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Many uses of cannabis still mostly untapped

Researchers have just barely begun to explore the potential healing and recreational powers of cannabis, so there's potential for all kinds of products to be created in Olds and sold around the world.

Researchers have just barely begun to explore the potential healing and recreational powers of cannabis, so there's potential for all kinds of products to be created in Olds and sold around the world.

That's the view of Sundial Growers' chief executive officer Torsten Kuenzlen.

In a speech to about 70 people at Sundial's newly opened marijuana production facility in Olds on Oct. 10, Kuenzlen said the potential uses fall into three categories: "heal, health and play."

Kuenzlen said already, the first drugs have been approved in the United States to treat things like childhood epilepsy "where cannabis can make a unique difference."

However, he said, that barely scratches the surface of what cannabis could do for health and recreation.

Kuenzlen said there are about 108 cannabinoids -- compounds in cannabis that act on the brain or other parts of the human body.

"We've only found 106. And of those 106 or 108, we know a little bit about two of them -- THC and CBD. We know a tiny little bit about six or eight more. The other hundred we really don't even know," he said.

THC is the ingredient in cannabis that gets consumers "high." CBD is said to have more of a therapeutic or medicinal effect on consumers, rather than the psychoactive effects that THC does.

"As the prohibition of cannabis ends and we can in earnest -- as an industry and here at Sundial -- begin the research about what these plants can do, we think there's really huge healing potential," Kuenzlen said.

"Opioid replacement is only one area to mention, but there's going to be dozens, if not hundreds of products that I think are going to have a fantastic effect on society."

According to Kuenzlen, health benefits of CBD are said to include combating inflammation in the body.

"Those products, with the de facto legalization by the World Health Organization for March 2019 opens up a global marketplace for cannabis to play a role to allow people to live a wellness, balanced, healthy lifestyle. And I think CBD can play a huge role there. So we're excited in that particular area," he said.

Sundial also plans to produce cannabis for recreational use.

"Call it play -- the better-for-you alternative to alcohol. It's certainly a big part of where cannabis is going to be sold," he said. "And doing that responsibly and us leading with that from the beginning to ensure there's never a bad experience for anybody, it's a prerequisite for the way we operate.

"We're terribly proud here to really try and build the most trusted cannabis company in the world. And trust is more important in our industry than anywhere else," he said.