Greg Gerdeman, Ph.D
Chief Scientist and Cannabinologist
I come to the world of hemp from a background of a Tennessee nature boy who turned into a brain scientist. I’ve always had a drive to understand complex things, especially in biology. Yet I never lost the ability to step back and feel wonder at what I’ll never fully know... all the mysteries of how the natural world works!
After a brief but inspiring experience studying rainforest ecology in Ecuador, I started my scientific career as a Pharmacology graduate student at Vanderbilt University. To be honest, my discoveries there had impact! I had the right questions to research, at just the right time, and in a perfect place to do it. By describing the biological activity of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within the human brain, our work had influence on shaping modern understanding of how the cannabinoids from cannabis actually work. It definitely shaped the track of my career since, and I have continued to teach and experiment with cannabinoid pharmacology — the science of how cannabis really works in our body — for over 20 years!
So what is the ECS? The endocannabinoid system is an intrinsic biology of wellness that goes way beyond “getting high.” With its discovery, the study of cannabinoids rapidly transformed from a taboo subject into a hot field of biomedical research. Labs and institutions all over the world started taking seriously that cannabis was a source of medicine, including CBD from hemp!
At the center of that in the early 2000’s, I found myself gravitating to the intersections of academic research and medical cannabis activism. As an early advisor and contributor to the California medical cannabis publication O’Shaughnessy’s and later ProjectCBD.org, I helped to communicate the emerging new science of the ECS. I wrote readable reports on what researchers were learning about CBD, and new ideas of cannabinoid-terpene synergies. It wasn’t widely understood that cannabis is much more than just THC!
Little did I suspect the extent to which CBD would become such a global phenomenon!
Although I didn’t feel out of place in “tier 1” biomedical research labs, I followed a love for undergraduate education. I had the great fortune to become a professor of biology at Eckerd College in sunny Saint Petersburg, Florida. Over the course of 9 years I honed my skills at teaching, mentoring young scientists and broadened my expertise in biology to include more plant sciences and ecology.
Around 2014, the changing tides of cannabis legalization started bringing new opportunities to consult and educate about this timeless botanical medicine, including the importance of high CBD hemp. Within a couple of years, I resigned my tenured college gig to join 3 Boys Farm, an award-winning organic produce grower, and we won one of the coveted first licenses to cultivate medical cannabis in the state of Florida!
What a great chance to pull together my lifetime of study in biology and medical pharmacology! In the years since, I have been Chief Scientist at two different companies: one medical cannabis, and the other exclusively hemp. Tennessee Farm is now my third company, and it brings me back to my home state!
I can honestly say that I have a pretty rare understanding of hemp at every level: clean and effective methods of cultivation, extraction and formulation. All of it is vital! The entire soil-to-oil supply chain must be right, in order to make the healthiest, most effective hemp products possible!
How did I arrive at being a CEO of a new CBD / Botanaceuitcal company? My story actually started over 10 years ago after my retirement from having run 3 companies as President and CEO over 30 years. My best friend sold his very successful scrap metal business and started a compost facility in Tampa Florida.
