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“Just the fact, ma’am” – Unintended Consequences and Sergeant Joe Friday

Hypotheses versus opinions. Factual versus anecdotal evidence.

Dragnet was a popular radio and then TV drama beginning in the late 1940’s. One of the famous lines that has been attributed to the character Joe Friday when he was trying to get the evidence for a case, is, “Just the facts, ma’am.

Facts are critical to finding a real solution. How many times have you heard that line and believed it was in the show? It is actually not a true statement, but how many times have I heard it? I didn’t count, so I don’t have the fact. “Many” is not a number.

I would love to give the statistics on the number of articles, documentaries, blogs, etc. about marijuana/cannabis that have been written over the past 15 years. However, I haven’t done the work nor found the source for that fact. In my opinion, there has been a significant increase.

The key words here are: my opinion, significant and increase.

Without facts, it is possible it is just an opinion, and at best, a hypothesis.

I determined back in November of 2013 to study the applied science of this market for one hour per day. This has turned into a multi-hour days, and expansion from seed-to-shelf and beyond. This has included patents, scientific papers, experiments, and lots of opinions and hypotheses. I have more and more questions daily about the science and industry that surrounds it.

What I have found (again there is no footnote or reference – so proceed with caution as this is an opinion) is the increase interest in chemistry, physics and mathematics by the general population of people I have met.

It was a man sitting behind me during a lecture in Denver who told me this was nothing more than what he had learned in graduate school for his degree in pharmacognosy. The American Society of Pharmacognosy defines pharmacognosy as “the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs, drug substances or potential drugs or drug substances of natural origin as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources.”

It is also defined as the study of crude drugs. The word “pharmacognosy” is derived from two Greek words φάρμακον pharmakon (drug), and γνῶσις gnosis (knowledge). The term “pharmacognosy” was used for the first time by the Austrian physician Schmidt in 1811 and 1815 by Crr. Anotheus Seydler in a work titled Analecta Pharmacognostica.

I was off on a new quest, not exactly tilting at windmills, but perhaps not as far as I would like to think I was at the time.

During this quest I have spent hours in libraries, with patents and peer reviewed scientific journals, magazines, books, blogs and countless labs and thousands of conversations with people in and out of the application space. I have built models of the key molecules and learned the amount of Kilojoules for conversion of the native plant acid forms to the de-carboxlyated neutral forms. Plant waxes, pesticides, mold, heavy metals, etc. have been explored and optimized for many forms of extraction and analyses.

I strived toward the 10,000 hours and at last count am at less than 3,000.

Unintended consequences.

Three years ago there were a few events where you could attend to hear about the industry. You can go to the website of some of the early ones and see their facts on number of attendees. I was at some of the first ones. How many trade shows can you attend in one day now? I don’t know, because I don’t know what day you are going to read this, so just take a moment and search on the web.

There is a lot of information available on the market and how to enter it.

As you view any information, if it is not tied to a peer reviewed source, then I encourage you to ask the provider of the information for at least one reference and two with similar if not confirming conclusions based on facts would be better.

Continue to drive toward the science of chemistry, physics and mathematics. It really is as interesting as you have now discovered. Replace anecdotal experiences with actual experiments, and you will not regret the experience. Go to the local public library or university libraries. They are filled with facts and fiction. Stick with the facts.

By the way, from the Wiki reference, “A common misattributed catchphrase to Friday is “Just the facts, ma’am”. In fact, Friday never actually said this in an episode, but it was featured in Stan Freberg’s works parodying Dragnet.”

Hope you extract the best from today.

John MacKay

John A. MacKay, Ph.D.

John A. MacKay earned a B.A. in Chemistry from St. Lawrence University (SLU), and a Ph.D. from the University of Vermont (UVM), in Inorganic Chemistry. After positions teaching at Davidson College, Lyndon State College and University of Vermont (UVM), John joined Waters Corporation in 1983. In 1990 John joined Otsuka Electronics as Director of Strategic Development, and then joined Analytical Technology Incorporated, to aid in building a multi-technology company. In 1994, he rejoined Waters after the management buyout from Millipore.

John retired from Waters in March 2017. He founded Synergistic Technologies Associates, LLC works with botanical companies to help maximize their total operations based on Six Sigma principles and practices. In January 2019 he joined New Bridge Global Ventures as the Chief Technology Officer to expand the unique extraction and analytical tools the company will use across its vertical platform.

His career has included many roles in innovative product development and marketing. John is widely recognized as a scientific expert in extraction in the botanical space; he is bringing the synergy from what were disparate technologies together to optimize workflow as well as providing consulting and education services through Genus, NewBridge Global Venture company.

With the expertise and desire to spread the science throughout the industry, John has taken on roles as contributing journalist and science editor for Terpenes and Testing Magazine and was the editor of the early issues of Extraction Magazine and now is contributing journalist and scientific advisor. Synergistic Technologies Associates is focused on the continuing education and source of examining new technologies and practices in the hemp market. He has also been appointed the Educator Assistant Professor on the Volunteer Pathway, Department of Pharmacology at the Robert Larner, MD College of Medicines.

John can be reached at:
[M]+1 774-462-8363
[E] [email protected] or
[E] [email protected]

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