Podcast

Canadian Hemp & Cutting Edge CBD Research, With Ascension Sciences

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The Ministry of Hemp Podcast
Canadian Hemp & Cutting Edge CBD Research, With Ascension Sciences
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With hemp off to a shaky start in the U.S., we thought we’d take a look at Canadian hemp with help from an industry expert.

In episode 67 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, our host Matt talks with Tomas Skrinskas, Founder and CEO of Ascension Sciences. As a CEO of a Canadian company that works with pharmaceutical companies in developing CBD based medicine, Tomas has a different perspective on the hemp market and how the Canadian government legislates hemp.

Tomas is also an expert on nanomedicines, so Matt and Tomas get into the topic of bioavailability. Ascension Sciences works to make CBD-based medicine more effective through nano-encapsulation, and he explains future of nano-encapsulation of CBD in drinks.

Matt also mentions our recent guide to CBD and CBN products that help you sleep.

About Tomas Skrinskas & Ascension Sciences

For over 15 years, Tomas Skrinskas has been at the leading edge of transformative health care technologies including computer assisted surgery, surgical robotics and genetic nanomedicines. His career began with research and engineering which provided a strong foundation for the business development and operations roles that followed. Tomas founded Ascension Sciences (Twitter: @AscensionSci), a R&D laboratory focused on nanoparticle development for cannabinoid products and therapeutics, in January 2019.

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A photo of a hemp leaf on top of a red maple leaf, symbolizing Canadian hemp. In a bubble insert, a headshot of Tomas Skrinskas, CEO of Ascension Sciences.
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Tomas Skrinskas (insert) joined the Ministry of Hemp podcast to discuss Canadian hemp law and culture, including regulations around CBD, as well as his own research into CBD nanoparticles.

Canadian perspective on hemp & CBD: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete transcript of episode 67 of the Ministry of Hemp podcast, “Canadian hemp and CBD”:

Ep 67 Transcript:

Matt Baum:
I’m Matt Baum. And this is the Ministry of Hemp podcast, brought to you by ministryofhemp.com, America’s leading advocate for hemp and hemp education.

Matt Baum:
Welcome back to the Ministry of Hemp podcast. And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. Nice to have you. Today on the show, we are going to talk about another way pharmaceutical companies are making CBD more readily available to your body after you ingest it, or even rub it on your skin.

Matt Baum:
I’ve spoken about bioavailability on this show before, Episode 62, specifically. In that episode, I spoke with Dr. Andrew Yates and Professor Saoirse [O’Sullivan 00:00:00:43], who developed a cocrystal that will improve the bioavailability of CBD. In a nutshell, your body doesn’t want to absorb this molecule very well. So we have to come up with creative ways, to get it to absorb into your system. Now, another way of doing this is nanotechnology, specifically nanoencapsulation.

Matt Baum:
Today on the show, my conversation is with Dr. Tomas Skrinskas, founder and CEO of Ascension Sciences. And what they do, is work with nanoencapsulation. Basically, taking these molecules and putting them in a really, really tiny container that helps your body absorb it. This is a Canadian company, so we were also able to talk about what it’s like to develop hemp-based medicine in Canada, as opposed to the US. And Tomas had some really interesting points that I hadn’t thought of. Here’s my conversation with Tomas Skrinskas, CEO of Ascension Sciences.

Getting to know Canadian hemp and CBD

Matt Baum:
Tomas, welcome to the Ministry of Hemp.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. Thanks.

Matt Baum:
Glad to have you.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, this is… I’m stoked. This is great.

Matt Baum:
I think you’re our first Canadian guest.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Outstanding.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. So we can put a pin in the Ministry of Hemp map now, which is cool.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. That’s somewhat surprising, but no. Happy to speak for all of Canada, and to thank you. No, we’re happy to be here.

