Cannabis Testing Services: A New Alternative Career Opportunity For Life Scientists

Posted in BioJobBuzz, Career Advice

Increased use of medical cannabis, coupled with a growing trend to legalize cannabis for recreational use, has created a niche for companies that offer analytical cannabis testing services.  Not surprisingly, the cannabis testing market is dominated by North American companies with an annual market size of roughly $822 million in 2016 (1).  The size of this market is expected to reach approximately $1.4 billion by 2021 (1).

Typical services offered by cannabis testing companies include:

  • Potency testing
  • Terpene profiling
  • Pesticide screening
  • Residual solvent screening
  • Heavy metal testing
  • Genetic testing
  • Microbial analysis

Most of these analyses involve the use of standard laboratory instruments (and related software packages including 1) liquid chromatography (LC), 2) gas chromatography (GC), 3) mass spectrometry, 4) atomic spectroscopy and 5) automated DNA sequencing/genomic analyses.

While the analytical services offered by these companies may sound esoteric to  lay cannabis audiences, they are very familiar to life scientists with backgrounds in biochemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology, botany, plant pathology and a host of other life science disciplines.  That said, the rapid growth of the cannabis testing industry has created job opportunities  for life scientists who are trained and skilled in the above mentioned analytical methods.

Industry leaders in cannabis analytical services  who may be looking to hire new employees can be divided into two distinct categories; companies that develop hardware and software to conduct the analyses and companies that actually provide analytical services to clients.  Companies involved in hardware and software development  include:

  1. Agilent Technologies Inc (hardware/software)
  2. Shimadzu Corporation (hardware/software)
  3. PerkinElmer, Inc (hardware/software)
  4. Millipore Sigma (hardware/software)
  5. AB Sciex LLC (hardware/software),
  6. Waters Corporation (hardware/software)
  7. Restek Corporation (hardware/software)

Leading companies that offer analytical services to clients include:

  1. Accelerated Technologies Laboratories Inc (hardware/software)
  2. LabLynx Inc. (hardware/software)
  3. Steep Hill Labs, Inc (analysis)
  4. CannaSafe Analytics (analysis)
  5. Pharm Labs LLC (analysis)
  6. Digipath Labs, Inc (analysis)

Because  the number of traditional life sciences job continue to decline and remain highly competitive, now may be a good time for entry level life life scientists to consider a career shift to the cannabis testing services market. However, do not wait or linger.  This market, like the traditional life sciences job market may be quickly  over subscribed!

References

  1. Cannabis testing market expect to reach $1.4 billion by 2021. http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/cannabis-testing.asp Accessed August 7, 2017

Higher Ed: Medical Cannabis Courses Are Now Available at US Universities

Posted in Articles, BioEducation, Uncategorized

Back in the day when I was going to graduate school in Madison, WI,  there was no such thing as medical Cannabis (although there was plenty of weed to go around).  But, as the line in that old Dylan song goes “the times they are a changin”

Late last month, the University of California-Davis announced that it would be joining Humboldt State University in offering undergraduate students a course entitled Physiology of Cannabis.  FYI, Humboldt State has been offering courses in medical Cannabis since 2012 (not surprising since the school is located in prime Cannabis cultivation territory).

According to UC-Davis officials the semester-long, three credit course will be aimed at biology students and will cover the endocannabinoid system, the effects of cannabinoids on the human body and the therapeutic value of Cannabis.

Likewise, Sonoma State University announced that it will be offering a one day symposium on March 11, 2017  to members of the healthcare industry in the Bay area. The symposium is entitled Medical Cannabis: A Clinical and it is intended as a workforce development course.  Nurses, physicians and pharmacists can get continuing education credit for the course. Topics that will be covered include the history of cannabis, an introduction to cannabinoids and terpenes, dosing and administration of cannabinoids, legal implication and other medical-related issues. The university is also planning a three day course on Cannabis regulatory issues later in the month.

