Three years ago, Gina Conte and Eric Jacobsen were at a crossroads.
Gina was finishing her postdoctoral research in evolutionary genetics at the University of British Columbia, but the closer she came to finishing, the clearer it became that she didn’t want to spend her life doing research that might only have academic applications. She wanted to use her expert knowledge of plant genetics to solve real-world problems for real people.
Eric, a social scientist with a background in conservation biology, had been a mental health researcher in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a project coordinator with an environmental non-profit, and lots of other things in between. He was looking for a way to draw on his experience working with diverse populations to support social good.
The couple looked at North America’s emerging cannabis industry and saw their opportunity. Together, they started Cannametrics — an evidence-based approach to helping people make educated choices about the cannabis they consume.
Cannabis Questions, Answered With Evidence
With cannabis now legal across Canada and much of the U.S., more people have more access to more cannabis products than ever before. There are CBD oils, THC tinctures, even cannabis-infused pet foods! But the science behind these products hasn’t kept up with the market.
Thanks to a century of prohibition, we haven’t been able to carry out clinical trials or conduct the research necessary to create a standardized body of evidence on all the various forms of cannabis, and all the ways it can affect the human body — for better or worse. Cannametrics is building this database, based on real data collected from real people like you.
Right now, when you walk into a dispensary or shop for cannabis products online, there’s no way to know what you’re buying — not in a way that really matters. Sure, you can choose between Indica and Sativa, you can read about the percentages of THC and CBD. There might even be information about other cannabinoids and terpenes. But what’s missing is a critical link: how all those factors affect you. You’re left to make choices based on anecdotes, or worse yet, trial and error. So you might be looking for something to promote relaxation or sleep, and wind up feeling anxious and on-edge. Even more confusing? Someone else using the same product might have the opposite experience.
That’s because we don’t know how the hundreds of complex compounds present in cannabis affect different people with different physiologies — at least not yet. Cannametrics is out to solve this, once and for all. We’re crowdsourcing individual responses to specific cannabis products and creating a standardized database that lets consumers make choices based on evidence, not anecdotes.
Using data science, AI and our expert knowledge of plant genetics, we’re analyzing our data to identify common patterns and connections and correlate them with specific compounds and demographic information. As we get more input, we’ll be able to draw on our research to make personalized recommendations to help ensure you get the results you’re looking for from the products you buy — kind of like Spotify or Netflix, but for pot.
In addition to helping consumers make better choices, Cannametrics will also provide some clarity in a market filled with products that make some pretty bold claims. Whether it’s a THC-infused massage oil claiming to improve intimacy or a CBD supplement intended for pain relief, we’ll be able to tell which products truly live up to the hype.
Contributing to Science, and Society
What makes us most excited about Cannametrics, and the community we’re building, is the potential we have to make important contributions to our overall understanding of cannabis — a plant that humans have interacted with for thousands of years. We’ll be publishing the results of our discoveries and findings along the way.
For Gina, our Chief Science Officer, and Eric, our Chief Executive Officer, Cannametrics is more than just the culmination of years of study and work. It’s a chance to make a concrete contribution to science that society can use, right now, and bring legitimacy to an industry that still carries the stigma of prohibition.
For you, it’s an invitation. Our Cannametrics app will be launching soon and we’d love to learn about your experiences with cannabis. It’s an easy, intuitive, and completely confidential way for you to contribute to our body of research. Not only will your input help us learn more about cannabis so we can build a gold-standard reference point, you’ll learn more about your own responses to the products you like to consume. To learn more about our app and how it works go to cannametrics.io/the-app. We can’t wait to have you join our community, and share our exciting research with the world.