Matt Baum:
Perfect. So let’s talk about hemp in Canada, real quick. Hemp in Canada, and cannabis in Canada, period. Very different from hemp and marijuana, in the United States. You guys have quite the head start on us. Can you give us a quick little historical background of where you’re at, compared to where we are?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, I can. My entry into the industry, the space, is actually really only been in the last two years. So, a deep history buff, I am not. But what I’ve learned, in my short time is, I think there’s advantages and disadvantages to what we’re doing. So, one example is the CBD, an explosion of CBD, from hemp in the US, it’s actually a little more flexible or a little easier to work with those materials-

Matt Baum:
Really?

Tomas Skrinskas:
… or to develop products. Because it’s in the Farm Bill, and it’s all above board, and it’s easy-peasy. On the Canadian side, we have that CBD aspect that’s from hemp, but there’s just a lot more red flags and red tape and attention drawn, to make sure where it’s coming from and what it’s used for. So for us for example, we just assume and we treat our CBD, like it’s THC. We have to report and track and-

Matt Baum:
Oh, wow.

Tomas Skrinskas:
We can’t lose a drop of it. And then, that’s just to be certain that we’re doing everything right, because regulations are changing so fast. So all that to say, I missed the whole history part of your question, I just avoided it.

Matt Baum:
No, no, this is perfect.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But the difference-

Matt Baum:
This is perfect.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But the differences are there, that it’s sometimes easier, sometimes harder, but yeah. It’s, different.

Canadian hemp is nationally regulated

Matt Baum:
As I understand it, it’s one set of rules for the whole country, though. Basically it’s not province by province, if you will. Whereas, here in the States, we have different states with completely different cannabis laws. Some you can’t even drive cannabis through, let alone… Or even hemp, it’s nuts. So Canada is nationwide, though.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Correct. Yeah. There are some age differences, just like alcohol consumption is different in Quebec, and the Prairies and NBC, it changes by one year as you move around, and that goes for cannabis as well.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But yeah, across the country, we ship samples and all the rest like, bank. No problem. And all that is easy-peasy.

Matt Baum:
See, that’s a huge step up from us, right now. So, we’re having a lot of trouble. It’s about smaller companies, as well. When you turn and say, “Well, I can’t accept credit cards, because we can’t figure out if anything is insured,” and credit card companies don’t want to get in on that yet. It’s very difficult. And I think we look to Canada… You said, there’s a lot of red tape. We’re not, we’d kill for that red tape. At least there’s red tape. And we know we have to cut it, and get through it. We don’t even know, right now. Like, “Please give us some red tape, please.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. For product development and the research that we want to do, we want it, we’re completely above board and all the rest, but we do compete with people who just neglect the legacy market. It’s called the legacy market-

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Just neglects it, and keeps going. And they’ll become legal, and the government helps them become legal, so that’s the part that kind of pisses me off. Like, I’m doing it right. And some people are going to be doing it right, eventually, but they have this little advantage. They’re just kind of chugging along.

Matt Baum:
You say there’s a legacy market. Is that almost, when the laws were passed, or people that were already doing it this way? And Canada is nice enough to be like, “Well, you guys catch up when you can.” Is that, seriously, what’s going on?

Tomas Skrinskas:
That’s exactly what’s going on. And then there’s big consultancies and people helping them go from the gray market to the legal market. It’s the reality. Yeah. They can’t just shutter, or burn the crops or all the rest. There’s systems in place to help them become legal. And, I think that’s good.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
It’s, fine.

Matt Baum:
But I assume there’s a lot of people that are dragging their feet, because this costs money.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Exactly. Yeah. The licensing process, you have to spend money to out… Security, and record-keeping, and all that-

Matt Baum:
Of course.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Quality, and all that, absolutely costs money. And it’s going to, some people won’t be able to make it, and maybe they’ll take that risk. And, some people won’t. Time will tell, time will tell.

