Before opening ProVerde Labs in September, Hudalla spent 14 years developing instruments and analytical methods with Waters Corp. “I’m a chemistry nerd at heart,” he says. “I am probably the least likely person in the world to have anything to do with a drug, so my friends think it’s a big joke. But it’s really the chemistry that drives me. I learn so much every day.”
The scientists who spoke with C&EN have spent years working in more traditional chemical careers in academia, industry, and government. Many say that they do at times worry about how the scientific community will perceive their work with marijuana. But all say that the work is rewarding, particularly when they hear from patients how the drug has transformed their lives. As Hudalla puts it, “I feel like this is part of my contribution back to mankind.”If you'll forgive me for donning my political pundit hat for a brief moment, it seems to me that we are much closer to something akin to legislatively-driven federal marijuana decriminalization than we were 10 years ago. With that in mind, it seems that analytical testing of marijuana is a growth field and something that just might employ more chemists 10 or 20 years from now than it does today.
There's going to be a raft of new regulation to go around it, which will be interesting. What is marijuana? A recreational drug? A pharmaceutical? If FDA gets involved, will we have cGMP cannabis farms? Will the pharma industry get into marijuana (doubt it.) Hmmmm.