Doc’s Place International is using Artificial Intelligence and Clinical Trials in Jamaica to develop new and better Medical Cannabis, and now they’ve enlisted the aid of Jeff Nagel and Amber Lee Abbott to help on this Journey of Scientific Discovery and Healing.
We first met Dr. Stephen Barnhill through our friends Jeff Nagel and Amber Lee Abbott, who were both featured in the cover story of our 420 Issue last year. Since appearing in the magazine last year Jeff and Amber have gone on to do many new and exciting things and are currently involved in some of the most scientifically advanced cannabis research we’ve ever seen, and that’s thanks to Dr. Barnhill. They’ve helped him to create Apollon Formularies. Apollon is the world’s first fully integrated cannabis based Pharmaceutical and Biotech Company using advanced artificial intelligence techniques to create medical cannabis strains and patient treatment formulations in Jamaica. Jamaica legalized medical cannabis in April, 2015. Apollon was founded by Dr. Barnhill and his children: Stephen, Jr, Alyssa, Nicholas and Christopher in honor of Dr. Barnhill’s mother who was helped tremendously by medical cannabis after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013. Apollon already has some innovative products available and their research is making it possible to develop so much more. When we first met the good doctor it was in Venice Beach and he had his family with him. We spent that first afternoon chatting and smoking and learning everything we could about what he has going on in Jamaica with Apollon and Doc’s Place International, the first Global Center of Excellence for Medical Cannabis Treatment.
The Global Center of Excellence for Medical Cannabis Treatment was established to provide state-of-the-art medical cannabis treatment in a completely safe, healthy and legal environment to help improve the lives of patients from all over the world suffering from clinical illnesses scientifically recognized to benefit from the therapy offered. The treatment is provided by physicians licensed to practice medicine in Jamaica. These physicians are from the United States and Jamaica and are experienced in prescribing medical cannabis therapy to patients. These physicians are specialists in neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, oncology, palliative care, dermatology, family practice and general practice. Anthony Hall, MD is the Medical Director of Doc’s Place International. Dr. Hall is a Board Certified Neurosurgeon specializing in surgery of the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Hall’s primary neurosurgery practice is in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. In addition, Dr. Hall is also licensed to recommend medical cannabis in the state of Florida.
Patients seeking treatment at the Global Center of Excellence often have very serious illnesses such as cancers of the prostate, colon, breast, brain, ovary and melanoma. Others seek treatment for, nausea/vomiting (chemotherapy), nausea/vomiting (sea sickness), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease/Ulcerative Colitis, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, Alzheimer’s Disease, Lupus (SLE), Narcotic Rehabilitation (including opioid dependency), Parkinson’s disease, Anxiety Disorders, or Sleep Disorders. The center is modeled after treatment centers, spas, resorts, and hotels that provide hospitality-oriented services in combination with personal care and well-being services. Currently only about a dozen patients can be accommodated at a time, but due to significantly increased patient demand, plans are already underway to change that. A brand new state-of-the-art facility is being designed that will be fully capable of servicing over 100 patients at a time. Dr. Barnhill believes that only licensed physicians should be treating patients because first and foremost these are sick patients regardless of whether they are being treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or medications such as medical cannabis pharmaceuticals. This is why the Global Center of Excellence is staffed with licensed physicians of various specialties with significant experience in treating patients, as well as, having additional expertise in medical cannabis treatments.
Dr. Barnhill is very serious when it comes to the “medical” side of medicinal cannabis. The doctor is an MD as well as being a physician Fellowship trained in Laboratory Medicine and has been Board Certified by the American Board of BioAnalysis, but he’s even much more than that. He’s also a pioneer in machine learning (artificial intelligence) and pattern recognition algorithms. If you’re not totally familiar with the term, machine learning is a field of computer science/mathematics that uses specifically designed algorithms to give computer systems the ability to learn and to progressively improve performances on specific tasks using data without being explicitly programmed to do so. Machine learning is the common term used today for Artificial intelligence (AI). Doc is an inventor too, on more than 40 patents globally related to artificial intelligence including patents on neural networks, support vector machines, and cancer diagnostics.
You might be asking yourself what artificial intelligence and machine learning might possibly have to do with cannabis? Well, quite a lot actually and the potential seems limitless. Apollon Formularies uses world renowned science experts with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to create the highest quality Medicinal Cannabis Strains and Personalized Medicine Based Treatment delivery systems. So, Apollon uses algorithms to create personalized medical cannabis pharmaceuticals. Of course they couldn’t be doing this type of research without the help of an equally amazing team and some of the scientific minds they’ve managed to gather together are astonishing. Like Isabelle Guyon, Ph.D., the Director of Artificial intelligence. Dr. Guyon is co-inventor of the support vector machine (SVM) algorithm, and the SVM-RFE feature selection technique which are two machine learning methods essential for scientific prediction in biomedical informatics. Today, the Apollon team uses newly developed and more advanced algorithms to develop and patent protect cannabis based pharmaceutical formulations that will be disease and patient specific using data from clinical trials and genome sequencing. Honestly I don’t think I had any idea that there was a “Director of Artificial Intelligence” working anywhere in the cannabis industry, but that truly illustrates how far we’ve come.
