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Spotlight - Methadone to Marijuana - December 2019


Michiganders have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, particularly that police actions against marijuana have nearly ground to a halt. In addition, our elected officials now fully support our ‘free the weed’ movement; and Michigan friendly scientists and doctors are in the forefront of creating safer and more effective cannabis-related products. Among these is a product called Parachute, which enables cannabis users to land safely when they get “too high.”

We checked out Pure Green, the company that created Parachute (which is easily administered via special sublingual tablets) and found an amazing scientist and a doctor behind it all. The scientist, Steve Goldner, actually invented the liquid form of Methadone in 1972 (when he was just 23 years old) to help his heroin addicted Viet Nam veteran buddies.

“My buddies were coming back from the Viet Nam War and some of them had picked up the heroin habit. I wanted to help them,” Steve explains. “Most people thought that these heroin addicts were just ’scum of the earth.’ But they were my buddies, valiant war fighters who had gone down bad roads. I searched the medical literature for remedies that might ease pain, and discovered some molecules invented in Germany in the 1930’s. Along with my mentor, John Broich, I repurposed the molecules, made them into a drinkable liquid, added Tang for flavor and color, and then Metamucil to ease constipation. That made a one-ounce drink with enough active ingredient to replace heroin for one day. It’s called Methadone and I hoped it would get people off heroin, and then over time they could reduce their dosage and ultimately get off of the Methadone.”

Steve was working as a forensic toxicologist at the New York Medical Examiner’s Office at that time. He helped solve dozens of difficult murder cases using science while working on 18,000 autopsies. He says, “There was a saying over the front door of the morgue: ‘This is the place where death delights in helping the living.’ So, I had to help my buddies.”

Steve built a drug manufacturing company to produce Methadone and ran it for three years. He sold it to a large drug company that built more production centers worldwide, helping to save more than 20 million people from heroin addiction. Then he went to law school, becoming a highly sought out attorney specializing in FDA issues. He’s gotten more than 250 medical devices and 20 drugs approved.

But how Steve became a famous cannabis scientist (he invented THC and CBD water-soluble molecules) and the CEO of Pure Green is more compelling. As he explains, “One of my buddies came back from Viet Nam with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was a true hero who had saved his platoon from an ambush and sustained serious wounds. He never got over the anxiety and night fears from that war. He appreciated that my Methadone helped our buddies kick heroin, but he kept asking me to make a drug for his extreme anxiety. I noticed that he got worse when he was drinking or using pills from the VA, but he was calm, happy and pain free when he smoked marijuana. I told him that he didn’t need me to make a drug, as he already one. But Pot was illegal. He made me take a vow that I would create a real PTSD medicine. John died seven years ago.  The cannabis legalization revolution allowed me to make these pure medications for PTSD, and a dozen more, from cannabis ingredients.”

Pure Green’s latest product, Parachute, is a great example of the cannabis industry solving its own problems. As people sometimes get too high from edibles, Parachute is made from pure CBD and four terpenes, working in eight minutes to lessen the effects of an intense high. The CBD is made water-soluble using Goldner’s patent-pending process and then pressed into a fast disintegrating tablet that gets the cannabinoids into a person’s blood stream in 60 seconds, and throughout the body in eight minutes.

Goldner is pretty frank when it comes to discussing his views on cannabis, and how it has gotten a bad reputation that it doesn’t deserve. “Cannabis is so safe, it’s ridiculous. No drug developer has ever seen molecules like the ones that the cannabis plant produces when it comes to safety and efficacy. Nobody has ever died from using the cannabis plant—in centuries of worldwide use. And cannabis is effective for pain relief, anxiety relief, sleep aid and nearly two dozen other real-life problems. Plus, it is easy to use.”

Goldner’s work is different from most other cannabis processors across the country, because of the amount of clinical testing Pure Green conducts on its tablet products. “Cannabis is real medicine. Scientists have been unable to study it because it has been illegal. But this situation is changing. We’ve run eight clinical trials, with many of them posted on www.clinicaltrials.gov, the National Institutes of Health clearinghouse for significant clinical trials. We are running three clinical trials right now for pain relief from diabetes, osteoarthritis, and for women with painful menstrual periods. We’ve met with the FDA several times and they have given FAST TRACK status to our dog pain relief tablets.”

These clinical trials are important because medical marijuana patients find that some products work better for their symptoms than others. There’s no “one-size fits all” when it comes to getting relief, and as a result, educated patients are not only paying attention to the THC/CBD potency, but also to the terpenes present in products. This balance produces an entourage effect and is responsible for symptom-specific relief.

“The entourage effect is very real” Steve explains. “Physicians treat cancer patients with a combination of medications, called ‘drug cocktails.’ The FDA usually insists that each drug has only one active ingredient. That’s why doctors combine medications, tailoring mixtures for each patient. We used that idea to combine pure THC with pure CBD and curated terpenes. Then volunteers tried our tablets in clinical trials to learn what mixtures work best to help them sleep, relieve pain and relieve anxiety.”

So, what does Goldner think about how easy it is for consumers to get accurate information about the products they’re using (especially flower)? “Relying on strain names is not as straight forward as consumers would like to believe” he says. “Some growers and dispensaries change the names on cannabis strains to maximize their profits. Saying this will not make me popular with some people, but I think it’s important to be honest to our customers and patients. So how do we prove honesty? How do we make the best possible cannabis products?  Simple–we lab test every batch multiple times, we publish our results, and I put my name on the license. Plus we are working to get our products approved by FDA to make these medications available worldwide. “

While Steve works on worldwide availability, you can find Pure Green tablets, including Parachute, at provisioning centers across the state of Michigan. For more information on their family of products, visit www.pure.green. If you have any specific questions about the products or their formulation, email contact@pure.green. Steve responds personally to the majority of questions of a scientific nature.

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