While these courses are available, there is currently no undergraduate degree program in Cannabis science/medicine offered by any US university or college. That said, don’t be surprised if this major becomes a reality in States where medical and recreational Cannabis are legal.

Until next time…

Good Luck, Good Job Hunting and Happy Trails

How to Find a Job in the Legal Cannabis Industry

Posted in BioBusiness, Career Advice

According to a recent report by the Cannabis website Leafly, America’s legal cannabis industry now supports more than 122,000 full-time jobs in 29 States and Washington DC. I

A recent article by Bruce Barcott entitled “How to Find a Job in the Cannabis Industry” offers some insights on the types of jobs that are available and how to land one.

He offered, like most industries the best way to land a job in the Cannabis industry is to network yourself into one. Also, working with a recruiting firm can be helpful.  Interestingly, recruiting firms and staffing companies that specialize in Cannabis jobs are popping up daily in many states where medical and recreational Cannabis are legal. However, before you take the plunge it is important to educate yourself to determine what is out there and whether or not you are a good fit for a Cannabis career.

So what do we know?  Most of the open jobs are in the Western states, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona with a growing presence in Minnesota and Massachusetts. There are a smattering of jobs emerging in New York, Connecticut, Maryland  and Washington DC.  While 40 percent of open positions are specific to the Cannabis industry, roughly 60 are jobs that exist in other industries such as executive assistants, human resources specialists retail operations directors bookkeepers and staff accountants.That said, there are a number of Cannabis business operators who are looking for pharmaceutical sales representatives, or in horticulturalists from large commercial plant growing operations.

So question is: are there are any jobs in the Cannabis for the average Bio Job Blog reader?  The answer is YES!!!!!!  Here are a few examples: Laboratory chemist, operations manager, analytical chemist/production manager, software developer, food productions manager, and my favorite professional joint roller.  Of course there will be many more opportunities as the industry continues to grow (pun intended). That said, relocation is likely required but then again if you are qualified and possess the skills the company may offer a relocation package.  There is a ton of money being made in the industry!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

 

Life Scientists:Looking for a Job? Consider the Cannabis Industry

Posted in BioBusiness, Career Advice

According to a recent article, the 2013 to 2014 US market for legal Cannabis (medical and recreational) grew 74% from $1.3 billion to $2.7 billion. Industry analysts predict that the legal marijuana industry is (and will continue to be) the fastest-growing industry in the US over the next 5 years with annual revenues topping $11 billion by 2020.  And, as the industry grows so will employment opportunities. At present, salaries associated with various job functions in the Cannabis industry range from $50,000 to $90,000. As many businesses that support the Cannabis industry continue to grow, the competition for qualified employed will intensify and salaries will concomitantly rise. Currently,, there aren’t enough trained job candidates to fill the many job openings at Cannabis companies. I am sure that many of you who hold graduate degrees in the life sciences are wondering why I am pitching jobs in the Cannabis industry.

First, traditional jobs for PhD-trained life scientist are getting scarcer and the election of Donald Trump suggests that this trend will not be reversed anytime soon.

Second, consider that growing and cultivating marijuana and extracting cannabinoids (the pharmaceutically active molecules in Cannabis buds) require a background in laboratory methods, chemistry, biology and in some cases plant science. For those of you who may not know, the medical Cannabis market is focusing almost exclusively on cannabis extracts and vaporization of these extracts (rather than smoking) is the preferred delivery methods. This suggests that those of you with backgrounds in biomedical engineering and medical devices  can leverage your expertise and skills to obtain jobs in the delivery side of the cannabis industry.  

Third, the expansive growth and sheer economic size of the Cannabis industry suggests that other jobs that require a life science background are likely to emerge. These include quality control/assurance jobs for strain identification, diagnostic jobs to determine THC levels/intoxication, molecular biology and bioinformatic jobs to continue to explore and unlike therapeutically relevant molecules from the Cannabis genome and synthetic biology jobs to increase cannabinoid yields and reduce production costs. Finally, there is currently a dearth of qualified job candidates with scientific backgrounds to fill entry level grow and extraction jobs in the Cannabis industry.

