Due to the regulations on cannabis that are still in place thanks to its Schedule I listing, there is still so much we don’t understand about the plant and all its mysteries. Through their research, the team at Juva Life discovered two molecules coined JUVA-019 and JUVA-041, that hold enormous power to help heal inflammation. Doug Chloupek of Juva Life gave us the inside scoop on what his company has been learning about cannabis compounds and how it can change the landscape of cannabis.
Can you give me some background on the research you all have been doing on cannabis compounds?
I realized back in about 2013 that there were some fundamental flaws in the cannabis industry. I’ve been commercially running cannabis businesses since 2010 In California, including getting the first permit there for the first licensed research and manufacturing center in the state of California. Through the years, I have seen how, as much as you would have thought the industry has progressed, it’s really been somewhat stagnant.
The industry has had not been able to progress much because of regulatory issues and the federal government’s impedance on accessing cannabinoids. We have not really had the level or the caliber of non-cannabis people doing pharmacology and true scientific research at a level that’s really needed.
While we all know cannabis holds a therapeutic value, while we know anecdotally from working with patients for 15 years, we know cannabis can work well for neurologic issues, shakes, and Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, but these have all been anecdotal assessments. And so the real question that I never asked until some of my scientists came in with this outside, Big Pharma kind of perspective was: is there something in cannabis that is the mode of action or driver? What is the mode of action behind this?
So we started off and gave it one of the deepest dives in industry research, spent a couple years logging every compound in the cannabis plant, all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, all the acidic compounds, in order to learn more. We know with THC and CBD, while we think they have a high affinity for anti-inflammation and pain, on their own, they hold little to no therapeutic value. We wanted to find the mechanism that was making it all work.
A lot of cannabis folks are wary of pharmaceutical drugs because of the misinformation against cannabis and the greed of the industry. And then folks who rely on Western medicine are often wary of cannabis and other alternative medicine sources that have not been FDA-approved. How do you plan to bridge that gap?
To be perfectly honest, coming from my background, I am somewhat anti-Pharma, even though we eventually plan to sell our company so that the pharmaceutical industry can make medicine. The reason I say that is, we don’t have a healthcare state. Our pharmaceutical industry and our government have neglected human health in our society. We are a disease care state because sick people create disease, which creates a monetary monopoly over people’s bodily autonomy.
We need to get to a place where we have a healthcare system, and if we really cared about people’s health as a country, then we would be more active in encouraging people to be healthy. I come from the perspective of, we want to treat people at their root, so we can either prevent or remediate the diseases from happening instead of just waiting until it happens.
It’s always been a mission of mine to ensure that we can kind of bridge that gap because there is massive mistrust of Big Pharma from huge sections of our population, and there’s massive mistrust of this anecdotal, witch doctor feeling cannabis can sometimes have where it’s supposed to be able to fix everything.
What would you like the pharmaceutical industry to look like in the future?
I’d like to see the level of toxicity in pills that humans are either forced to take or need to take dramatically reduced so that when we have to take something, it is still natural or plant-based, whether it is synthetically made or naturally derived. That way, we can live healthier lifestyles on a day-to-day basis.