Most of us know that cannabis can be used for things like pain relief, but what most of us certainly don’t know is that it can also be used to kill cancer cells. Dr. Haleli Sharir discusses the use of cannabis as an alternative to chemotherapy when done in the context of personalized medicine (as opposed to standardized medicine.) Though she is not entirely opposed to standardization, Sharir firmly believes that a disease cannot be effectively treated unless one fully understands the cannabis extract, the source of the disease, and a person’s genetic background. She reminds us that “diseases are connected. Tumors are connected. You cannot separate the tumor from the person.”
Seth Adler: Dr. Haleli Sharir joins us. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host Seth Adler. Download episodes on canneconomy.com or wherever you currently get your podcasts. Canneconomy.com has a ton of direct insight from policy, business, and scientists in the space. First a word from MedMen and then Dr. Haleli Sharir. Med men continues to expand its footprint on the cannabis landscape, opening new stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the iconic Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. They've also opened a 45000 foot high tech cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Nevada. The company has reached a one billion dollar valuation, making it the country's first cannabis unicorn. And it's just the beginning. Learn how MedMen is building the future of cannabis today at medmen.com.
And so we're here at Canna Tech. And doctor you did a great job of sharing with us a little bit of your research on cancer. That's the big one. we've spoken with many academic scientists who are doing tremendous things. This is a steep hill to climb I would imagine. Is that fair?
Dr Haleli S.: Yes. Since there is no indication for cancer.
Seth Adler: How do you mean that for a non scientist?
Dr Haleli S.: So cannabis is prescribed for epilepsy. That would be one example. For a pain, another example.
Seth Adler: Yes.
Dr Haleli S.: But it's not being prescribed for cancer. And by not being prescribed I mean that you cannot go to the doctor and it will give you cannabis as a treatment.
Seth Adler: For cancer.
Dr Haleli S.: For cancer.
Seth Adler: No country, nowhere on earth.
Dr Haleli S.: No country, nowhere on earth.
Seth Adler: Some will give you a cannabis for recovering from chemotherapy, right? There is that.
Dr Haleli S.: I don't know-
Seth Adler: But that's not even close to what we're talking about.
Dr Haleli S.: Correct.
Seth Adler: So where did you begin? How did you start with this cannabis? You look like a regular person, very educated person. Why would you ever do this to yourself, try to solve cancer through cannabis?
Dr Haleli S.: So my story starts long back.
Seth Adler: Okay. Go.
Dr Haleli S.: So I did my graduate studies Ben Gurion University.
Seth Adler: Sure.
Dr Haleli S.: In Negev. And I worked on a zinc sensing receptor, which belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor family. As you may know the cannabinoid receptors they belong to the same exact family.
Seth Adler: CB1, CB2.
Dr Haleli S.: That's correct.
Seth Adler: Here we are. We are family.
Dr Haleli S.: Yeah. So yes, we are family and we are the same class of family, class A of G protein-coupled ,receptors. So when I wanted to pursue doctoral studies I made it clear that I want to continue in the field. And then Dr. Marie Abboud who is really, really known in the cannabis field, she relocated from San Francisco to Philadelphia and opened the lab at the Center for Substance Abuse in Philadelphia. And at the time there was another candidate, GPR 55 was a potential cannabinoid receptor. So she was looking for someone who was familiar with G protein-coupled receptors. She interviewed me and she decided to hire me.
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