At present, the industry is mainly dominated by long time Cannabis growers, people who use marijuana on a regular basis and some moxy business people/investors who see an an enormous upside for the Cannabis industry. Put simply, now is the time to get in on the ground floor of an industry that is exploding and will ultimately become a legal multibillion dollar a year industry. While I’m sure that neither you nor your parents/family envisioned a career in Cannabis, the jobs are there and ripe for the picking (pun intended).

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

Cannabis-Derived Pharmaceuticals: The Next Generation?

Posted in BioBusiness, Uncategorized

My colleagues AJ Fabrizio and Evan Nison of TerraTech Corp and I just published an article in the July 2015 issue of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology entitled “Cannabis-Derived Pharmaceuticals

The paper details the emerging field of Cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals, the companies that are developing these products and an up-to-date review of US clinical trials that are being conducted to garner FDA-approval of this new class of therapeutics.

Check it out!!!!!!!!!

Until next time,

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (there is a future in the Cannabis industry!)

Cannabis Derived Pharmaceuticals The Next Frontier?

Posted in BioBusiness

I wrote an article on the emerging medical marijuana and cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals market for Life Science Leader.

Please click here to view!

It was a very interesting article to research and fun to write Please let me know your thoughts and feedback!!!

 

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (not when you are high of course)

Medical Marijuana Use Is Legal in New Jersey

Posted in Career Advice

At long last, marijuana for medical use is legal in New Jersey. As one of his more courageous acts while in office, outgoing Governor John Corzine signed the act into law late yesterday making New Jersey the fourteenth state to legalize medical pot. Four more states and the District of Columbia are expected to follow suit by year’s end.

Many things are driving this sea change. The federal government last year announced that it would no longer prosecute medical marijuana smokers in states where it is legal, while the National Institutes of Health has begun funding research on medicinal use in a reversal of a long-standing policy.

Gallup Polls show a solid majority of Americans sympathetic to therapeutic marijuana use.

Unlike California’s medical marijuana law which allows the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by anyone who possess a "written or oral recommendation" from their physician that he or she "would benefit from medical marijuana," New Jersey’s version requires patient identification cards and state-monitored dispensaries — easing fears that medical use will fuel illegal sales and teenage substance abuse.

While cannabis preparations have been used to relieve nausea and pain since ancient times, research involving medical uses of marijuana was under funded and in many instances discouraged according to an article in today’s New York Times. But over the last 15 years, research on the body’s cannabinoid receptors has begun to decipher the chemistry and biology of the positive effects of cannabinoids especially in the areas of glaucoma and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting experienced by patients being treated for cancer. More recently, clinical trials have shown that these benefits outweigh the concerns about addiction, heart and respiratory diseases, cancers, and psychoses — at least, with short-term use.

Marinol, a synthetic cannabinoid pill, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating AIDS-related wasting and chemotherapy-related nausea. But many patients say choking down a slow-acting pill simply doesn’t provide the convenient and immediate relief of inhaling marijuana smoke. A new drug, Sativex, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, may renew the debate. A cannabinoid-based oral spray, Sativex is approved in Canada for treating pain in multiple sclerosis and advanced cancer. The company is now completing the clinical testing needed for approval in Europe and the United States.

While I don’t endorse or use illegal drugs (any more), there is no question that medical marijuana helps patients deal with chronic and, in some instances, severely debilitating conditions that impact the overall quality of their lives. I have long contended that just because a substance is deemed illegal it doesn’t negate potential medically-beneficial properties. An example of legal drugs that don’t have any therapeutic benefits and cause much more morbidity and mortality than marijuana are cigarettes and alcohol. Need I say more?

All I gotta say is that we have come a long way since I saw the film Refer Madness while growing up and coming of age in the late 60s. For those of you who haven’t seen the film it is funny whether you are straight or high! object width="445" height="364">

 

 

 

 

I guess the nation—well NJ anyway—is finally going to pot!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Toking (only for medicinal purposes of course)!!!!!!!!!!!

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