When technology and the medical marijuana industry combine their forces, a revolutionary collaboration emerges. As Florida embarks on its new frontier, medical marijuana patients are realizing just how much information, whether credible or not, is available on cannabis via a simple Google search. Evio Labs, Florida is a pioneer as it is Florida’s first ISO accredited cannabis testing laboratory.
The amount of data they are collecting surpasses what any other lab is currently conducting within the United States and could potentially correlate with many of the over 400 cannabis studies the National Institutes of Health is conducting. Their medical director is Dr. David Casarett, a palliative care physician and health services researcher whose book “Stoned” explores and supports the potential and the potency of medical cannabis through medical evidence. Evio’s team saw a need to streamline science-based information to better serve patients, medical marijuana physicians and medical marijuana dispensaries.
The result is MJ Buddy, an app that connects physicians, patients and dispensaries to each other, creating an all-in-one organizer. Some of the MJ Buddy features are similar to what other apps offer: strain information, location-finders and medication/method recommendations. But this app goes beyond the typical medical cannabis application. It’s part research tool and part medical journal, as patients can self-report their effects during and after their medical marijuana use.
MJ Buddy takes data from thousands of patients and presents the information to doctors and research facilities. The medical marijuana physicians can then take that data to adjust dosage, method of delivery and strain recommendation to their patients to best suit the medical condition, age, weight, symptoms and metabolism of each patient. This in-turn benefits the entire industry, including heavily-funded clinical research programs aimed at providing science-based information on the effectiveness of medical cannabis.
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Chris Martinez, President of Evio Labs Florida and MJ Buddy, spoke to FloridaMarijuana.net by phone from his office in South Florida.
1. What is Evio Labs?
Evio Labs is a network of labs within the US. There’s 10 testing laboratories in 5 different states. We are the first and only licensee of the Evio brand in the country, so Evio corporate owns all the locations nationwide. We own the rights to the state of Florida. We are in conversations with other states as well. We test cannabis and CBD for potency, pesticides, residual solvents, terpenes, heavy metals and microbiological testing.
2. Describe the features of the MJ Buddy app?
Anytime a patient wants to medicate with cannabis there really is no direction or a starting point. Most people do Google searches to see what’s out there. There’s over 10,000 strains of cannabis, and every state is different, everyone carries different products, so there’s no uniformity within the industry nationwide. So, what we’ve done is with our relationship with Evio Corporate, we take all the data that’s coming out of the analytical equipment for cannabis products and CBD products and then we aggregate all that information, and then we offer MJ Buddy for free to research institutes that we’ve partnered with. We’ve partnered with the University of Florida, we’ve had conversations with Moffitt Cancer Research Center amongst other institutions around the country, but the goal is to provide them MJ Buddy for free and then patients are able to utilize MJ Buddy to track the efficacy of the products.
For example, if Trulieve is testing with us, they’ll have a batch ID, so when the patient goes into MJ Buddy they’ll put in the batch ID and automatically all the data from that particular batch on the testing side that we’ve done pre-loads into the app and then it creates a card almost. There’s a function in the app where all the medications are stored. You swipe through the medication that you’re looking for and it has a picture of it and a description of what you’re medicating with and you select it, then it tracks your session. It will ask you, “How do you feel now? What are your symptoms and why are you medicating?” You hit start and it will track your session based on what you’re using. We know edibles sometimes take 30 minutes to an hour to digest and take affect. If you’re smoking, it can be anywhere from five minutes to ten minutes. The patient puts that information in and they’ll push a notification back that will ask “How do you feel now?” in the middle of their session. They’ll rate on a scale of 1 to 10, they’ll put how they feel during the session and then at the end when they’re done medicating they’ll push the notification “How do you feel now?”
For putting in that information the patient will earn points. We’re partnering with the growers and CBD companies to be able to utilize the points for discount codes. The more information you put in, the more points you acquire. We’re creating a store inside the app, so you can either use it for products or you can use it for different purchases within the store.
3. How will this app help patients throughout Florida?
Here’s the reality: we have 10,000 strains of cannabis and we’re going to be taking the chemical profiles for each of one of those strains growing in Florida. Then, patients with Crohn’s Disease, let’s say we have 500 patients and they’re using different products within the state, we’ll be able to tell those patients “Hey listen, these are the top five strains of cannabis in Florida right now that are working best for patients with Crohn’s Disease. This is the best method of delivery.” We’re narrowing it down, so this is the starting point. These are the five strains, these are the five methods of delivery and these are the vendors where you can purchase them.
The nice thing is everybody is helping each other out. It’s been pretty much trial and error. There’s been no data proving to people why they should take this strain or that strain. Our goal is to help patients save money via the discount codes they can use at the dispensary for the time that they’ve put in for actually registering their information.
We’re not only doing that at the patient level, but with our relationships with the research institutions. When they are running clinical trials, they’re actually using our MJ Buddy date to run their clinical trials. Our goal was to create an environment where we can give something back to community or give something back to the industry that actually helps push the industry forward, helps push the science forward and helps patients medicate better.
4. What sets MJ Buddy apart from other similar apps? What’s unique about MJ Buddy?
There’s nothing out there across the country. This is a unique product within itself. The unique relationship we have with Evio Corporate and being able to pull all of this data sets us apart. We’re gonna make it fun and friendly. All the other apps out there are stale. They are more strain-based. But, strains don’t mean anything without DNA data to back-up the strains that are out there. What sets us apart is our unique relationship with testing labs which validates the information that people are actually medicating with. What sets us apart is the functionality of the app, it’s free for patients, it’s free for physicians. Since patients are going to be medicating through MJ Buddy, we want to create an environment where the MMTCs (Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) are using the store in the app. The app also has all of the dispensaries in Florida.
Our goal is to get to 150,000 patients by the end of next year because now you’re talking about a large group of people who are constantly medicating and putting in the information. We’re making it a little more streamlined on how they purchase their products. We want patients to feel better. Right now, what we hear from some patients is that “Yea, I have relief, but can it be better?”
The MJ Buddy app is available for iOS and Android. Visit MJBuddy.com for more information.