A variety of different scientific fields come into play when you begin talking about machine learning being able to run algorithms that would help properly predict the needs of the human body and it starts to sound a lot like science fiction pretty fast, and that’s understandable. Some of the concepts only became a reality in recent years and it’s only now that scientists are able to glimpse what the possible applications for sophisticated artificial intelligence might be when it comes to creating new medicines. Genomics involves the study of the genome, the complete DNA sequence, of organisms and Bioinformatics deals with computational and mathematical approaches for understanding and processing biological data. The Apollon team also includes Dr. Rama Madyastha, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Clinical Trials. Dr. Madyastha was involved in the development of the first neural network (artificial intelligence) based diagnostic tests for prostate and ovarian cancer. The clinical trials being run in Jamaica by the Apollon team have yielded amazing results and led to the creation of some groundbreaking products. The cannabinoid and terpene rich oils they’re able to produce have extremely high levels of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes and the use of proprietary nano-emulsification techniques and micro-dosing brings increased bioavailability enabling the medicine to do more for patients than ever before. It’s only through the sophistication of the machine learning and clinical trials combined with their own team of scientists that they’re able to accomplish this, that and the federally legal laws on medical cannabis in Jamaica. It leaves a lot to be desired here in the USA when it comes to the scientific study and medicine based research of cannabis in all its forms. Thankfully the work is being done somewhere and the rest of the world stands to benefit it.
The Apollon team also includes Dr. Herbert Fritsche, a world renowned Clinical Chemist and retired Professor and Director of Clinical Chemistry at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he worked for more than 40 Years.
Dr. Barnhill’s goal is to create artificial intelligence derived, patented formulations that are tested in clinical trials on patients to provide clinical outcomes data from which diseases and patients are able to be successfully treated with medical cannabis products and then partner with a large pharmaceutical company to use these patented formulations to develop cannabis based pharmaceuticals for patients around the world where medical cannabis is legal.
The team also includes Priest Douglas Smith, the Director of Cultivation Quality Control. Priest Douggie, a Jamaican, was born in Kinston, Jamaica and began living at Bobo Hill full time in 1976, where he became a handpicked student of the Boboshanti High Priest, King Emmanuel Charles Edwards. Bobo Ashanti are a Rastafari religious group also called the Ethiopian International Congress. Over the last ten years Priest Douggie has worked very closely with the Anthropological Department of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. He has operated as an internal diplomat within the Rastafari Movement itself, and also as an external diplomat to the wider outside community, and is an expert on cultivation. They’ve even developed their own strain: Apollon Medical (APM). APM is the first proprietary medical strain of Apollon and won 1st place in the Indica category at the High Times Worldwide Cannabis Cup in Jamaica in 2015.
When Jeff and Amber were featured in our magazine last year, it was as the owners and creators of W Vapes. W is still going in Nevada and California but the founding couple has moved on. If you don’t already know their story, Jeff Nagel was a popular DJ performing and producing events throughout Europe and North America, and Amber was an Elite Model, singer, songwriter and photographer travelling the globe. They were brought together in 2007, the same year the Pre-Interim Control Ordinance was enacted in LA, when a mutual friend recruited them both to California to run The Northridge Healing Center. In less than a couple of months they realized they had fallen in love and they’ve been crazy about each other ever since. After they became a couple, it wasn’t long before they had adopted a dachshund named Wheezie who is now ten and a half years old. They went on to run the 105/405 Collective in North Hills and moved on to become the co-owners of Grateful Meds from 2009 to 2010. After selling their shop they created R.E.L.M. and caught Tommy Chong’s attention. Tommy, Jeff and Amber felt that they could definitely collaborate on a project together. Chong had a nice grow on his rooftop where he was cultivating Kyle Kushman’s Strawberry Cough strain. The flowers were processed into Tommy’s Oil and in 2014 the “Tommy Pen” was created and weighed in at 53% THC and 15% CBD making it about a 3.5 to 1 ratio and very good medicine. Jeff and Amber continued to impress other high profile patients like Snoop Dogg and Mike Tyson, and eventually created W Vapes.
After leaving W, Jeff and Amber met Dr. Stephen Barnhill and were both blown away by how technologically advanced his scientific research went into the medical benefits of cannabinoids and the possibilities of high bioavailability using proprietary nano-emulsification techniques and micro-dosing. Jeff and Amber hadn’t considered artificial intelligence, clinical trials and mapping genomes and how it can work with cannabis; at the same time, Dr. Barnhill had never met anyone capable of extracting such incredibly clean, pesticide free, residual solvent free and mold free lab test validated cannabis concentrate. Having the ability to make all of Jeff’s ideas become real was a benefit Nagel couldn’t have anticipated but they now had clinical trials to back it up and Ph.D. chemists and medical doctors to aid in bringing the ideas to life and to create oral sprays, capsules, cartridges, suppositories, caviar, tinctures and more with the highest bioavailability around that all works with highly effective potency. New products are launching soon so you’ll want to keep reading and watch the markets for when they all come out. Apollon RG™ is seriously the best vape cartridge I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried hundreds, if not thousands. “Apollon” is named for the Greek God Apollon, the god of medicine. Amber is now the Creative Director of Apollon and Jeff is the Director of Pharmaceutical Formulations and the master extractor of all new medical products.
We’ll be travelling to Jamaica soon and producing a short documentary on Doc’s Place International featuring Dr. Barnhill, Nagel, Abbott, and the rest of the Apollon and Docs Place International team. It’s very serendipitous these three forces were brought together and the passion and goodwill being brought to the equation is going to get a lot of stuff done for patients; Medicines being created while patients are being healed and now we have machine learning and artificial intelligence to thank in part.
Patrick Ian Moore