Yewande Okuleye is an interdisciplinary scholar with degrees in biochemistry, fine art, research methodology and the history of medicine. Prior to returning to academia, Yewande worked as a chemist at the Body Shop International and was part of the pioneering research and development team, which investigated animal testing alternatives and formulated innovative hair, skin, perfumery and well-being products, which defined the natural and ethical skin care movement of the 1990s. This remit included framing scientific, cultural and social meanings of ‘natural’ for the lay public, scientific and well-being sectors. Yewande later lectured on the Cosmetic Science degree course, University of the Arts, London, where she gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning, in HE. Yewande has conducted pedagogic research and used focus group, action research, oral history interviews, and digital ethnography as research methodologies.
Her PhD thesis, Reclaiming Cannabis Medicine, Medical and Well-Being Narratives and Counter Narratives (1992- 2019), investigated how different stakeholders negotiated the barriers and opportunities to develop cannabis and cannabinoid medicine. Research findings indicate the stigma and misunderstandings associated with cannabis drug, an unstable cannabis medicine lexicon and the lack of robust clinical evidence, requires an interdisciplinary problem-solving approach to engage with an emerging, divergent cannabis medicine marketplace. Yewande is a member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), a member of the educational advisory committee and lecturer on the Masterclass Medicinal Cannabis, where she has delivered lectures internationally. The emergence of cannabis and cannabinoid medicine as a new discipline situates Yewande’s expertise at the intersection of cannabis and cannabinoid academia, policy, and the nascent cannabis industry.