December 8, 2014
What happens at the intersection of marijuana and technology? Some of us might think that the two are diametrically opposed, but there are a number of entrepreneurs in America who can see the potential inherent in the emerging market vertical; we’re making a leap to a world where marijuana is directly linked to and helped by technology.
David Goldstein is one such entrepreneur, and he co-founded Potbotics to take advantage of one particular segment of the marijuana-tech market in the medical system. Potbotics is built on two foundational pillars in PotBot and BrainBot, a virtual budtender platform and an EEG respectively. Specifically the idea is to use a one-two punch combo when it comes to providing market transparency around medical marijuana while also helping doctors prescribe specific marijuana strains based on quantifiable data.
“We want to elevate the medical marijuana industry to a more professional standard,” says Goldstein. “It’d be strange if you went to the doctor for post-migraine symptoms and the doctor gave you ten to twelve home made remedies to see which ones are the best; that’s what’s happening with cannabis. Even if they’re ethical people who want to help a patient, it’s not enough to drive the industry to a more professional arena.”
The physical hardware component BrainBot, an EEG helmet, is focusing on concussion and epilepsy patients who show very clear and known indicators about their brains when given an EEG. A major cornerstone of BrainBot is providing doctors with this control scenario, verified by their data, of how brains act before being given specific cannabinoids and how they react to said cannabinoids.
Just to be clear, the cannabinoid is the active ingredient in marijuana that provides the myriad medicinal benefits. The most famous cannabinoid associated with marijuana is tetryahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psycho-active compound in marijuana. Potbotics has made it their mission to quantify these cannabinoids and begin mapping their effects on the ailed brain.
“It’s miraculous that there’s a plant that gives relief to so many ailments,” says Goldstein. “The speed at which cannabis de-inflames the mind is something that’s yet to be repeated in medical pills.”
Potbotics wants to ensure nothing can be used to discredit their progress to date, which is why they’ve worked hard to get the EEG helmet FDA approved and HIPAA compliant. It only takes 15 minutes of training to qualify a doctor to run the EEG as well; there’s no need for a neurologist to be present during the procedure.
That doesn’t mean a neurologist is in absentia for the whole process though. In fact, a neurologist pours over the data from the EEG to confirm the neurological indicators, or biomarkers.
For example, you have arthritis. There are quantifiable pain indicators that will appear as a biomarker on your EEG when you feel arthritic pain. The EEG picks it up in the form of an alpha brainwave spike because you’re concentrating on that pain. When the cannabinoids are introduced to the system, the EEG will start showing your brainwaves change as you become relaxed.
“Pain is subjective, and there’s no real way of measuring pain yet,” says Goldstein. “Potbotics is just a way to understand the molecular structure and base it in numbers. You can see when somebody is about to go into an epileptic seizure on an EEG, but this way you get some concrete data on relief from these symptoms also.”
The scape of the project is big, no doubt on that one, but at the same time it will help medical patients understand their ailments on a more comprehensive level. It’s also going to help the medical community have a better understanding of cannabinoids and precisely how they help patients.
“In the longterm we see an opportunity to recommend medical marijuana based on cannabinoids while providing patients with a product that can help them,” says Goldstein. “We want an understanding of what patients are buying, what doctors are recommending, and what their feedback is so we can get a better understanding of this plant and cannabinoids.”
Currently Goldstein is on track to launch Potbotics into public beta sometime in January 2015.
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