UBC Okanagan chemistry professor Susan Murch and BCIT’s director of Natural Health and Food Products Research Group Paula Brown have partnered with the Kelowna-based cannabis company to develop beverage formulas containing cannabis extracts.
“We are at the early stages of this research and are very excited about the potential for both interesting science and new products for consumers,” said Murch in a release.
Murch’s research investigates the chemistry of plants and how plant chemistry affects human health, but she said she’s also interested in cannabis ingredients and how they can be used in beverages.
“We are seeing industry recalls in cannabis products because we really don’t know how to use the ingredients on a large scale,” Murch elaborated. “Making stable products that can sit on store shelves for months or years requires innovation.”
According to a release Brown also investigates plant chemistry and works with the natural products industry to develop new products, establish standards of quality and ensure regulatory compliance.
“Like any new sector, the science and formulation will be the most important element to ensure consistency, scalability and trust,” said Brown. “There is a lot of work to be done to develop stable, high-quality, consistent cannabis formulations that consumers can use with confidence.”
The partnership with Pacific Rim allows Murch and Brown to develop high-quality cannabis beverages for health, wellness and leisure, according to Kevin Letun, founder and chief strategy officer of Pacific Rim Brands.
“This is a very exciting time for research institutions and cannabis companies in the private sector,” said Letun. “The impeccable credentials of these professors and their on-going research will give industry partners and the consumer the quality assurance they require.”
The collaboration between BCIT, UBC Okanagan and Pacific Rim Brands provides “the opportunity to conduct more research about the chemicals in cannabis and at the same time conduct research on products that can be brought to markets across Canada and globally,” said Kim Dotto, Dean of Applied Research at BCIT.
“This partnership reconfirms the ongoing commitment required to drive research nationally and internationally,” added Dotto. “BCIT is committed to these collaborations and applauds the highly-skilled researchers involved with this exciting project.”
Phil Barker, vice-principal research at UBC’s Okanagan campus, said the university has a long history of innovation and commercializing new products. UBC was recently named one of the world’s most innovative universities on Reuters Top 100 list — one of only two Canadian universities to receive this distinction.
“Our campus has a growing reputation for embracing creativity and risk-taking, and this research partnership is no exception,” noted Barker. “We’re excited to be at the forefront of responsible research that prioritizes the safe use of cannabis in our communities.”
For more information about UBC Okanagan cannabis research, visit: ok.ubc.ca/okanagan-stories/o-cannabis.