Introducing Ascension Sciences

Matt Baum:
Right. Let’s talk about your background, for a minute. You said you got into this about two years ago. Tell me about Ascension Sciences.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yes. So, I had always been in the medical field. I did a master’s in biomedical engineering, and it wasn’t in particles and drug developments, so to speak. But all that to say, healthcare and hospitals and wellness, has always been part of my upbringing and then education, and career choices. And that brought me to a company called Precision NanoSystems where I came by nanotechnology, and nanoparticles. Meanwhile, they were doing, or they are doing, genetic medicine. But I saw the opportunity to mash that up with cannabinoids, which are essentially insoluble compounds, insoluble drugs, as we see them-

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… [crosstalk 00:08:23] therapeutic. So they require these types of delivery systems and cocrystals. I listened to your absolutely handy podcast on bioavailability and cocrystals.

Matt Baum:
That was awesome, right? Those guys were so cool.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, no, they’re legit. No, Artelo is doing real stuff. That’s the echelon, or that’s where we’re placing ourselves, we’re in health to therapeutic development. And so, all that to say is, this health technology background, mashed it up and then saw an opportunity. And that’s when Ascension Sciences started.

Matt Baum:
Why cannabis though? What drew you to that? It seems like there’s a lot… I don’t know if it’s safer, in Canada. I know Europe, and it sounds like Canada, definitely have better rules in place for people to develop these types of drugs. Where in the States, pharmaceuticals are still, they’re definitely planning. Don’t get me wrong. They’ve got these patents, and they’re ready as soon as they feel like it’s safe.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yes.

Matt Baum:
But, what drew you to cannabis?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Somewhat opportunistic. The market, and legalization, it just lowered the barrier for the research to be done. If your angle or your, if you’re prodding for my epiphany around the plant, and things of that nature, I think it’s a tool kit in any health and wellness situation. You don’t take your Tylenol to hurt your toe, without realizing that it’s your small shoes, that’s hurting your toe-

Matt Baum:
Right, exactly.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… take your shoes off. So in mental health and inflammation, and anxiety, it’s a tool. And I recognize that, it’s certainly been part of some situations for me. But, I’m opportunistic, as well. [crosstalk 00:10:16] there’s-

Matt Baum:
There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s a real answer, and I appreciate that. [inaudible 00:10:20].

Tomas Skrinskas:
Thank you. Yeah.

Matt Baum:
It’s nice to say, “I had a magic moment, and the sun hit me just right. And I looked at the [crosstalk 00:10:26] –

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
… [crosstalk 00:10:27] and it spoke.” And you’re like, “That’s great,” and all.

Tomas Skrinskas:
This is, it’s a little more calculated. It’s a little more calculated, than that. But…

Nanoparticle research and bioavailability

Matt Baum:
There’s nothing wrong with that, at all. So, what kind of stuff are you guys working on? You were talking about nanotechnology and nanoparticle development. Those are words that are thrown around a lot, and they’re not always thrown around by people that seem to know what it means. I’m not putting you on the spot. You seem to know exactly where you’re coming from on this, but I’ve definitely interviewed people where I’ve said, “Okay, well, tell me about this nanoencapsulation in your body balm,” or whatever. And they’re like, “Oh, it makes it really small, so it just slips right through.” I’m like, “Well, what does that mean? What are we talking about, here?”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. I kind of have the verbatim definition of nanotechnology. It’s just manipulating materials, molecules, at a very small scale for some advantage or purpose. So, in drug development, a lot of drugs require nanoparticles to be delivered, around the body. The best analogy is, like a delivery truck. The nanoparticle is the truck. Your drug is inside the truck. And the truck is driving around, getting to the right place at the right time, in the right concentration. And you can design this truck, this nanoparticle, to do those things.

Tomas Skrinskas:
And that’s where things get interesting. You’re replacing parts. You’re making big trucks, small trucks-

Matt Baum:
Sure, sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… all for various benefits, in your administration. Is it in your… Are you swallowing it? Is it under your tongue? Is it on your skin? You can design these to aid, or to tune release, depending on what you want and how you want it done.

