Under the dark blanket of prohibition, cannabis culture has largely relied on stealth to sustain itself for the better part of a century in the United States.
But as legalization continues to spread across the country through medicinal and adult-use laws, exploring the science behind cannabis is becoming a key factor in the plant’s continued survival and use.
Recognizing the vital role of scientific research and innovation, Framingham, Massachusetts-based MCR Labs recently held a science fair to see if they could inspire the community to educate themselves with a small sample of modern advances in cannabis.
“Our hypothesis was that highly passionate and active cannabis enthusiasts would show up with curiosity and questions for the experts we had on hand,” states an MCR Labs blog post. “That prediction was confirmed, but we were also blown away by the volume of interest that students, researchers, doctors, and canna-curious members of the public showed in attending and absorbing some very complex information about cannabis.”
A Successful Event
MCR Labs’ Cannabis Science Fair, which took place at the Boston University BUild Lab, saw more than 175 attendees and raised more than $5,000 for the Cannabis Center of Excellence to help fund future research.
The event allowed attendees to connect directly with researchers on a diverse array of cannabis-related studies.
Among projects showcased at the Science Fair were cannabis use during breastfeeding, lead concentrations in vaping components, assessing medical community attitudes toward medicinal cannabis use, and using tears as a non-invasive method of detecting THC metabolites.
Some projects focused on correcting misconceptions about cannabis and providing guidance on products in the legal market.
Other projects presented cannabis testing advancements like targeting biological contaminants by species and using plant tissue analysis to improve crop health and yield.
Live demonstrations at the Science Fair included devices for measuring the molecular contents of cannabis and a machine to extract cannabis vapor for targeted testing.
Science Fair speakers included MCR Labs CEO Michael Kahn and Cannabis Center of Excellence founder Dr. Marion McNabb covering topics like cannabis testing, transparency in data sharing, and cannabis research initiatives.
Pleased with the results of its first Cannabis Science Fair, MCR Labs plans to make it an annual event in a region the company says is renowned for its biomedical research.
If all goes well, the event may expand into other states.
“If everything goes as planned, we’ll hopefully be able to do more of these in new states we’re trying to open labs in,” says MCR Labs PR Manager Joe Crinkley. “Maybe we’ll get to do the West Coast someday.”