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Ep.359: Professor Hinanit Koltai, Volcani Institute Israel

Cannabis Economy Podcast
Ep.359: Professor Hinanit Koltai, Volcani Institute Israel

Ep.359: Professor Hinanit Koltai, Volcani Institute Israel

Dr. Hinanit Koltai joins us and shares what she’s finding in phytocannabinoid research. “Not all compounds- the 400 or so present in cannabis- not all of them are needed to treat all different medical indications. But rather, for example, for colon inflammation we found the certain combination of compounds needed to treat this ailment. And we found and we published that as a scientific paper in an international journal, scientific journal, that did see the psychoactive compound of course is not needed to treat, probably is not needed to treat these patients. But rather reduction of inflammation may be done by a different composition of compounds all present in cannabis.” Dr. Koltai notes that her research is able to be done based on the fact that through the Israeli Ministry of Health, she’s growing cannabis right at the Volcani Center. “We can play and manipulate growth conditions to lead to different composition of compounds that the plant produces. We develop different extraction methods. Some of them are widely used, but some of them are unique and interesting.”

Transcript:

Dr. H. Koltai: Dr. Hinanit Koltai. I'm a senior research scientist from Volcani Center, our cultural research institute in Israel.

Seth Adler: Also, my boss at CANNAAN, right? The first medical grade cannabis conference put on by a government.

Dr. H. Koltai: Indeed.

Seth Adler: Right? So did Yuval Landshaft come to you and say, "This is what we're thinking and please do everything."? Or how did this occur?

Dr. H. Koltai: Okay, definitely this conference was real close collaboration between the Ministry of Fair Health and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. H. Koltai: Both Yuval and me conceived this conference as a very important opportunity. One to position the Israeli government in a state where it is leading. Cannabis not just regulatory, but also scientifically and bringing all of this together as one. And they took me as a scientist, this is what I know to do. I know to make science. To all the nights, scientific meetings. So definitely for me as a scientist, this was one of the development that is needed in this field of cannabis research.

Seth Adler: We had to do it. You saw it as we had to do it.

Dr. H. Koltai: Absolutely, yes.

Seth Adler: And so it was Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture. You're in the Ministry of Agriculture. When you were putting together the program, what did you know needed to be on such a program, right? 'Cause it could have been anything and everything, so obviously Raphi Mechoulam, if we're gonna have some research, might as well have him if he's down the block in Jerusalem anyway. How did you approach the rest of the research community? What did you know needed to be on the program?

Dr. H. Koltai: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- As a scientist, I read the scientific literature. As such, I know what is really going on in cannabis research these days. What countries, what scientists, what leading scientists are doing ... that's one. Two, I have scientific committee that helped me to establish the list of invited speakers and keynote speakers from the scientific community, but it was more than that. Due to this very complex and challenging subject of medical cannabis, we had to look aside. Not only science or pure science, but rather in subjects, like the society, safety ...

Dr. H. Koltai: Dr. Hinanit Koltai. I'm a senior research scientist from Volcani Center, our cultural research institute in Israel.

Seth Adler: Also, my boss at CANNAAN, right? The first medical grade cannabis conference put on by a government.

Dr. H. Koltai: Indeed.

Seth Adler: Right? So did Yuval Landshaft come to you and say, "This is what we're thinking and please do everything."? Or how did this occur?

Dr. H. Koltai: Okay, definitely this conference was real close collaboration between the Ministry of Fair Health and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. H. Koltai: Both Yuval and me conceived this conference as a very important opportunity. One to position the Israeli government in a state where it is leading. Cannabis not just regulatory, but also scientifically and bringing all of this together as one. And they took me as a scientist, this is what I know to do. I know to make science. To all the nights, scientific meetings. So definitely for me as a scientist, this was one of the development that is needed in this field of cannabis research.

Seth Adler: We had to do it. You saw it as we had to do it.

Dr. H. Koltai: Absolutely, yes.

Seth Adler: And so it was Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture. You're in the Ministry of Agriculture. When you were putting together the program, what did you know needed to be on such a program, right? 'Cause it could have been anything and everything, so obviously Raphi Mechoulam, if we're gonna have some research, might as well have him if he's down the block in Jerusalem anyway. How did you approach the rest of the research community? What did you know needed to be on the program?