Matt Baum:
So speaking to that, you, we mentioned cocrystals, and whatnot. I learned recently in that podcast, that your body naturally does not want to absorb these cannabinoids, because of the nature of the molecule itself. Can you shrink something down small enough, so that it is absorbed better? Or do you always need a cocrystal, carrier type thing?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, that’s a good question, or a good point to clarify. So, we’re not shrinking CBD. We’re-

Matt Baum:
Shrinking is the wrong word. Yeah. Anyone who says they are, is lying, basically.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. Correct, but we’re packaging it, and we’re protecting it with other lipids or, things that, a shell around it. And we make it more stable, things of that nature. And cocrystals are, I would say, a competing technology to nanoparticles. When it comes to bioavailability. So you can, the fancy term is functionalize, the CBD. Where you attach something to it, and it becomes more soluble, more bioavailable. Our approach is to package all of the CBD into this matzo ball, and the matzo ball itself, is the soluble component.

Matt Baum:
I’m Jewish, so now you’re just making me hungry. Thanks.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Okay, sorry. I can, I [crosstalk 00:14:02] on that. That’s-

Matt Baum:
No, that’s perfect.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. And then, there’s pros and cons, from IP to manufacturing costs, to actual reasons to do one or the other. For example, in nanoparticles, we like to draw attention to tuned release. So, long lasting or fast acting? So for pain, we can have a particle that releases it slowly, whereas a cocrystal, it might absorb it immediately, have the effect now for-

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… acute pain. So there’s all manner of reasons to do one or the other.

Fine tuning how fast CBD works

Matt Baum:
So in nanoparticle technology, we’ll call it, you can actually tune it to release fast or slow? Or is it a type of thing where, like a cocrystal is always going to be a fast release, and you have more control when it comes down to nanoparticles?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. This is a slippery slope. Where-

Matt Baum:
Or does it just not work like that? I have no idea. [crosstalk 00:15:18].

Tomas Skrinskas:
So, your tablet, your gel cap, has all sorts of other components in it. So the gel cap can dissolve slowly, so that’ll impart slow release-

Matt Baum:
Okay, sure. Sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… [crosstalk 00:15:33] so you could put cocrystals in your slow release cap, or your slow release tablet. So you can attain different features from both sides, but combining the two as well. There’s no reason that we couldn’t put cocrystal CBD into a nanoparticle, and just to have it be that much more bioavailable, that much more controlled and tuned release. And that’s where you start to look at the indication.

Tomas Skrinskas:
So again, Artelo is getting a lot of press here, for their PTSD applications and mental health situations. You can start to target the brain or wherever you want these things to collect, preferentially, in your body. That’s another reason nanoparticles become interesting.

Matt Baum:
So theoretically, you could say, “Okay, I want to make a capsule that is good for pain,” and that’s going to go through the whole body. As opposed to a capsule that’s good for anxiety, which might target part of the brain, instead.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Correct. Yeah.

Matt Baum:
That’s very cool.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Where, yeah.

Matt Baum:
So what kind of cannabinoid products are you guys working on, right now? What kind of therapeutics? Are you looking at guiding things directly towards like, “I want to treat PTSD,” or. “I want to treat seizure disorders.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. Very good question. So, the short answer is, we do contract research. So we actually look for companies to bring their delivery problem, their therapeutic problem, to us. And we have kind of a toolkit of nanoparticles, and we can guide them, direct them, to some of our toolkit. And say, “This particle, it sounds like it will work. Let’s work together, and develop it further.” And that’s our preclinical development business model, at this stage of the company. That’s just somewhat of the reality of it being a six person, R & D licensed outfit. But we want to work with people like Artelo, and work with people like Cardiol and InMed, and GW Pharma. And, help them get their therapeutics to be more efficient, and help that many more people, by being better drugs.

