Knalysis Technologies is a Canadian company anticipating a need for health technology connecting every aspect of the medical marijuana field, while pioneering software to seamlessly link physician, provider, and patient.
“We’re aiming to connect the entire medical marijuana field,” says Knalysis CEO Paul Methot, who connected with Hydrolife to talk about his company. “Our products were developed directly with a national network of clinicians in the medical marijuana domain, and are built to deliver better monitoring of symptoms, moods, and treatments for both physician and patient.”
The primary goal is to determine the efficacy of cannabis strains on the symptoms of all illnesses currently treatable by medical marijuana. Here's how the rest of the conversation went:
Who or what inspired the idea for Knalysis technology?
Our other business, Pragmatic Informatics, is a software development company. One of our biggest clients has been Marijuana For Trauma (MFT), a military veteran-owned and operated company whose mission is to improve the quality of life for anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and other medical conditions using medical cannabis.
Much of what they do, and indeed, a lot of what the whole medical cannabis field is trying to do has never been done before. They are all paving new paths. Together with MFT, we identified massive gaps in the technology. Over two years we built several technology platforms customized for the cannabis industry and helped them leapfrog into being one of the largest cannabis businesses in Canada.
In early 2016, MFT ventured into doing clinical research on the efficacies of the medical strains on the market to combat PTSD but they struggled to find a way to capture the data. Together we built the wellness tracker app.
By the summer, so many other businesses were asking them to share the tools we had built—especially the app—so we spun off Knalysis Technologies to offer them to the public. We have now commercialized our products so that others can now make use of our app, analytics web portal, and cannabis patient manager.
Who is using the cannabis patient manager? How does it differ from existing medical software?
There are a lot of electronic medical records platforms (EMRs) out there. You see them every time you go to the doctor or dentist. The administrators are the backbone of this industry and they found it far too time consuming to use a normal EMR, which are designed for hospitals.
They are huge, robust platforms with thousands of features, which meant thousands of buttons and options on the screen they have no need to use. They wanted a tool to track patients with fields specific to medical marijuana. We customized everything about our cannabis patient manager to address how they worked with the goal of automating many of their tasks and saving them time. Their adoption of it proved we were on the right track.
What are the key differences between your two trackers: the Knalysis wellness tracker for everyday use and the wellness tracker for PTSD?
Our everyday use version of the app is designed to determine what medical cannabis strains help to alleviate symptoms of 54 ailments currently recognized by the US and Canadian government. This can include PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, and seizures, for example. The PTSD version of the app contains only moods and symptoms specific to PTSD.
Both versions of the app empower users to actively engage in their personal health monitoring for ailments treated by medical marijuana. Users can track their symptoms, moods, and treatments.
Does the PTSD app make strain recommendations based on a person's mood, or, how exactly does it work? How accurately can ‘mood’ be established with a smartphone?
For businesses that work in this industry (clinics, dispensaries, researchers, growers) we offer a subscription to Analytics Web Portal, a website where they can monitor all the users and customers in their group and test out their own strains to see which ones best help the symptoms. Users can choose to join or leave any group.
For a user, they enter in their present symptom(s) and the mood(s) they are currently feeling. They take their treatment and in about an hour the app asks them to provide their mood again. I’m over-simplifying the process, of course, however the before and after provide us a metric. Combine that with the quantitative data of tens of thousands of others having the same symptoms, moods, and treatments, and we can start to draw some conclusions.
Anecdotally, veterans with PTSD will tell you that Pink Kush [cannabis] will help them have far less nightmares at night and get a much better sleep. With the app we can track all the different strains offered in the Pink Kush family across North America and tell you exactly which growers make the one that treats it the best. For someone suffering, this can make the difference between a medicine that works decent or one that works great.
We are working with cannabis coaches, clinicians, growers, and researchers as the app gains uptake. Currently, they recommend strains to users and then watch the data. We can then hone in on which strains work best for particular symptoms and moods. This influences what the grower focuses on for their next grow cycle on or what the dispensary should order next.
As we gain more data, the app will begin to offer suggestions, especially if it detects negative patterns over time.
As for our moods, we have five levels of moods ranging from green (or happy) moods down to red (angry) moods. A complex algorithm assigns values to the combinations of moods chosen so it can be used for graphing and pattern analysis.
Lastly, we have a fourth module in the app called “impact”. Sometimes events in your life influence your mood (your dog dies, you get married, etc) and we want to be able to tell the difference between moods associated with symptoms and influences from external events.
Where does the information (treatment recommendations, mood patterns and graphs) come from?
Currently, we are not recommending anything through the app. We want to empower the user to see their own patterns and habits and make changes. Are you waking up every morning at 4 a.m. in pain? Perhaps you need a longer-lasting intake method (a capsule can last for many more hours than vaping, for example). It’s not always that simple though, and that is why the app data can be shared with the user’s doctor or coach to find the strains that best work for them.
Using colors for the moods can show at a glance how you are progressing week over week and month over month. Now they have data that tells them what they are doing is not working and that they need to make a change, get advice from a professional, and try different strains. Soon you will be able to also track your other medications alongside your cannabis treatments, water intake, blood pressure, and many more.
Our lead developer is Richard Bennett, who has a doctorate in machine learning and data analytics. Our team is made up of coders with past employment at Microsoft, IBM, McAfee, and Boeing. We also have several PhDs on staff who excel in math and algorithms.
Is there a social media/sharing aspect to this technology?
Definitely not. We want people to share their feelings and symptoms in the app and feel comfortable being candid. Adding in Facebook might deter people from being honest. If the user consents, then they can share their data with their doctor, cannabis coach, or as part of a group gathering data on strains.
The technology was designed to be very secure (the background of most of the team was in IT security, myself included). Our technologies meet or exceed all standards for security and privacy in North America.