Dr. H. Koltai: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- As a scientist, I read the scientific literature. As such, I know what is really going on in cannabis research these days. What countries, what scientists, what leading scientists are doing ... that's one. Two, I have scientific committee that helped me to establish the list of invited speakers and keynote speakers from the scientific community, but it was more than that. Due to this very complex and challenging subject of medical cannabis, we had to look aside. Not only science or pure science, but rather in subjects, like the society, safety ...

Seth Adler: Security.

Dr. H. Koltai: Exactly, exactly. And then regulatory issues. So everything had to come together because all of these are aspects of the same subject of medical cannabis. So building the list of speakers had to take care and to include all of these subjects.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- Yeah. And I guess for you because you are a scientist I wanna kinda dive in on what you took away from the program. We talked about everything from Parkinson's to multiple sclerosis to osteoporosis to autism, which seemed to be the most surprising thing to everybody, to cancer of course, and on and on and on and on. We talked about the nervous system and the immune system and knowing that you knew what you were talking about before the program, was there anything that came out, any research that was presented maybe for the first time or maybe in a different way, that surprised you in any way from this program?

Dr. H. Koltai: I wouldn't say surprised me, again, because I was familiar with many of the presented works, yet one of the impressions that I had once I came into this field of medical cannabis not to long ago. It was three years ago. And from then, I am witnessing for these last three years I am witnessing the development of the research in medical cannabis. So a few years ago it was completely different. We had one leading lab, no doubt the lab of Professor Mechoulam and a few additional research and most of the research, or the more advanced research in general, without saying names, was that of endocannabinoids. Today I feel that the balance is changing in a way. And that research in medical cannabis and phytocannabinoids coming from the plant is getting much and much more advanced. So we are starting to see a new balance in research between phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids and let's see how this goes on.

Seth Adler: Let's see how they all dance together, right? So let's dive in on, I'm just gonna pronounce it phytocannabinoids, you're gonna say phytocannabinoids and the listener will understand, right? So where would you begin? Let's start before you started. What were you doing just before cannabis became apparent to you?

Dr. H. Koltai: I'm a scientist at the Volcani Center for 17 years now.

Seth Adler: And so just share what the Volcani Center is just to make sure that we understand that.

Dr. H. Koltai: Absolutely. So Volcani is a governmental agricultural research institute. Our aim at the Volcani Center is doing research which is related to agriculture. Part of it is basic research and part of it is applicative research.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- So what were you working on specifically I guess?

Dr. H. Koltai: For quite a number of years I was working on plant hormones. We found new findings to science regarding plant hormones and plant development.

Seth Adler: How can you explain it to the layperson, you know, me, so that I understand as far as the plant hormones, the new findings?

Dr. H. Koltai: Easy, yes. So plants, they also have hormones and their hormones regulate their development. We found new activity for a plant hormone that was only recently identified, the strigolactones, the name of the plant hormone. And we found that strigolactones regulate plant root development. And with that we established a new role for strigolactones in science.

Seth Adler: Okay. And we can talk about outcomes maybe another time. So you're working on that and this is a key finding and we celebrate, I'm sure with a cake. Where did cannabis ... did cannabis come to you? Did you say, "You know what? I'm gonna find out about ..." How did that all occur?

Dr. H. Koltai: Some stage of my career, I looked back. I looked ahead.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. H. Koltai: And I said, "I want to do something during my career that would lead to products for the benefit of humanity. Just like that. I became full professor and at that stage I looked ahead and I said, "But in the upcoming years, I want to make something different. I really liked plant hormones but it was not enough. And then I decided to switch to medicinal plants. Started to work on several medicinal plants. I'm still working on very interesting plants. Some of them are endemic to the deserts, to the Mediterranean deserts for example.

Seth Adler: Such as? The plants, if you could name them.

Dr. H. Koltai: I wouldn't name them.

Seth Adler: You won't?

Dr. H. Koltai: Yeah, if you don't mind. But they are being used by a different part of the population in the desert to treat different elements and my lab is working on development of these plants into products that might help fight different ailments.

Seth Adler: Understood, okay.