Matt Baum:
So I own Company X, and theoretically, we’re working on a drug for Crohn’s disease. Very painful, and CBD or cannabinoids, have been shown to help a lot. I can come to your company and say, “How do we build this? What’s the best way to build it? What’s the best way to deliver it, and to target Crohn’s disease?” And that is what you work on.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Correct. Yep. So it-

Matt Baum:
That’s [crosstalk 00:18:39].

Tomas Skrinskas:
And then, Crohn’s is a good example, too. Because it has to get through the stomach, has to get through that environment. We want it to get as deep into the gut, into the large intestine, and there’s these like multi matrix systems that coat your gut lining. And so it’s, that’s a very interesting application. Or, you’re going the suppository route, so there’s… That’s all well, and good.

Matt Baum:
It’s a quick way to get there, I suppose, yeah.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, cut the corners. And, but nano, in those applications, is absolutely relevant.

Researching bioavailability and CBD treatments

Matt Baum:
So give me just, a rough idea. Let’s stick with Crohn’s disease, and we want to develop a pill. How does this start? You have to decide, like you said, it’s got to go through the mouth. It’s got to go through the stomach, and you want it to end in the large intestine, before it releases any of these particles. Are you designing every part of this drug, with that in mind? Like, “We’re going to need this thick of a capsule. We’re going to need this type of nanoencapsulation,” and whatnot?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. It’s a big undertaking. Yeah. This isn’t something that we even have all the expertise under one roof, that’s why we’re very much preclinical. And you could take our formulation, and put it on cells. You could put it into a small animal model, and that’s where we would start to step up and scope the project appropriately.

Matt Baum:
Sure.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But yeah, you’re not wrong where, we can guide you on a capsule technology, but what’s going in the capsule is our stuff.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Or if it’s in a dry tablet form, the excipient systems like the other components of the tablet. We’ll give you a short list, but ours is the active ingredient. And then, start to develop it further. But you certainly have to start with the active, and how it’s packaged. But it’s, developing a drug and dosage form, is many small steps. So we’re part of that value chain, if you will.

Matt Baum:
Let’s talk about your active ingredient. You said, “Our stuff is in it.” This is not the same hemp that you go to the CBD place. And they know the farmer, “And it was harvested down the street and we de cord it, and it’s beautiful,” and whatever. “And then we put it, and drip it under here, and it’s great.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
This is not the same stuff. What are you guys dealing with? Where does your CBD come from?

Tomas Skrinskas:
It’s isolate, or synthesized, CBD. And we’re trying to assess the differences, they have different, even those two broad categories have different implications on the particles. And then it also comes down to what segments you’re servicing. And like, health product or drug development? And do people care about naturally sourced? Or, the synthesized version is chemically equivalent, but the jury is still out on exactly what’s happening there.

Tomas Skrinskas:
And, yeah. The short answer is, we’re at that studying phase of all that. And then, we’ll happily characterize any nanoparticles from it with any source of active.

Matt Baum:
Just whatever works best, for whatever’s needed, more or less.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Correct. Yeah. All our R & D right now is with isolate, but that’s kind of almost [crosstalk 00:22:34]-

Matt Baum:
Why isolate? Can I ask? Does isolate, is it because it’s easier to point it, like a bullet, towards the target that you want?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Well, no, actually. It’s more stable in, a little bit will last longer in our fridge, just for practical reasons.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. Because it’s the kind of purist, or I guess rawest form of CBD, we can add things. It’s always easier to add things. So, it’s not in a carrier oil, so we can choose the carrier oil. If we want it to be refined or added with terpenes, to kind of bring it back to a distillate or a full spectrum format, for research purposes.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
That, we can do. So it allows us flexibility, and again, that’s somewhat of the shorter answer there.

Matt Baum:
So isolate, because it’s just, it’s easier to control. You know exactly what is there. And you can always add-

Tomas Skrinskas:
Correct.

Matt Baum:
… but you can’t… Like when you’re cooking. You can always put salt in, but it’s very hard to take it out. Basically.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yep.

