Employee Spotlight: Meet Justin
If there’s a Lazarus Naturals product that you enjoy, Justin Amesbury played a central role in its creation. After seeing a lack of health-centric, cannabinoid-rich products that were accessible to people who need them most, he sought an opportunity in the industry that utilized his extensive scientific background. He joined the Lazarus Naturals team in 2015 and has been our Director of Research & Development since May 2016.
Justin also represents Lazarus Naturals on the Advisory Panel for the AOAC Cannabis Analytical Science Program, which aims to develop standardized testing methodologies to ensure accurate safety and efficacy testing of cannabinoid products. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with a Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemistry.
How did you first hear about Lazarus Naturals?
I responded to a job posting that Sequoia put up, we met for lunch in downtown Seattle and hit it off immediately. To hear his vision… It didn’t feel like an interview. It felt like a conversation where we were aligned.
Cannabis was always something that was really interesting to me. I knew that CBD was this compound that had incredible therapeutic potential and I was looking for something where I could use my technical background in biochemistry.
How would you summarize what the Research & Development team does?
Product and process development is really what we do. We have an idea for something that might be useful for CBD users, test it out to see if it works, and then carry it out until it’s a highly scaled, production-level process and product.
There’s been 75 years of prohibition where there was no substantial scientific advancements to apply to cannabis and CBD. We’re looking at some of the processes that may have been applied to tangential industries like the pharmaceutical, biochemistry and cosmetic industries, and applying them to the design and development of CBD products, and to the processes that create these products.
Likewise, if there’s a completely new application for CBD that we want to pursue, we look at novel cannabinoids and new processes that could make our production framework more efficient. We’re basically cultivating ideas, new and old, and trying to apply them to problems that need to be solved.
How has the Research & Development team evolved and grown since you’ve been here?
As you would expect with most startups, it was basically a one-man band when I started here in 2015. In the beginning, we looked at how we could effectively and affordably deliver CBD to the people who need it most.
As time has gone on, we’ve become exponentially more complex and advanced in terms of formulation parameters and delivery methods… We’ve been pushing the envelope in terms of what’s possible with CBD product development and delivery.
We’ve also started to build a team of subject matter experts, from organic chemistry, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry… As a team we’re using all the knowledge we’ve gained from past experiences in other industries to design the most effective products possible.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about working at Lazarus Naturals?
You’ll find work as a scientist, but it’s not every day that you get to work in something which is truly on the cutting edge of a scientific discipline. I get to be technically focused and work on something that is only just becoming unwrapped in terms of its potential. It’s a challenge, but a challenge that a lot of people don’t get to undertake. It’s wonderful to be able to do it here alongside a team of incredibly smart and passionate scientists.