Dr. H. Koltai: And then came cannabis. At that stage, it kind of found me you may say.

Seth Adler: Right, 'cause you're already doing plant medicine and it sounds like, or we know that medical cannabis became important here in Israel, right? And so here is plant medicine becoming important in Israel. Who do we turn to?

Dr. H. Koltai: After 50 years, that almost nobody accepts Professor Mechoulam, of course, worked on cannabis silently. Three years ago it became an extremely hot topic in Israel. Just at the beginning of that, some investors came to me, knowing me, knowing that I'm working on medicinal plants and asked me if I'm interested to work on cannabis. And I said, "Definitely, yes." Might be interesting! But I was skeptic because there were quite a lot of indicative or quite a lot of anecdotal evidences for the benefit of cannabis to patients and I was quite skeptic, because I thought that it might be that these reports, they are due to the psychoactive effect of cannabis on patients, rather than on real reduction of symptoms.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Dr. H. Koltai: One of the first medical indications that I was working on back then was on colon inflammation. There were clear reports and also beginning of clinical studies suggesting that medical cannabis is highly beneficial to ease the Crohn's and ulcerative colitis patients, but again I was wondering whether this suggests a psychoactive effect or is there really reduction of inflammation?

Seth Adler: Right.

Dr. H. Koltai: So we started to work with cannabis and it turned out that cannabis really leads to reduction of inflammation of colon cells and tissues. We examined tissues from patients, received from hospitals, under authorization of course and were able to not just see that cannabis really reduces inflammation in the colon, but rather it leads to a reduction of different markers associated even with the induction of colon cancer in addition. Or maybe to say, not just in addition, but our main question in the lab, in the research, became to be, "What compounds from medical cannabis are the ones to affect different elements?"

Seth Adler: There we go.

Dr. H. Koltai: We believe and think and see, okay, it's not believing, it's seeing, that not all compounds, the 400 or so whatever compounds present in cannabis, not all of them are needed to treat all different medical indications. But rather, for example, for colon inflammation we found the certain combination of compounds needed to treat this ailment. And we found and we published that as a scientific paper in an international journal, scientific journal, that did see the psychoactive compound of course is not needed to treat, probably is not needed to treat these patients. But rather reduction of inflammation may be done by a different composition of compounds all present in cannabis.

Seth Adler: Did you go so far as to list out the compounds? And if you would, share those with us here if you remember?

Dr. H. Koltai: Sure. I can share with you some of the information and this is definitely the information that we published in our paper.

Seth Adler: Published, right, yeah.

Dr. H. Koltai: And we know that we have one lead molecule which is THCA. So the acid form of THC is highly effective against inflammation. More than other compounds. However, we do see clear entourage effect, the same entourage effect that was discovered and discussed by Professor Mechoulam years ago. And then we come really interested to better understand what the entourage effect is, in this case and in other cases. For that, we developed tools and just here ******* and say I think we are really in a unique situation where in my lab, we can hold many parts of the chain of research and development. In such a way that, thanks to the Ministry of Health, we are able to grow cannabis here at the Volcani Center. This way, we are able to produce our own flowers to test. We can play and manipulate growth conditions to lead to different composition of compounds that the plant produces. We develop different extraction methods. Some of them are widely used, but some of them are unique and interesting.

Seth Adler: And those are the ones that you can't talk about I'm sure, right?

Dr. H. Koltai: Not yet.

Seth Adler: But you are, for extraction, you're using ... what? Butane, you're using ethanol, you're using CO2, you're using it all.

Dr. H. Koltai: Different.

Seth Adler: Right. And then also different ones.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes.

Seth Adler: Right, exactly.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes, exactly. Now we analyze chemically what we get, of course, and then based on bio assays that we have here in the lab and all the time we develop new ones, we examine the extractions and rarefactions for their activity. From the beginning, we establish connections with physicians in hospitals. In this way, by collaboration with these physicians, we are able to progress into clinical trials with what we find. Just now, we are on the verge of conducting clinical trials in IBD and inflammatory bowel diseases patients regarding our findings of, as I said, of THCA's delete compound in treating inflammatory diseases.