Matt Baum:
Makes perfect sense.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
And you guys work with both the health and the pharmaceutical industry?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. That’s where we see it. We entertain calls for beverages or… We don’t make chocolate bars and gummy formulations. Dosages continue to be an issue.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Tomas Skrinskas:
And the application still exists, but yeah, it’s Startup 101, is just focus. Find something you’re good at. So, I even find those two segments, like health and wellness, and then pharma, still leaves us a little open to being too broad. But the technology is a little more relevant. Concentrations are higher, it’s not just five or 10 milligrams. So, when you get to higher concentrations, nano becomes even more important.

Bioavailability in CBD drinks

Matt Baum:
Right. Absolutely. So let me ask you, you said, you entertain the idea of beverages. Have you guys worked with any beverage companies? Are you working with any? And you don’t have to name anybody. Obviously, it’s proprietary stuff, but.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Short answer is, we have. But, it’s somewhat opportunistic.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But it, again, they haven’t been big products.

Speaker 3:
Da-da.

Matt Baum:
It’s okay. This is edited. Don’t worry about it. I’m going to edit this. So, don’t sweat it.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Okay. Hey [Lawrence 00:00:25:20], go away.

Matt Baum:
I love you, go away.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, I know.

Speaker 3:
[crosstalk 00:25:26].

Matt Baum:
Do you see a future? As soon as, in the States anyway, as soon as this bears out and the Food and Drug Administration says, “Here’s how we want it done in food. And here’s how we want it done in medicine.” There’s going to be a massive market, huge. And you know that Coke, Pepsi, these major companies, are just sitting on this and waiting. But, from my understanding, it’s actually very difficult to, maybe not infused CBD into a drink, but infuse it well. And make it, so that it works.

Matt Baum:
There was this fad of CBD water going around for a while. It was like, “Yeah, CBD infused water.” And if you speak to anybody who works in this industry, or does any testing, they will tell you, “Well, if it’s clear, there’s nothing in there.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Baum:
Do you see this as, is it going to be a bigger challenge to do in the beverage market than it would be in a pill, for example?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Well, it’ll absolutely be a challenge, going… When you’re talking about Coke and Pepsi and these types of companies, where budget is not, R & D budget and product development budget, is not a problem. And they have teams, buildings full of scientists.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
It’s not going to be a problem.

Matt Baum:
Fair enough.

Tomas Skrinskas:
So, yeah. I think, like you say, what they are waiting for is just a bit of a more open environment, so they can flip the switch. Then it’ll be game on. And some are doing it either through subsidiaries, or partnerships, so it doesn’t say Coke on the front of the building.

Matt Baum:
Of course, of course.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But, they’re developing. And, these emulsifying technologies, which is the predominant one for, the predominant nano approach for beverages, it exists. It has existed, for a while. In food and beverage science, culinary science, cannabis did not invent culinary science.

Matt Baum:
No. No. [Manny’s 00:27:49] invented culinary science, I think. Right?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
[inaudible 00:27:53]. So, you said you worked on a beverage. Is it just emulsifying CBD, into the beverage? Is that basically it? Because it can’t be the same as putting it in a tincture, or in a pill, where you can surround it with some type of fat. Or a cocrystal, or something. They’re not going to put cocrystals in your Gatorade. That’s ridiculous. Is it just a matter of emulsifying it, so it’s small enough that it’s in there?

Tomas Skrinskas:
The emulsifying stabilizes it, so it just prevents all the little oil droplets from coming together, and being one big oil droplet, so that you see an oil droplet in it. Like your-

Matt Baum:
That’s like a bow [crosstalk 00:28:31]-

Tomas Skrinskas:
… salad dressing.

Matt Baum:
… type thing, where you’re like, “Ugh. There’s this weird CBD fish egg, that I just drank.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
But, Gatorade’s a good example. Gatorade is an emulsion, itself, even though it’s clear and orange, or whatever color it is. If it does sit on the shelf for months, you’ll see powder and stuff settle out of it. So, even that’s not a perfect emulsion. It’s out there, doing good things. So, the CBD part isn’t, into beverages, is challenging. I don’t want to disregard all the good science that people are doing to solve it, because there’s still unknowns. But we’re not talking like, Nobel Prize of Chemistry.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
[crosstalk 00:29:23] a problem, here.

