October 4, 2023 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
2018’s Farm Bill paved the way for CBD to be available to Americans all over the country. Unfortunately, the early days of CBD legalization were incredibly messy, leading to the young industry losing public trust. During this time, shady businesses were claiming their products contained ingredients and concentrations of CBD that they did not. Some didn’t even include CBD at all.
Since then, the industry has matured and implemented tighter regulations. However, that does not mean that the CBD industry has completely eradicated these types of business practices.
That is where the Physicians Cannabinoid Council (PCC) comes in. The PCC is an organization consisting of multiple medical and cannabinoid experts tasked with keeping consumers safe and producers accountable. I had the opportunity to interview Helene Blanchette of the PCC to learn more about what this organization is doing.
Q&A With Helene Blanchette of the Physicians Cannabinoid Council
Q: What was the underlying mission when founding the PCC?
Blanchette: One day, Doctor Dung Trinh realized that many of his patients were more knowledgeable about cannabis-derived medicine, he questioned himself: Why do I prescribe opioids and other pain management medication to help patients and have a stigma when it comes to cannabis-derived medicines? He went on a knowledge quest to read as much as he could to educate himself more and realized the importance of educating both doctors and patients on the benefits of medicinal cannabis-derived products and why he should be part of the effort to help advance research in this field.
In 2018, he formed the Physicians Cannabinoid Council with the mission to Promote, Educate, and Collaborate for the Advancement of Cannabinoid Medical Research. In 2021, after realizing the lack of regulations and the fact that a large portion of the products on the market were shady or contained harmful chemicals, we decided to add Consumer Safety to our mission as one of the most important aspects. It was then that we began our work to launch a Physicians Quality Verified Seal program. Our main mission and goals are as follows:
Promote cannabis medical research for therapeutic opportunities and consumer safety.
Educate on both the risks and health benefits of cannabis, based on current published data.
Collaborate with and support organizations with similar values.
Q: For businesses, what is the greatest benefit of having their products approved by the PCC?
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Blanchette: There are multiple benefits to obtaining the Physicians Quality Verified seal, but the first one is to clearly demonstrate that their product’s quality is physicians approved and verified by an incorruptible credible third party. They also get close collaboration with the PCC, which ensures the promotion of these products equally in trade shows, podcasts, articles, websites, and other social platforms. Lastly, they get to be part of a platform that opens doors for them and makes them part of any opportunities that are developed by the council, including access to products through an experiential trial and getting a PCC report on the patients.
We are not a CBD or cannabinoid company.
We do not manufacture or sell cannabinoid-related products.
We are not paid brand endorsers.
We are a neutral council of professionals in the medical field who have consumer safety, awareness, and education as a primary focus. In all, the certification program is a low-cost, high-reward program for brands.
Q: What can consumers expect when purchasing a product approved by the PCC?
Blanchette: The reality is that approximately 35% of products contain toxic chemicals, ingredients that are not on the label, and some with heavy metals or pesticides. Many patients and consumers often choose products based on recommendations from a friend, a beautiful label, and a friendly recommendation at the farmer’s market, online, or at a retail venue. They are told that products are tested and that they can scan a QR code to see the result. Of course, there is no way to tell if these tests are legit, if they are linked to the product, or if they were tampered with.
The consumer does not have to worry about this when a product has the PCC seal or is listed on our website. It means that the product has gone through a thorough process of verification and is of impeccable quality. It also means that the consumer can expect the PCC to perform random spot-checks of these products to ensure that high standards are respected.
Q: What’s next for the PCC?
Blanchette: We have several projects in the making, one of which is our Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine. We are also collaborating to expand our program and standards to other countries. Lastly, we also plan to certify pharma-grade manufacturers who will be able to add this value to their offerings.
Brands Currently Under the PCC Umbrella
Potency No. 710
Blair Medical Group SPC
Do you want to learn more about how the PCC approves your product and what they are doing for the industry as a whole?Check out their website to learn more.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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