Dr. David Toomey: Leading Cannabis Research and Development

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Dr. David Toomey – CEO of Med-X, Inc.

Dr. David Toomey’s professional life has been spent helping others. He has been a family physician for over 23 years and a Hospice Medical Director for the last 10 years. Working directly with the elderly and focusing on their complex medical issues and pain relief has provided Dr. Toomey a firsthand look into the impact that medical cannabis can have on quality of life. In addition to his work at Med-X, Inc., David helped to develop and test, in clinical trials, the all-natural Thermal-Aid product line that is made, marketed, and sold throughout the U.S. by their sister company, Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. Dr. Toomey and Med-X, Inc. are focused on CBD oils, application of these oils in various mediums, and their abilities to relieve pain, anxiety, PTSD, and seizures. With top-of-the-line research and development facilities, Med-X and Dr. Toomey are on the forefront of the green rush movement with an overall goal to help patients and the environment at the same time. David, who used to only be able to help 20 patients per day in his practice, now has hopes to impact millions across the world. How you ask? Let’s find out.

Why did you decide to enter the cannabis industry?

I decided to enter the cannabis industry because of the work I was doing with hospice. I’ve been a hospice medical director for over ten years, dealing directly with elderly patients and all the pain they have to manage on a daily basis. I knew that addictive prescription pharmaceuticals couldn’t be the only option available to these suffering patients. There had to be another treatment that would be able to help them, and that’s why I got into the industry.

Our society has a great alternative medicine option that can help treat these patients and it’s available right now.

It really is that simple for me.  Our society has a great alternative medicine option that can help treat these patients and it’s available right now. Cannabis isn’t new to the world. They have had it in Europe since the 1970’s. Israel is doing a phenomenal job leading the medical advancement charge as well. We’re just slow here in the United States, like we are for a lot of different things, unfortunately.

What were you doing before you got involved with Med-X and the cannabis space? How has that helped you in what you are doing now?

I’ve been a family physician for 23 years, primarily working with the elderly. Additionally, I’ve been a medical director in assisted care facilities and extended care facilities, like nursing homes for example, so I’ve taken care of a lot of very complex people throughout my professional experience. In medical school, they teach you about diseases but you never really see them in person until you see them in the real world. I’ve probably seen just about every disease that is out there.

When you help patients who are at the ending stages of their lives, you see all kinds of different ailments and you take care of a lot of complex people, often with multiple medical problems. It’s not uncommon for a patient to have 20 different diagnoses that I take care of, including all types of cancer and pain. What I try to do is improve the quality of those patients’ lives, so I gravitated towards Med-X and cannabis as a viable treatment option.

Our 100% all-natural pesticide has been third party tested, confirming both the research and claims behind the product.

Right now with Med-X, where are you guiding your daily passion and energies? What projects are you excited about?

Currently, we are working on our CBD oil production. We have roughly seven different strains of cannabis in growth right now in an effort to bring our CBD percentages up, while lowering the THC content. We’re working with some Charlotte’s Web and Harlequin plant derivatives. The Harlequin is a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. We’re trying to refine that number and get it down even lower as far as the THC and bring the CBD levels up higher. In our facility, we are picking off the clones of these different strains to figure out what is altering the percentages and how we can improve the product. We are excited to be heading in this direction.

How important is the growing process to the final product?

Keeping the growing process clean is extremely important. After all, the endgame of cannabis is consumption, so to have a great product you need to make sure it is as clean and natural as possible. Med-X, as well as our sister company Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. have one of the only EPA registered, 100% all-natural pesticides on the market. We grow our plants completely pesticide free, while at the same time maintaining the ability to control the insect and mold problem that can come with cannabis cultivation. Our 100% all-natural pesticide has been third party tested, confirming both the research and claims behind the product. We use it in our cultivations, and hope that more people use it in theirs, because in the end we simply want everyone to be consuming a product clean from toxic chemicals or harmful molds.

Being a physician who wants to help people, while working for a company that wants to help people, provides me with great satisfaction.

One thing about cannabis delivery methods is that ‘old-school’ users mainly consume cannabis by smoking it. Often times they don’t know if they’re smoking a product with pesticides or if there is mold on it. Recently in Denver, cultivators had tens of thousands of plants quarantined due to pesticides. In our growing facility, as well as in our research and development labs, we are 100% pesticide free.

How would you describe your personal work ethic in one word?

Driven.

What would you consider your strength as an entrepreneur?

I think I’m best at the research and development side of the business as well as speaking to people in small groups. We have a great management team in place and they are fantastic at presenting our materials in a large venue format with a big audience.

One of the things that I like most about Med-X is our digital media platform (MarijuanaTimes.org). In a typical day of treating patients I might get to as many as 20 people because of the complexity of the people I see. That’s about all the lives I can touch in one day.

Each one of our experts has 20 to 30 years of experience in their field. It’s basically like playing on the Michael Jordan era dream team.