Matt Baum:
“You did it, you whipped CBD into whipped cream.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
“Congratulations.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah. Congratulations.

Matt Baum:
“You’re a household name.” Yeah. What kind of-

Tomas Skrinskas:
Sorry, COVID vaccine, you… Step aside.

Matt Baum:
“Yeah, that was last year. This year, we’re all feeling mellow.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Exactly.

The future of Ascension Sciences & Canadian hemp research

Matt Baum:
So Tomas, what’s next for Ascension Sciences? Where do you go from here?

Tomas Skrinskas:
I think what we’re trying to do, is really demonstrate just how versatile some of these drugs and nanoparticle combinations are. So that’s where we have our toolkit and, we didn’t touch on liposomes. We didn’t touch on polymer nanoparticles, solid lipid nanoparticles. They all have different features and functions, and each one can have a deep dive, and those are the types of groups we like to work with, and that are health and R & D focused. And want to take their therapeutics to the next level. But yeah, it’s exciting times for little companies in Canada, and I think it’s doing it right. And no, but I think you’ve, even… Not, you’re not a lay person, lay-lay person. I think you talk to enough people, and you touch on-

Matt Baum:
I’m a lay person, trust me.

Tomas Skrinskas:
But if it’s resonated with you, I feel our message is hitting the right chords. So, as long as that message is received, we love to hear from people and what problems they might have, so that we can help them solve them with our expertise and our abilities. That’s what we’re here to do. That’s the kind of the note I would end on.

Matt Baum:
I just, one final thing. I want to-

Tomas Skrinskas:
Oh, yeah.

Matt Baum:
I want to let people know that, I get very excited when I speak to doctors and scientists, that are willing to talk about this. Because, there is a future here, there is a there, there. It is a thing. It’s coming. It works. There are tests that show this. And there’s so many people that want to write off CBD as a fad. Stuff that, “It’s a bunch of people feeding you olive oil telling you that you feel good,” but this is real. This is really happening.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah.

Matt Baum:
Real pharmaceutical companies and doctors and researchers, and R & D people like yourself, are doing this for a reason. Tell me it’s because it’s real, and this is the future. Because it makes me feel better.

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, no. It’s absolutely real, though, what gives me confidence or what I come back to is that, I don’t think this is a blockbuster drug, but it has the ability in a very, very safe way, to help so many different conditions.

Matt Baum:
Yeah.

Tomas Skrinskas:
And, I don’t want to put the business spin on it, but at an over-the-counter price. And it can replace so many, not so nice drugs, as well. That’s the exciting part as well. The pain medication, the opioids, the antianxiety stuff that people get hooked on. This has real applications, in a safe way. You can’t overdose, those types of things.

Tomas Skrinskas:
It still needs to be studied. And, you want to be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. And I guess, what I mentioned, initially. It’s not a magic thing, you need to, if you’re taking something to help make you feel better, you need to also address the problem, the source.

Matt Baum:
Right.

Tomas Skrinskas:
The… Make sure you’re also eating properly and getting outside, for your mental health, on CBD.

Matt Baum:
Yeah, you can’t just be like, “I’m fat. And I feel horrible. I want to take a pill and just feel better.”

Tomas Skrinskas:
Yeah, yeah.

Matt Baum:
That Snot how it works, unfortunately.

Tomas Skrinskas:
So, it’s part of a system, and I think it actually is a critical part. So, don’t forget the system, though.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. So, where do we keep up with you? How do we keep up with the Ascension Sciences, and see what’s coming and what you’re working on?

Tomas Skrinskas:
One of the things I wanted to direct people to is, our social media channels. Our LinkedIn-

Matt Baum:
Definitely.

