A cannabis tech company is looking to revolutionize the future of ganja-smoking by examining brain scans to help you select the best medical marijuana strains. The company, PotBotics cofounded by David and Baruch Goldstein in 2014, figured out a way to combine the existing electroencephalogram (EFG) technology with information about the chemical composition of different weed strains to make medical marijuana recommendations tailored to specific users’ medical conditions.
EFG technology, developed in the early 20th century, uses electrodes placed on the scalp to detect fluctuations and abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity. EFGs are typically used to evaluate problems in the brain like narcolepsy, epilepsy, and tumors – but David Goldstein and his team of researchers came up with more 4-20-minded use for the technology.
So how really does the technology work?
The system that Potbotics invented uses two tools, BrainBot and PotBot. BrainBot is the EEG portion of the system, the head cap and electrodes used to gather and transmit brain data. After BrainBots culls and interprets the electrical signals, the findings are sent to PotBot, which is a recommendation engine based on cannabinoid content.
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds including tetrahydrocannabinol also referred to as THC. Cannabis contains THC, but each medical marijuana strain contains different amounts of cannabinoids, which is why some strains have varying effects.
The work of BrainBot is measuring the patient’s reaction to the different levels of cannabinoids. Then, PotBot takes the data and determines what medical marijuana strain has the best combination of cannabinoids for that particular patient.
The process, however, involves a little bit of trial and error in order to test the different combos of cannabinoids levels, patients have to come for data collection a few separate times.
“Usually it takes between three and four visits to get the range that is best for a patient,” David Goldstein explained. “You can give only one medicinal dose to a patient in one setting.”
Is BrainPot and PotBot the future of what type of marijuana strain is the best for you?
The tool is intended for use by any general practitioner but that doesn’t mean that you the patient should seek a GP’s recommendation.
“The device we use doesn’t involve smoking — it’s non-combustion inhalers based on concentrates,” he said. In other words, it’s a little bit like an asthma inhaler.
Right now, the product isn’t available in your friendly neighborhood doctor’s office — but Goldstein said they’ll be ready for commercial use in May. By the end of the year, the company aims to have a version available for personal use at home.
Although Goldstein said PotBotics is looking at California as a primary market, he’s also optimistic about the company’s future in New York.
“We really like New York’s cannabis program and that it’s really medical-focused,” he said.
“We see the future of cannabis as being not what strain is best for you but what cannabinoids are best for you.”