He asked me to help him and set up some projects for his new company dedicated to making soil from recycled green and brown waste. During my time at his compost facility I had the opportunity to learn about soil and how important it was to growing all types of plants / crops. I always had an interest in growing and gardening so my time at his facility allowed me to learn more and be around people who had a good grasp and knowledge of growing, soil, soil amendments, and organics versus chemistry, so common today as the holy grail of growing crops and plants. Previous to the above history, or my ancient history, I was in in India in the Peace Corp in the late 60’s as a chicken farmer. At that time American farmers introduced what was called Rockefeller wheat that promised 50 times more yield per hectare to the Indian farmer with NPK chemistry as the way of the future versus manure, natural or organic farming. (By the way, If you have a chance to read “The Agricultural Testament” by Sir Albert Howard please do so. He spent 30 years in India, ironically in the same city I was in for the Peace Corp, Indore, where he wrote about “manure” farming with compost. It is a testimony that comes full circle about growing in healthy soil versus just using more and more chemistry). The Indian farmers did adopt the “new technology” of using chemical fertilizers versus compost and manure and basically depleted the top sol that was in place for hundreds of years. Now some 50 years later many of the states in India have gone back to organic farming due to the deterioration of the soil and the need to use more pesticides and herbicides due to the use of only chemistry. Without amending the soil with compost allowing for the biology to have healthy soil the plants become weak and more susceptible to disease. This phenomenon was a major learning experience for me. Good soil and good seed are the basis for growing and need to be the crux of healthy growing, healthy food and good health in general. The old saying “Food is medicine” could not be more true. While at the compost facility I started a new company called My Garden Products Inc. This was over 10 years ago now. I learned about many plants / trees but
I was enamored by one in particular, Moringa. The Moringa tree is indigenous to India and has been used for thousands of years in Aryevedic medicine. I started growing the trees and selling the seedlings and fully grown trees at a few local farmers markets after about a year. The tree, by the way, grows 15 feet in one year! Customers of mine gave me rave reviews on growing their own plants and using the leaves in salad, soups and other receipts that were available in books on Moringa. Once again rave reviews from my customers. Here is just one: I’ve been taking “My Garden Products” Moringa with Tumeric and Black Pepper for almost 18 months and counting. I’m a massage therapist and I use my whole body all day every day! I was able to drop all my Ibuprofen / Tylenol/ Advil usage by taking 2 of tables every morning. What an awesome product. I highly recommend it to most of my patients. - Jessica L. About 5 years ago I started growing my Moringa trees with a friend of mine in the Tampa area. Photo included of the trees. He was one of the first approved cannabis facilities in Florida in the vertically integrated medicinal marijuana market. The owner, Robert, asked me to help with his cannabis business, with soil and soil amendments, in particular. I developed the soil for his cannabis crops along with some of my compost contacts developed over the years at the compost facility. In the process of working on the soil for his cannabis business I learned a lot about hemp and cannabis in general, I.e. lighting, greenhouse growing, what type of soil was best etc. Last year I grew an experimental crop of hemp on my newly acquired farm in Central Tennessee. During the process of growing hemp in Tn. I made acquaintances with processors and distributors of hemp product. In meeting with these various entities I was offered the position of CEO to run a newly formed CBD company. It is my intent to produce products with CBD and other botanicals, such as Tumeric and Moringa. Voila! So that is how I became the CEO of this newly formed company we are calling Tennessee Farmaceuticals Inc.
Carmel Monti CEO Tennessee Farmaceuticals Inc.
“ Heaven is under our feet as well as over our head.” - Henry David Thoreau
Greta Gaines is a woman set on living life to the fullest and her own terms. Since retiring from professional snowboarding in the late 90's, Greta has focused on bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to all of her athletic and artistic ventures. After realizing that women were going to take to the sport of snowboarding in a way the world had never seen with its predecessors, skateboard and surfing, Greta founded the Wild Women Snowboard Camps and ran them from 1993-2001. The camps were the first offered for women to learn the amazing sport of snowboarding in a woman centered environment, all over the country. Greta loved learning how to run a snowboarding business but the real lessons and challenges lay ahead when she started her own record label in 1999 called Big Air Records. Her duties as CEO of Big Air included the distribution and marketing of her 7 albums, touring, merchandise, executive producing her own music, other artists and licensing her songs to film and television. As a television host and producer Greta worked for 20 years in the industry. She got her break co-hosting the big air snowboarding event at the first ever MTV Sports and Music
festival in 1997. She then went on to host and produce "Freeride with Greta Gaines” for 3 years on Oxygen and then” Bass Basics” and segments for the New American Sportsman on ESPN 2. Though Greta's background is in sports, music and television, her newest passionate To pursuit is hemp and cannabis law reform. She has been dubbed as one of America's top 100 most important activists. She sat on the NORML board of directors for 3 years and co-founded the NORML Women's Alliance during her board stay between 2011-2014. She remains active on their advisory board as well as on the advisory boards of Patients Out Of Time, Athletes For Care and Tennesseans United. A lifetime of leadership and a spirit for adventure brings her to her newest endeavor as the CEO of Love Plus Hemp. Greta is a self-proclaimed “hempologist" and wants to see hemp and cannabis products available to everyone who might benefit from this magical plant.