Tomas Skrinskas:
… our @AscensionSci. Correct, Melody? As long as I got that right. @AscensionSci. And we’re quite active on LinkedIn, we’re posting other people’s research, as well as our own. So it’s a place to just keep in tune.

Matt Baum:
Yeah. You’re, is it, a six person team? Is that right?

Tomas Skrinskas:
Depending on what day you ask me, but, yeah. Yep, it’s some key advisors, some hardworking folks that have put the time in from internships, and kind of stayed on with us. And some postdocs.

Matt Baum:
It’s so cool. And I don’t think there is another, and maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think there is another drug frontier out there where you have very small groups, like punk rock groups of R & D people that are like, “Yeah, we can work… You know how to do that? Good. I know how to do this. Let’s team up. We’ll work on it.” You, “I know a guy that can do this, and we’ll contact,” it’s just like back in the day, where my dumb band was putting out seven inches. And we had a friend that printed T-shirts, and we had another friend that had a van. So we made him the bass player, so he could drive. And stuff like that, so.

Tomas Skrinskas:
That’s the way it is.

Matt Baum:
I think it’s awesome. Thanks so much for your time. I’m going to let you guys get out of here, because it’s getting late.

Tomas Skrinskas:
No, cheers.

Final thoughts from Matt

Matt Baum:
As always, you’ll be able to find all the links that Tomas mentioned in the show notes, along with some other cool notes. And here at the Ministry of Hemp, we believe that a more accessible world is better for everyone, so you can also find a full written transcript there, as well.

Matt Baum:
Thank you for joining me for another episode. And if you’re digging these episodes, and you like the information here, it really does help if you give us a thumbs up or even a short written review, wherever you download your podcasts. It just lifts us in the search algorithms, and helps other people find this info. And speaking of this info, you can find more hemp education info over at ministryofhemp.com.

Matt Baum:
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially this year, where COVID has made them very different. And a major part of managing your anxiety is getting your sleep. We just happen to have a best CBD for sleep article up at ministryofhemp.com, right now. It’s all about CBD and CBN products that will help you get to sleep and stay asleep, without feeling hung over in the morning. Very cool stuff.

Matt Baum:
You can also follow us on all our social media. We are @MinistryofHemp or \MinistryofHemp, and we’re always kicking out great information on all things hemp. And if you want to help us continue to get that information out, head over to patreon.com/ministryofhemp and become a Ministry of Hemp insider. Any amount you give makes you an insider, and gets you early access to articles, podcast extras, and all kinds of other stuff. Not to mention the fact, it helps us so much. And a huge thanks goes out to everyone that already has signed up for our Patreon.

Matt Baum:
This is probably going to be the last episode for the year. And I want to thank everybody that stayed with me this year, or came on and found us this year. We don’t have a show without you guys. And your input has been fantastic, just on my guide, learning about this amazing plant and what it can do for the world. Thank you, so much.

Matt Baum:
2020 was not the best of years, I totally agree. But we stuck with it. We did it. We maintained, we took care of ourselves, and 2021 is already looking brighter for everyone. And I’ll be right here, with the rest of the Ministry of Hemp gang, to keep bringing you this news in the new year. So, thank you. And I hope you plan to stick around for more.

Matt Baum:
I like to end the show the same way every time. And this is the last time I’ll be doing it in 2020, but remember to take care of yourself, remember to take care of others and make good decisions, will you? Have a safe and happy holiday, and of course, a happy new year. I’ll see you in 2021. This is Matt Baum, with the Ministry of Hemp, signing off.

A photo of a hemp leaf on top of a red maple leaf, symbolizing Canadian hemp.
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Matt Baum has been hosting, producing, and editing podcasts for almost ten years. He's been a touring musician, chef, journalist, and avid comic book fan for as long as he can remember. Currently, Matt lives in Omaha Nebraska with his wife Kacie and pugs Mable and Bobo.

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