an open-minded approach that allows consumers to take in all elements of cannabis’s effects so they can make the best decision for themselves. 

“Our goal is to make [the science fair] an annual event where we showcase new and impactful cannabis research to help educate the public and chip away at that cannabis stigma by highlighting the legitimate studies being done to expand our knowledge,” Crinkley said. 

While the event will offer an array of presentations and insights into cannabis research, it also won’t shy away from reality: the research we have is still incredibly lacking.

Until more restrictions are lifted and experts can truly dive into their research with the appropriate funding and without the constant hassle of red tape, this area of the industry will remain stunted – but that doesn’t mean there aren't incredible advancements already being made by persistent and passionate scientists that deserve to be shared. 

“Cannabis news is often dominated by progress, or lack thereof, toward legalization and industry statistics about profits and tax revenue, so we're trying to help the public see that cannabis science is advancing too,” Crinkley said. 

“Ideally, this helps show that cannabis safety is not being ignored as advocates fight to increase legal access to a substance that has been unfairly smeared and demonized for almost a century.”

The decades-long stigma against cannabis hasn’t just been detrimental to consumers and operators. The fact that researchers have had their hands tied for so many years just goes to show how much we still don’t know about the plant, and how important it is that we continue having these conversations.

“The keynote speakers will address the need for transparency in regards to product safety, what remains unknown, regulations around testing, and learning more about what cannabis can do,” Crinkley said.

“There will also be attention given to the potential for cannabis to reduce opioid use, and a deep dive into the medical community’s attitudes and understanding of the plant.”

For more information on the Cannabis Science Fair, click here.

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