Seth Adler: Just to now dive back into THCA and then other compounds ensuring an entourage effect, share what you know from Professor Mechoulam's work and what we're really talking about there, meaning pure THCA is not necessarily going to help if it doesn't have those other compounds around it. How can you explain that better than I just did?

Dr. H. Koltai: Definitely. As I said, from the days 50 years ago, once Mechoulam started to talk about entourage effect, it became more and more evidences of the better activity of the whole extract of the plant versus one compound only. And this is true for THC and CBD and so in most cases, you see that the whole plant extract is better. And then when I came into the field as a scientist, I looked into the delta of information that varies and I was really interested to see that most of the studies were conducted either on whole extract or single compound. But nobody really looked at what is working with what.

Seth Adler: Nothing in between. All or nothing.

Dr. H. Koltai: Nothing in between.

Seth Adler: All or one I should say.

Dr. H. Koltai: All or one. Exactly, this is where we stand. We looked at the compounds, at different compounds, and then we determined what is working with what and what combinations are having synergistic activity. We look at that with a chemical means, using chemical tools. Everything is highly quantified. And we also put in that bio assays that help us to determine the effect of cannabis compounds and compositions, but also helps us to better understand how these effects of compounds and different compositions are happening in the cells, in the human cells.

Dr. H. Koltai: For that, just as an example, once we look at two compounds, or more than two, acting synergistically. And just to say, synergism is when you take two and two and it is 40, not four. One of the questions that we ask is, "How is it that two and two is 40?" And we look deep into the cells that are being treated by the compounds and what we found and are soon going to publish, this is manuscript that we have in consideration, in review, is that we see new pathways, new biological pathways that have been activated during this synergism between different compounds.

Dr. H. Koltai: So just to summarize is to say that our main novelty in our studies is the entourage effect. We characterize that chemically and also biologically understanding the pathways being activated with cannabis compounds.

Seth Adler: Pathways to the receptors? So pathways to CB1, CB2, 2AG ...

Dr. H. Koltai: The pathways, you know ... Biology is so complex.

Seth Adler: Okay.

Dr. H. Koltai: So everything I'll say, there is the other way around as well probably.

Seth Adler: I understand, yeah.

Dr. H. Koltai: But we do see involvement of receptors and then we look at the pathways that are being activated by the receptors.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. H. Koltai: But again, this is complex. It includes intracellular events, as well as extracellular events and cell to cell communication.

Seth Adler: This is all so fascinating and I could ask a million questions, but as far as the clinical trial, you said it's on IBS? On Irritable Bowel Syndrome? 'Cause you were talking about also Crohn's and colitis. The clinical trial is on what, that's coming up?

Dr. H. Koltai: The clinical trials that are going to happen soon are on inflammatory bowel diseases.

Seth Adler: So all of them.

Dr. H. Koltai: But the first one will be on UC, ulcerative colitis, patients, but then we will go onto Crohn's as well.

Seth Adler: My very good friend has a very severe case of Crohn's. I ask for him, but then also, just as an interested person who is American, is it possible to get into the clinical trial as an American? Would he have to come here? How would we do that?

Dr. H. Koltai: This is definitely something that we will need to consult the physicians that are responsible for the clinical trials, so it's something we can find out, but we need to find out.

Seth Adler: The prostate. Asking for a different friend. Inflammation of the prostate, have you looked into that at all? Because I know that for a simple mind like mine, when I hear inflammation, right, I think, "Oh, okay, well then THCA must solve that for prostate as well." Would that be a good hypothesis? Or would that be severely flawed?

Dr. H. Koltai: Well, this is not at all bad hypothesis.

Seth Adler: I'll take not bad.

Dr. H. Koltai: Indeed the mechanism of inflammation is similar between different tissues and different cell types in the body. So definitely there is a base to think that once you target inflammation with certain compounds, it might work for other inflammations as well, not just in the colon but in other body parts. However, everything should be examined. Everything should be examined and checked and again, I wouldn't say yes or no before examination.

Seth Adler: Okay, fair enough. So let's now get back to just generally where we are with science. And we always do mention Mechoulam's name, a dozen times throughout any interview, because of the fact that he was the first one to do this. And as the years have gone other, other folks have come in. You know, 30 years, 20 years, 15 years, 10 years ... But you mentioned that really, the explosion of science has happened over the past three/three and a half years. When I sat down with Dedi Meiri, he said, "Listen, I've only been doing it for three and a half years." I've been doing this podcast for three years. My thinking was that, of course, he must have been doing it for decades. And yes, he's got decades of research, but not necessarily in cannabis.

