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By Rena Sherbill
David Parry is Co-Founder of Cannsun South Africa and Director/CEO of Cannsun Medhel, which bought and Former Managing Director of Natures Hemp Ltd in Canada, a company developing food-based Hemp products with the University of Manitoba and the Ontario Government. David has extensive experience working with public and private companies in the natural resource and technology sector. He currently sits on the board of Volt Energy, a mineral exploration company in Canada; Northwest Mettech, a private tech company that supplies coating systems to the GE, Pratt and Whitney and others in the Aerospace industry.
He joins us to discuss how R&D on cannabis and CBD are pushing the industry to the next phase of understanding how different ailments can be treated more efficiently and naturally.
5:30 – After being raised on the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug, David began to see from his friends who used it medically and recreationally that there was tremendous opportunity and potential in the plant. Now that we’re seeing it legalized, potentials are enormous. Previously worked in oil & gas sector in Middle East and Russia. After downturn in oil, looked for different business opportunities and started with a cannabis company in Canada. 9:00 – Hired good growers and those who knew business and engineering well, not necessarily those that had come from cannabis industry, which has served the company well, especially within the challenges of Covid. Partnered with Pholoso Malatji to begin Cannsun. Picked an underrepresented community in Cape Town, South Africa where 97% of workforce are people of color – and part of their mission is giving back to the community there. 13:00 – Having a largely Black Board and senior management. Important for them to put the farm in the community. 85-90% of the farmland in South Africa is held by Whites, so there is a land distribution issue. Cannsun tried to find middle ground and give back to the Black community in ways that should have been done earlier. Indigenous community in South Africa has used cannabis for thousands of years and many applications that they’ve learned from them. 16:30 – Focusing cannabis products based on diverse makeup of people. Focused on womens’ health, designed and conceived of by women, so focused really on what they need. Majority of Cannsun is female, which differentiates them from other players in the space. 25:00 – Currently have R&D clinical studies focused on womens’ suppositories for various treatments, including THC and CBD for pain management. 30:00 – Buying Medhel, a historically European pharma company. Exposing historical medical community to the benefits of CBD and THC over traditional pharmaceutical products, using data and complementary botanicals like Sceletium. 37:00 – Choosing to grow in Thailand – most progressive in terms of cannabis in Asia. Thailand aiming for 1 million medical cannabis tourists a year once Covid issues are less dire. 41:00 – Dealing with supply chain issues due to Covid. Tapping into indigenous communities’ knowledge of the plant and what ailments it can treat. Developing R&D around new treatments in medical industry. 55:00 – France beginning the biggest cannabis study ever undertaken in January 2021, eventually looking at 30,000 patients. Positive signs and mixed messages coming out of Europe (for instance, there’s talk of treating CBD as a Schedule 1 drug). CBD will become a supplement widely used and THC. But trending in right direction – more and more universities worldwide coming onboard for research. Strategies for selling in places like Singapore. US and Canada focused more on rec space than medical side.