Through the multiple product development protocols I’ve been through, my continued education and the work I’ve done with multiple insurance companies and pharmaceutical studies, I’ve touched things that span across the nation and across the world. On a daily basis, instead of only touching 20 lives, I can touch millions of people’s lives. Being a physician who wants to help people, while working for a company that wants to help people, provides me with great satisfaction. It’s a great feeling to be able to have this level of impact. It makes it easy to get up every day to do your job.

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How do you think Med-X is separating themselves from competitors in the space? How are you staying ahead of the game?

The number one thing is probably just the management team we have in place. Not just me as the CEO, but Matthew Mills, the COO and Ron Tchozewski our CFO as well. We also have top financial experts in place and a Board of Directors with a gamut of experience, a Research and Development facility and a digital media platform that I feel are unmatched. Success and positive growth really comes down to having an awesome team consisting of experts with long track records in their respective fields. Each one of our experts has 20 to 30 years of experience in their field. It’s basically like playing on the Michael Jordan era dream team. I feel like, with this team, there is no challenge we can’t take on and beat. That’s how we’ve gotten as far as we have in such a short time.

You helped develop, test and run clinical trials of the Thermal-Aid product you mentioned in our pre-interview. Can you talk about the Thermal-Aid product line and what goes behind development and testing something like that?

The Thermal-Aid product line is a hot and cold pack system that was developed as an all-natural product. The development of this product consistent of countless studies, just like our products do now at Med-X. We made sure that it wouldn’t grow mold, as well as a myriad of other things. Then we developed the Thermal-Aid Zoo, a hot and cold pack for kids, disguised as a stuffed animal. It’s for kids and adults alike. Currently, we have it all across the nation in physical therapy departments as well as in pharmacies.

We don’t cut corners. We don’t skip steps. We’re not shipping our products overseas for any reason. It’s all done here.

Prior to launching that product, I tested all aspects of it in our lab. I tested the efficacy against other products and then tested it again in a clinical trial with patients. With patients, we tested Thermal-Aid against conventional medications like Tylenol, NSAIDs and narcotics. I was able to show, in a controlled environment and a double-blind study, that Thermal-Aid was a comparable treatment that was 100% natural, unlike the competitors we tested against it. These were substantial studies consisting of legitimate patients and published findings.

How does that Thermal-Aid product experience help you with your Med-X projects?

It helps a great deal as far as having excellent control. You always have to have excellent control. Once you’ve established control, then you have to figure out how you want to formulate the study. How do you figure out who are legitimate patients you can try different things on? How about the quality control of the product that you’re assembling or growing? Who is the manufacture of the product? All these questions are extremely important and my background, having been through all of these decisions multiple times, allows me to make sure that what we are doing at Med-X is truly the best practice. We don’t cut corners. We don’t skip steps. We’re not shipping our products overseas for any reason. It’s all done here.

Anyone can say that their product has this effect or is natural to this extent. However, if you really want to be taken seriously, you have to back that up.

In addition to our testing, you have to get a third party tester as well if you want your product to be truly legitimized. Anyone can say that their product has this effect or is natural to this extent. However, if you really want to be taken seriously, you have to back that up. That’s why we take our products, like our 100% all-natural pesticide for example, and send it off to a third party, EPA accredited lab so that they can tear it apart and tell us we are 100% right about it being 100% natural. We can then take that information and share it with the public, maintaining as much transparency as possible.

How have you incorporated third party testing to truly validate your product claims?

In this industry you will often hear someone say, “Hey, we have the best 100% natural product.” Often times someone will respond, “Show us the proof.” We want to make sure that every product we put out, we are 100% accurate in our claims as to its applications and results. When we say something is 100% natural, it’s not our company saying that, it’s the legitimate and accredited agency. For instance, in Colorado our pesticide is on their short list of approved products for cultivators to use in their grows. This is what happens, when you do things the right way.

Colorado approval can be found here on page 11.

Qualifications for pesticide use in CO can be found here.

How do you find inspiration in the industry? What inspires you day in and day out?

I like to find creative ways to innovate and solve problems. That is what keeps me going. I love to take an unconventional approach or look at a problem from a different angle in an attempt to find that unique answer. What I love about this industry is that there is so much that still needs to be discovered. There is an infinite amount of space for innovation and creativity. It’s inspiring in and of itself.

What is the best piece of advice you like to give out?

You have to be a great listener and have an open mind. Listen to what people say. Not just one person, but many different people. By doing this, you can ascertain bits of knowledge along the way from each person you speak with. Then you can take that information, assemble it in a way that makes sense for you and decide how you can best apply it. That is the best advice I’ve come across and it is the advice I tend to give out.

I like to find creative ways to innovate and solve problems. That is what keeps me going.

Where do you think your great ideas come from? Where do you find that creative ability?

I think great ideas come from life experience and the people you meet along the way.

Practicing family medicine, as long as I have, has provided me with a unique chance to develop and create some interesting ideas over the years. I’ve met all types of different people throughout my career. I can talk to someone who is a plumber as easily as I can talk to someone who is a teacher as I can talk to someone who’s medical professional like a dentist or a surgeon. I can go across that whole venue and relate to all those different people because of my history.