Seth Adler: So how early are we? How much have we accomplished? Where do you see us, as far as phytocannabinoids, as far as endocannabinoid research? Are we still at the starting line essentially? What kind of headway would you say we've made?

Dr. H. Koltai: As for endocannabinoids, the research is going on for years, as you say, it's going on for years and they have very good research groups in Israel, of course, but also in different countries that are working on endocannibinoids. And just getting back to our conference and the CANNAAN conference, some of the speakers there were the leading scientists, really amazing, amazing scientists. Morrow, Maccarone, you know, I am a total fan of him.

Seth Adler: Likewise.

Dr. H. Koltai: He is amazing. Aron Lichtman also, an amazing scientist. And these are just two examples of amazing scientists but they're working on endocannabinoids especially.

Seth Adler: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Dr. H. Koltai: The research on phytocannabinoids was somehow delayed. Until today, it is restricted, okay.

Seth Adler: Well it's illegal in the US.

Dr. H. Koltai: It's illegal in the US, exactly.

Seth Adler: As a scientist, is that offensive to you? Don't even answer that question. Nevermind. Or maybe you want to.

Dr. H. Koltai: I'm not going to say anything about the US. I'm going to say for me, as a scientist, this is a great opportunity. I mean, coming into a field of medicine where so much is known and being able to work and to really let novelty in this forbidden plant to most of the population, or most of the scientific community. For me, it's a great opportunity to make a difference.

Seth Adler: So we've been down the road a little bit I guess on the endocannabinoid system, and we are kind of at the starting line as far as phytocannabinoids, of understanding the plant itself, is that fair to say?

Dr. H. Koltai: It's not just understanding the plant, but rather understanding the effects on the human body. So I can say that in both of these field of understanding the plant and the effect on the human body, we are just past the start line, just a little bit. But there is so much to learn, so much to know. And just saying that as I see it, by science, we need to change completely the perception of the public of cannabis.

Seth Adler: We need to change the perception of the public, we need to change the perception of other scientists and researchers that are not aware of what's going on, of physicians. This was part of one of the conversations that we had. How can we make this more evident to folks that have that kind of prohibitionist mindset through no fault of their own? This has been really propagated over the past 80 years or so. How can we change that conversation with the broader public to you, the research community, and public to me, the public?

Dr. H. Koltai: One of the main changes ... But maybe I am not objective, maybe I am subjective as a scientist.

Seth Adler: We'll take it.

Dr. H. Koltai: Okay, great. I see immense importance for science in this regards. Once you have an issue that has been investigated, research has been done on this subject in very high standards and leading to new findings. When you are able to build on this scientific knowledge, you are able to build additional layers of development, of explaining the public of what there is and what to do, okay? So as I see it, and again, maybe ...

Seth Adler: These are your own thoughts, type of thing, right?

Dr. H. Koltai: Exactly. I think that science here may lead to a real change. A real change in medicine, a real change in public opinion, and then perhaps a real change in regulation.

Seth Adler: So now, getting back to regulation and the fact that really Israel, as far as medical grade cannabis, as we've heard time and time again. I mean, really, Canada is the only competition as far as federal, regulated, medical cannabis. As an Israeli, does this make you proud? Do you feel just simply lucky? I know that you're excited by the fact that you have a role here at the beginning, as far as the science part. What about the bigger picture? Being Israeli and it happening here, does it make you proud or happy? Or is that just also happening?

Dr. H. Koltai: In this field, I, myself, I think not just as a scientist. I am a scientist, nothing more, but I do collaboration that we have in the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of Health, allows me to take a part in a big, very big process of medicalization of cannabis in Israel. So, on the one hand, we do several activities that are not related specifically to my research that we talked about, but rather to a larger focus of activity, or to a larger ...

Seth Adler: A larger purpose almost.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes, exactly. Yes, yes, yes. In other activities. For example, I teach physicians. As a matter of fact, tomorrow morning, I have one of the courses that I have to give to physicians in Israel.

