When Catherine Jacobson’s three-year-old son had exhausted all of the treatments available for his rare, life-threatening form of epilepsy, she wasn’t about to just give up.
“I began hearing stories from families with children with severe epilepsy and that they were treating their kids with cannabis and they were reporting good outcomes,” Dr. Jacobson said on The Cannabis Enigma Podcast. “So of course, I was interested.”
Those families, however, were making their own medicines from cannabis and there was no way to guarantee consistency. So she put her PhD in neuroscience to use and set up a laboratory in her garage to make her son a pure CBD extract.
Today Jacobson is the vice president of regulatory and medical affairs at Tilray, one of the world’s largest medical cannabis companies, after starting its clinical research division.
“I was absolutely infuriated to find out that we knew CBD was an anticonvulsant but nobody had developed it for 30 years,” she explained, referencing a 1980 clinical study conducted by medical cannabis pioneer Raphael Mechoulam.
“So I had a decision to make,” she said of her decision to pursue a career in cannabis research. “I knew […] that there are other patients out there living with other diseases besides epilepsy who deserve access to quality medical cannabis products now — and they don’t have time to wait for clinical development.”
Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Elana Goldberg. Music by Desca.