Ensuring Quality and Consumer Safety
PSI is a center of excellence in cannabis science, testing, research and education.
PSI’s mission is to develop and implement evidence-based quality assurance processes in the fast-growing cannabis industry.
The cannabis industry is in great need of rigorous laboratory testing and product certification. PSI addresses this need with a multidisciplinary team of credentialed experts in plant science, medicine, food product testing, and business development. Our team uses state-of- the-art technology to provide a wide-variety of products and testing procedures to help ensure that cannabis consumers will safely enjoy the health benefits of cannabis under a variety of forms without financially burdening producers.
Phytoscience Consulting (PSC)
Phytoscience Consulting (PSC) provides consulting services to Cannabis and Hemp cultivators, producers, analytical laboratories, and dispensaries around the country. The PSC team has experience in targeted breeding techniques, cannabinoid extractions, product development, and delivery. PSC’s mission is to disseminate knowledge and best practices to improve product quality and safety in the cannabis industry across the country.
Product Certification (PSC)
Providing a product with a seal of approval can add value to that product by providing the assurance that it meets some basic criteria of excellence and safety for the consumer. There are currently no standardized labels for cannabis products. We see a need to assure the patient or consumer that the product is safe and meets the highest level of quality and safety with known and verified potency. PSI aims to standardize and label cannabis products in the U.S. by recommending a set of protocols for testing potency and safety. We then offer dispensaries, growers or producers the “Certified Cannabis” seal-of- approval if they meet the consensus statement criteria.
Research and Education
PSI is engaged in developing research studies and education programs that will advance product quality and consumer safety in the cannabis industry. To further our mission of bringing research-based education to the general public, PSI recently sponsored a Cannabis Speaker Series at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. The PSI team has also helped to develop and to teach the first medical cannabis course in the nation to be offered by an accredited medical school.
PSI authored a white paper titled "Cannabis Testing for Public Safety – Best Practices for Vermont Analytical Laboratories” to aide the Vermont legislature in developing rules and regulations for ensuring the safety of the state’s medical cannabis program.
William Cats-Baril, PhD
Willy Cats-Baril, PhD is an Associate Professor for Information and Decision Sciences at the Grossman School of Business at the University of Vermont. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Visiting Professor at several international institutions including the European Institute Administration at the University of Business Administration (INSEAD). Dr. Cats-Baril expertise is quality assurance and continuous improvement, assessment of medical outcomes, and certification and maintenance of competence programs.
Sam Couture is a biologist with extensive experience in building businesses around commercializing novel biotechnological processes while developing and implementing the required analytical test methods that allow for optimized and consistent products. Sam’s focus is on building a strong scientific and technological foundation through targeted research and development, leading to consistent and reliable analytical and operational methods and products.
Kalev Freeman, MD, PhD
Kalev Freeman, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist with a background in molecular biology and specific research interest in inflammation and injury. He is Co-Founder of the Phytoscience Institute and the Medical Director of Vermont Patients Alliance Inc., a non-profit plant-based pharmaceutical research center that serves over 800 patients with debilitating medical conditions. He is also the co-director of the Cannabis Science and Medicine Program the University of Vermont Medical School. Dr. Freeman completed his BA at the University of Michigan, and both his MD and PhD at the University of Colorado, where he specialized in molecular biology.
Monique McHenry, PhD
Monique McHenry, PhD is a botanist with a background in plant diversity and evolution. She is Co-Founder of the Phytoscience Institute and the Executive Director of Vermont Patients Alliance Inc., a non-profit plant-based pharmaceutical research center and active in legislation and lobbying. She is also the co-director of the Cannabis Science and Medicine Program the University of Vermont Medical School. Dr. McHenry completed her BA and MSc at the University of Colorado, and her PhD at the University of Vermont, where she specialized in the diversity and evolution of plants.
Eric Kawka, MA
Eric Kawka serves as Chief Scientific Officer of South Shore BioPharma, a disruptive cannabis startup in Massachusetts. He is also an advisor to True Healthy Choice, a cannabis startup company seeking laboratory licensure under Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Program. Eric focuses his work on developing and implementing cannabis extraction standards and processes in the fast growing cannabis industry. He joined PhytoScience Institute to establish scalable extraction methods for a new class of medical cannabis derived products that meet pharmaceutical standards. He holds a B.S. and M.A. in organic chemistry and has significant experience in systems development, start-up ventures, and business development.