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Why Every Cannabis Company Needs A Scientific Advisory Board

by Chris Campagna

The cannabis industry has reached a point in its evolution where science and research are no longer an added bonus, rather a necessity.  As we continue to tout the benefits of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, skeptics and investors need science-based evidence in order to establish credibility and trust in the industry. Even those who believe in the benefits of cannabis want more data. Science-based research is the surest way to propel the industry forward and every cannabis company should be proactive in this goal. A great place to start is by creating a Scientific Advisory Board.

The Scientific Advisory Board is a company’s hand-picked group of scientists and other experts who serve as part-time advisors to the executives who make company decisions. Forming a Scientific Advisory Board is a phenomenal way to add the expertise of scientific luminaries, and their wide network of fellow scientists, to the framework of your company. The connections established through a Scientific Advisory Board allow you to gather different perspectives beyond the cannabis industry, including academia, manufacturing and non-cannabis cultivation.

Creating a Cross-Section of Experts 

Creating a Scientific Advisory Board amplifies your ability to network and associate with professionals that are beyond your company’s everyday scope. Your board members’ connections might include professors, researchers, inventors, attorneys, and regulators.

The board members themselves could include a variety of scientific specialists and perspectives that could help your company. Engineers specializing in extraction could provide guidance on compound refinement, different types of equipment and filtration mediums, or novel ways to remove contaminants from extracts to increase purity. Cultivators with agricultural backgrounds could offer their experience in a range of scenarios, including scaling a 50-light boutique-sized grow to a more cost effective 100,000 square foot greenhouse operation. Finally, a geneticist, from a non-cannabis background, could provide insight on how to improve the breeding programs and IP strategies.

A company with the right Scientific Advisory Board can bring goodwill and even develop relationships with regulatory agencies, which could be the most valuable benefit of all.

Where R&D and Science Meet Business

The Scientific Advisory Board is also an excellent way to connect pockets of R&D and scientific knowledge with commercial pathways.  R&D is often isolated or stranded in academia and think tanks, so these engagements are great ways to connect R&D leaders with the marketplace. Board members can help the company stay abreast of trends, including scientific literature, up-and-coming scientific discoveries and also science-driven events and relevant conferences. The board serves as a sounding board and provides feedback, analysis and guidance.

The board creates a positive platform to explore these research areas for collaboration with minimal risk. Scientific discovery, innovation and creativity need a secure, incubator-type atmosphere in which to take root and flourish.

Augmenting Expertise While Streamlining Costs

A final benefit of creating a Scientific Advisory Board is the cost savings. The scientists do not need to be employed full time, but your company is still able to rely on their expertise to guide the evolution of the business. This is a cost-effective way to build out the scientific leadership needed to craft the strategy of the company.

Forming a Scientific Advisory Board is a significant step for a company to make towards supporting the cannabis industry overall. Greater attention to research, data, and science will legitimize and support growth of the industry.


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