Believe it or not, there are universities that research ice cream, soap and a whole lot of other products you probably never imagined a school for.
Dr. Malik Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant who opened Pueblo-based Nuvue Pharma in 2015, believes everything that is sold or produced for a consumer needs research to improve it.
“Good research is needed so that everyone can offer a better product in whatever the marketplace, including marijuana,” he said.
Hasan founded the Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR) in June 2016 at Colorado State University at Pueblo through a partnership with the school, the state of Colorado and Pueblo County.
The institute has funded research for a variety of projects in addition to hosting international research conferences.
However, all of the clinical research that has been conducted at the ICR so far has been observational, Hasan said, adding that the issue with those types of studies is they can be unreliable because they don't test the cannabis' chemical composition.
"The consistency of the product and what molecules or combination of molecules treat what — scientific research — all has to be worked out to use it as medicine," he said. "The Federal Drug Administration is not going to approve anything that is not consistent. You need to know what the dose should be to treat a condition just like with any other medicine."
Cannabis has 545 biologically active molecules, according to Hasan.
"We need to be able to basically identify which molecules or which combination of molecules is helpful for treating PTSD, migraines, glaucoma and so on," he said. "There are 80-plus conditions that in observational studies marijuana has been effective. We need to take that research a step further in the future by breaking down the molecules."
Hasan is actively working with state and federal officials to expand cannabis research to include more scientific studies.
He plans to continue growing the ICR, so it remains a great asset for the entire cannabis industry.
"If any other company wants to come and take advantage of what the ICR has to offer, we welcome them and encourage them to do so," he said. "For the cannabis industry to keep growing in a good way and have better products for consumers, we need to have a research institute that is making information available, and where people can be trained."
Oftentimes, Hasan said there is an issue with growers falsely claiming they have proper skills to produce quality cannabis.
"Basically, there is a lot of fluff in this industry… people pretending to be experts who are not experts," he said. "I want the ICR to help correct that by supplying companies professionally trained workers.”
"I have a zero-tolerance policy for any sloppy work, just like any other good business owner does, and that's what the ICR helps guarantee."
Nuvue Pharma has three retail locations in Southern Colorado (4740 Dillon Drive, Pueblo; 2304 E. Platte Ave., Colorado Springs; 1400 Van Buren St., Trinidad) as well as a 10,000-square-foot grow facility and an 800-square-foot extraction facility in Pueblo. The company employs xx Coloradans between its sales staff, chemists and budtenders.
The company sells a variety of cannabis products, including but not limited to flower and live resin concentrates like sugar, jelly, sauce and crystals.
"Better products; better pricing," Hasan said. "That's very important to us. We don’t skimp on anything. There are no small details, and there are no small jobs. Everything that we do is important to us."
Visit nuvuepharma.com for more information.