Seth Adler: On The Green Book.

Dr. H. Koltai: On The Green Book. To explain them what this plant is. We try to reduce the prejudice and the fear or the ...

Seth Adler: Both of those things.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes, from prescribing this plant. So this is one example of my activity in the larger focus of activities that are being done in Israel in this process. So you can say that I'm proud to be a part of the process that we are going through in Israel in cannabis medicalization and definitely, as I perceive it at least, other countries are looking at us. Looking at us to see how to do that, this is being done.

Seth Adler: Well, when you, Morrow and I were speaking, you know, just kind of after one of the sessions, he said, "You guys are the laboratory for the rest of the world." So yeah, no, that's a big responsibility. Just getting into that classroom of you and you know, kind of, sharing what good clinical practices, right? With the physicians. You've been through at least three of these, if I'm not mistaken, right?

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes.

Seth Adler: And what can you share for the physicians that do come in, at least they're open minded to come in. Excuse me, open minded enough to come in. So we're dealing with kind of a unique set of people. It's not folks that are crossing their arms and stamping their feet. What is your perception of the changes in their understanding of cannabis from before they walk in the door to when they walk out?

Dr. H. Koltai: I think we see a marked change in their views, again, as I think. And then in their willingness to prescribe cannabis, when it is needed of course. Cannabis suffers as you know, for many years, from a bad stigma. By presenting cannabis as a medicine, stating what we know now. And definitely when I teach them I say that we don't know much. This should be clear. We don't know much. We know one thing about cannabis for sure, that it helps patients. And that, we see two activities that are going side by side. One is the need to treat patients with cannabis because it helps, and we do that. And again, this is something that I think, this is the greatness of the Ministry of Health in Israel. It allows treating patients with cannabis on the one hand, although we do not really have yet enough evidences for medicine-based, which is based on evidence, okay?

Seth Adler: Right, right.

Dr. H. Koltai: But still, patients are being treated by cannabis, on the one hand, and in parallel, the other process in parallel is the research. The paraclinical and clinical research being conducted, again, with authorization of the Ministry of Health. Another important part of this research is the agricultural research that we do as well, as I mentioned before.

Seth Adler: Yes of course.

Dr. H. Koltai: Knowing how to grow the plant, knowing how to get a certain composition and how to get standardization of production of plant products.

Seth Adler: It really is amazing. The research community, hand in hand with the government, hand in hand with industry, all together, moving forward.

Seth Adler: We have to talk about these paintings, because when I was in one of the folks, I can't remember who it was, had a slide with those two plants that you, I think it was you that illustrated them. I think I saw on the bottom of the slide.

Dr. H. Koltai: These are illustrations of my son.

Seth Adler: Of your son.

Dr. H. Koltai: My son.

Seth Adler: It was a different Koltai. Interesting.

Dr. H. Koltai: A different Koltai. My son is my illustrator. He's illustrating for me.

Seth Adler: How old is he?

Dr. H. Koltai: He's 27.

Seth Adler: Oh, okay, so it's not like it's crayons. He's got the right tools. And so are these him as well? Or ...

Dr. H. Koltai: No, these are my mother's.

Seth Adler: Your mothers. So did it skip a generation? Is that what we're saying?

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes, kind of.

Seth Adler: Yes. I practice my art in the lab kind of thing is what you do?

Dr. H. Koltai: Kind of. Let's leave it at that. But I want to tell you that I'm very happy he's illustrating. He's illustrating for my papers, for my scientific papers, very nicely. And indeed it was shown in the conference. He's illustrating for my books and book chapters that I write and this makes me very happy because otherwise, do you see this other one with the skull and the ...

Seth Adler: Oh, yes, there's a skull and bones and snakes I think or ...

Dr. H. Koltai: This was illustrated and was moved to be a tattoo on his back. Huge one. So I'm so happy now that his illustrating kind of is for my papers.

Seth Adler: Exactly. Kinda take his eye off the ball a little bit as far as ... Okay. Really, it's killing two birds with one stone as they say. Alright.

Seth Adler: I wanna keep coming back and discussing this with you, you know, as the clinical trial goes on and what you find from it and all of this.

