Jeremy Plumb has been called the Bill Nye of pot science. His enthusiasm bubbles over when he talks about the plant’s medical and therapeutic properties. The Willamette Weekly even called him Portland’s mad scientist of cannabis.
But don’t let the nicknames throw you off. Plumb is one of the most respected cannabis researchers in the world.
As the executive director of the Open Cannabis Project, which is researching the cannabis genome, Plumb is one of the first people lawmakers, and others who need to know, turn to when they have questions about weed.
Plumb is on a mission to use science, medicine and marketing to redefine marijuana
“This is the first moment where we have all of the resources of science and modern insight to meet this amazing task, which is not just about understanding phytochemistry, but the reflecting of our own physiology,” Plumb told the Vanguard.
His state-of-the-art cannabis farm, Newcleus Nurseries, is practicing sophisticated ag-tech and regenerative farming practices.
Plumb told the Willamette Weekly in an interview:
“I’d like to demonstrate cannabis as a wedge to demonstrate ecological horticulture, illustrate cannabinopathic medicine, and demonstrate the positive force cannabis has played economically already—$16 billion in tax revenue in the state. We’re sitting at the precipice of technologies that will transform the world—the use of the technologies of cannabis for ag-tech. No other space is receiving the kind of investment the cannabis industry is bringing.”
In the same way NASA research yielded all manner of useful technology, so might cannabis science and farming.
“We’re at this tiny fringe, but as we grow according to the scale of the economy surrounding cannabis, we take agriculture on this journey out of green revolution, away from harvest monocultures and pesticides,” Plumb said.
In addition to agriculture, cannabis therapeutics and exploring technology to improve the quality of life is on Plumb’s mind.
He is convinced that cannabis as medicine will one day become mainstream, despite the false claims and government setbacks.
“All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, he explained. This plant lets us modulate this system in novel ways. We know enough to do this in dangerous ways, but cannabis is one of the most benign plants on the planet.”
Plumb says chemotype is the most important indicator for consumers—it’s about how much and which kinds of compounds exist in each flower. He says THC and CBD are just the tip of the iceberg and that strains are often mislabeled for marketing purposes.
Plumb told Portland Monthly that even the more evolved descriptors that typically measure THC and CBD can mask the real complexity of pot’s potential.
“As long as cannabis is poorly measured, it will never be taken seriously in the health care community, and patients will never be able to rely on consistent outcomes,” Plumb noted. “The compounds cause the therapeutic benefit.”
If Plumb has his way, says Mowgli Holmes, a colleague on the genome project, cannabis culture will shift from Doritos-binge jokes to a respected alternative for an overmedicated society.
For now, says Holmes, Plumb is an outlier in an industry focused on profits and getting people stoned. But that will change.
“The way Jeremy is going will carry the day,” he said. “The high-end market will follow his lead.”