My father was a carpenter, so I know how a great deal about carpentry. I also trained myself in car mechanics. I call myself a house, people and car doctor. These are just things I’ve always done my whole life. The combination of all of these experiences really gives you an open mind. Sometimes you are simply working with a patient or on a house project and a great idea just pops into your head. That idea might not have ever happened had you not initially opened your mind to learn something new or work with someone you previously haven’t.

In California, we anticipate legalization of recreational use in 2016 or 2017, so regardless of when, we are going to be there when it happens.

What is on the horizon for Med-X? What can we expect to see?

Our sights are set to be a major player in the cannabis industry. In the cannabis space, you can be in business to touch the product or to not touch the product. We want to cover and become a leader in both sides. In terms of not touching the product, we are developing and improving on our new and existing all-natural pesticide and soil line of products. As for touching the plant, we want to be at the forefront of developing our own strains with a high CBD content and lower THC percentage. Then once we’re ready, we want to spread them throughout the entire cannabis market, especially as further legalization takes place. In California, we anticipate legalization of recreational use in 2016 or 2017, so regardless of when, we are going to be there when it happens.

Tell us something that you wish you had known before entering the cannabis industry as an entrepreneur?

I didn’t realize how many people had already tried cannabis in their life. I wish I would’ve known how widespread medical use may have been and how many people were using it for pain relief. I didn’t know that before entering the space.

As a physician, we all ask questions, “Hey, how many cigarettes do you smoke?” or, “How much alcohol do you consume? Do you do any drugs?”

I don’t ask, “Do you do any drugs?” anymore. Instead I ask, “How much cannabis do you smoke?” I am very specific with that question now, and then we ask, “Are there any other drugs that you use?”

I didn’t realize how many people had already tried cannabis in their life.

Until I entered the industry, I really never asked that question. However, now I think it’s a really, really important distinction to make.

People would be scared when they answer the question as a whole, “No, I don’t do any drugs,” but when you ask them specifically, “Hey, do you do any cannabis for your nerves or to help you sleep or you have for some pain?” I was really surprised at how many people answered ‘yes’ to that question.

How often do you get interests from other doctors who don’t know about cannabis, those who may want to find out more?

Presently, I would say it’s a very low percentage yet. Most of the doctors I deal with are more interested in making money in the industry, on the investment side. There isn’t a lot of, and certainly not enough, interest from a medical standpoint yet. Most physicians are and will continue to be afraid of cannabis until the federal government makes a move to schedule 2.

There has been a great loss of autonomy in medicine over the last 10 years.

Although, I think that’s just physicians in general, most of them tend to be conservative. In the climate we live in now as physicians, with the insurance companies looking over your shoulder, the government’s looking over your back, everyone’s telling you what to do. There has been a great loss of autonomy in medicine over the last 10 years.

You’re almost forced to be conservative, right?

Certainly. Especially from the legal aspect as it pertains to malpractice suits. By the way, I have been in practice 23 years and have yet to be hit with a malpractice suit. I’ve been told that, by now, I’m supposed to have already have had one and a half. That is what they tell me the average is at for how long I’ve been practicing. The fact that there are people who have already calculated how many suits you are supposed to have says everything about how doctors are forced to be conservative these days.

How would you advise someone who wants to enter the space, whether it’s on the doctor’s side or as an entrepreneur?

If you are looking to enter the space, you better read a lot. I would take your time to go over all the digital media that’s available. On our side, we have our MarijuanaTimes.org platform where people can read up on the industry. Just read and read and read. Educate yourself before you take the leap to join the space. Then once you do that, then try to talk with someone who is already in business.

You really have to have some passion, because you have to do the research and the footwork to enter the industry if you want to be successful.

You have to be passionate as well. The strategy of, “I’m going to get in this to make a little bit of money,” isn’t going to work. You really have to have some passion, because you have to do the research and the footwork to enter the industry if you want to be successful. You have to meet people, network with them, and grow as a professional. Luckily for those who might want to enter the industry, there is still plenty room for growth and there are plenty of great entrepreneurs out there who have no trouble sharing their experience to help others. In that specific arena, I think our industry is leading most other industries in the world.

Do you have a book that you would recommend or something that you’ve been inspired by?

My favorite reading is probably pretty unique to me. It consists a lot of medical journals and things from overseas, a lot of publications from Israel. I’m not Jewish, I’m just incredibly interested in their application of medicine. Their elderly people are allowed to smoke cannabis in their nursing home for pain relief and other associated treatments. Israel is 30 or 40 years ahead of America on the research of cannabis for pain, anxiety and stress. I read a lot of overseas medical journals, not usually available to the mainstream public.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Med-X wants to be at the forefront of cannabis research, development and products. We want to be a company that makes a difference, and like I said, affect the lives of millions of people versus the 20 a day I could previously reach. That means a lot to me and it means a lot to everyone that works at the company as well. They allowed and entrusted me to be their CEO, so I have a responsibility to get us to that point. The excellent team behind me is going to allow me to accomplish that. Our company’s going to be able to touch millions of people’s lives every day. I think that’s the number one thing that drives our ship.

How do you think independent, third party testing can help validate the cannabis industry? What do you think it will take for physicians to take the leap into cannabis recommendations? Join the conversation and comment below!

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