The first time Josh Crossney organized the Cannabis Science Conference in Portland, Oregon, was in April of 2016. Without federal legalization, the science behind cannabis is severely restricted, and remains a largely unexplored area of research. Crossney wanted to create an event to help change that.
That first conference drew around 70 vendors and 800 attendees. It was small, but it was a start.
“When I got into this, I realized there were a lot of conferences and trade shows focused on the business of cannabis, but not really the science and medicine behind it,” Crossney told Baltimore Business Journal. “That’s really our focus.”
By the third year of the conference there were over 50 vendors and 3,000 attendees. The event had more than doubled in size. It was clear there was a lot of interest from the industry to learn more about the science behind this plant and its medicinal properties.
The Cannabis Science Conference is now the world’s largest and fastest growing cannabis science conference. And right now applications are open for scientists and industry leaders who have a topic they want to present at the 2023 conference.
The conference focuses on analytical science, medical cannabis, cultivation, and psychedelics. It brings in thought leaders, scientists, pioneers in cutting-edge medical applications and industry suppliers to give presentations, teach workshops and run panel discussions on topics ranging from lab testing and quality control, to academic research on cannabis, the potential health benefits for cancer and/or opioid addicted patients, health benefits for pets and more.
Every year, the conference also includes “Cannabis Bootcamps.” These full-day, off-site interactive workshops get into the weeds of cannabis cultivation methods, extraction sciences, sample preparation, analytical testing and edibles manufacturing. It’s an opportunity to learn about techniques, technologies and instruments first hand, while also networking with industry experts.
Celebrities are usually a fixture of the Cannabis Science Conference as well. Montel Williams, the actor and TV host, spoke at the 2022 Baltimore conference on how he used medicinal cannabis to deal with his multiple sclerosis symptoms after his diagnosis in 1999. Ricki Lake and Fran Drescher have also made appearances in the past. Crossney says having celebrities discuss cannabis topics draws national attention to the event and breaks down the stigma surrounding the drug.
But the mainstays of the Cannabis Science Conference are always its featured speakers. These scientists and industry leaders have been selected to present abstracts on unique and groundbreaking topics in cannabis science.
Last year’s lineup included Dr. Dedi Meiri, an assistant professor and head of the laboratory of cancer biology and cannabinoid research at Technion —
Israel Institute of Technology. His work revolves around identifying which cannabis strains treat specific diseases, and profiling cannabis compounds given to Israel’s 6,000 medical cannabis patients.
Dr. Susan Audino, a scientific advisor and chemistry laboratory consultant, also presented, discussing how to efficiently, effectively and confidently test cannabis in lab settings to get the most accurate and useful results. Dr. John MacKay, a visiting lecturer at California State University who specializes in analytical instrumentation and development in both laboratory and pilot-scale settings, also presented his work.
And now through Jan. 20, submissions for abstracts are open for the 2023 Cannabis Science Conference. The conference is seeking abstracts on topics in analytical science (compliance testing of potency, terpenes and pesticides; safety, efficacy, 101/best practices, regulations, innovation and trends), medical cannabis, cultivation (genetics, pest management, controlled environment agriculture, latest developments and innovations, extraction techniques, and curing/manufacturing/processing), psychedelics, and other cannabis-related science topics.
Abstracts can be submitted as an oral or poster abstract online on the conference’s submissions portal.
The 2023 Cannabis Science Conference will be held from April 19-21 at the Portland Expo Center. Tickets are available as exhibit-only passes (without access to oral presentations) and full access passes. Canna Boot Camp passes are sold separately.