Dr. H. Koltai: Very welcome.

Seth Adler: And again, I could ask you thousands more questions, but I will ask you the three final questions. I'll tell you what they are, and I'll ask you them in order. What has most surprised you in cannabis? What has most surprised you in life? And on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song that's gotta be on there. But we'll get to that.

Seth Adler: The first thing is, and I don't even know how you can answer this, but what has most surprised you in cannabis?

Dr. H. Koltai: Maybe yeah, I know. I know what surprised me. Surprised. What really surprised me, and this is really intriguing, this is something I thought to explore better, is the high fixate that cannabis has, or the high impact that cannabis has on humanity. As you know, as you heard, men is growing cannabis for thousands of years now. Six thousand years. Cannabis was bred as one of the first plants, as a matter of fact, was bred by men throughout those years to have the properties that we need today. So I think here, we are dealing with quite a unique situation, where a plant was bred through thousands of years to have psychoactivity mostly, but also to treat ailments. And look where we are today. Today we are facing this plant as a new and promising part of medicine. So in a way, this is fascinating. Not many plants are like that, you know. This is a coevolution, you may say, between men and plants. I like it.

Seth Adler: I like it too. When you say it like that, it makes me think of, obviously the prohibition that has occurred. There's the short history, which is a lot of our human history, or at least our current human history, that the plant was banished. Do you think about the prohibition and why that occurred and how that occurred? And do you try to reckon with that? Or no?

Dr. H. Koltai: Listen. I am going soon to enter the US borders. I'm not going to comment on that.

Seth Adler: Fair enough. Fair enough. See, you're a smart person. You say you're a scientist and only a scientist, but there's more. Alright, so that was the cannabis answer. What's most surprised you in life? Besides the tattoo on your son's back I guess.

Dr. H. Koltai: I think what surprised me. Okay, I'll answer that professionally of course. I think a big surprise was how good my profession is.

Seth Adler: What do you mean?

Dr. H. Koltai: I think now, you know, that this is the best profession that I could choose. In a way that everyday is so exciting in the lab. In that I am so excited. You know, it sounds weird, but I am so excited to go to work every day. And I'm so happy that the weekend is over. Not because the weekend was bad, but because I'm so much interested in what we are doing in the lab and in the findings that we are finding truly. My family is making jokes of me.

Seth Adler: Isn't that the kind of, at least one of the keys to life, is loving what you do, right?

Dr. H. Koltai: Yes, and I think not everybody's able to do that.

Seth Adler: Very few people. I think very few people. And so to you, happy Monday.

Dr. H. Koltai: Sunday.

Seth Adler: Oh, right, Sunday. I experienced the fact that Sunday is Monday in Israel. And Saturday is Saturday.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Okay then the last thing that we have to cover is, on the soundtrack of your life, one track, one song that's gotta be on there. So a song that you identify with, that you loved throughout the years, or maybe just today. Anything. A song that is important to you.

Dr. H. Koltai: Important to me. Quite a number of songs that are important to me, but I'll try to appear young. Not something of the Rolling Stones or something.

Seth Adler: I see. Which might be my answer, but go on.

Dr. H. Koltai: Okay, New Americana. Of Husley.

Seth Adler: No, yeah no, I don't know. What's the artist? Who's the artist? Oh no, we shouldn't play it, because then we have to pay for it.

Dr. H. Koltai: Of course. Okay.

Seth Adler: Who did you say the artist was? Oh Halsey, yes. Okay, so what was it again?

Dr. H. Koltai: New Americana of Halsey.

Seth Adler: Halsey. Right. Okay. Yeah, that's new stuff.

Dr. H. Koltai: Yeah.

Seth Adler: I don't know it. I mean I've heard of the group, right? I think it's an all female group.

Dr. H. Koltai: I don't know. I like the song.

Seth Adler: Yeah, you don't care. You like the song. Exactly.

Seth Adler: Hinanit, thank you so much.

Dr. H. Koltai: Thank you.

Seth Adler: We will keep in touch with you down the line, yeah?

Dr. H. Koltai: Excellent. Thank you so much.

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Cannabis Economy is a real-time history of legal cannabis. We chronicle how personal and industry histories have combined to provide our current reality.