According to a research report provided by European investment bank, Bryan, Garnier & Co., the legal global cannabis market is expected to grow more than 1,000% over the next decade and could reach USD 140 Billion dollars by 2027. Data by Arcview Market indicates that while California gets the media attention and Canada gets the investment dollars, as the country expects to legalize cannabis for recreational use, it’s the recent changes in European nations that made the biggest news of 2017 from a worldwide perspective. For example, Germany’s move to make cannabis flower available for medical use in pharmacies. WeedMD Inc. (OTC:WDDMF), Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CARA), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ:GWPH), 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE:XXII), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZYNE)
In the U.S., the potential financial benefits from legalization are important economically as well as politically. Earlier this year California had started legal sales of recreational cannabis. While sales are rising, there are fears that supply will fall short of demand. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Charles Boldwyn, Chief Compliance Officer of ShowGrow in Santa Ana, explained, “We’re looking at … hundreds of licensed cultivators and manufacturers coming out of an environment where we literally had thousands of people who were cultivating and manufacturing… So the red tape is a bit of a bottleneck in the supply chain.” Despite the concerns, the market in California is expected to witness strong growth. The State Department of Finance expects Californians to purchase about 1 million pounds of cannabis over the first full -year of legalization, between July 1st, 2018, and June 30th, 2019.
WeedMD Inc. (OTC:WDDMF) also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture under (TSXV:WMD.VN). Just earlier today, WeedMD Inc. and Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (TSXV:RVV.VN) (OTCQB:RVVTF) (FSE:31R), a company focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel cannabinoid-based therapies, announced that, “they have entered into medical cannabis research and development supply and collaboration agreements (the “Agreements”).
Under the Agreements, WeedMD will supply Revive with cannabidiol (“CBD”) for the research program evaluating CBD in the treatment of liver disease, specifically non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (“NASH”) and autoimmune hepatitis (“AIH”). Working alongside Revive, WeedMD will support the research, development and potential commercialization of CBD in the treatment of liver disease. Additionally, Revive and WeedMD will identify opportunities for developing and commercializing medical cannabis products and therapies for potential collaboration in other treatments.
“The relationship with WeedMD represents a significant milestone for Revive as we have secured a strategic supply of medical-grade CBD for our research, development and commercialization efforts for liver diseases,” said Fabio Chianelli, President of Revive. “With WeedMD’s commitment to the research, development and commercialization of medical grade cannabis, they are the ideal strategic partner for Revive to accelerate the execution of our business plan in commercializing novel cannabinoid-based therapies and to validate our commercial development efforts in the medical cannabis market.”
“WeedMD continues to push ahead with its research and development initiatives, both independently and with research institutions to accelerate cannabinoid applications and delivery system innovations, in addition to collecting valuable data about strains and their effects,” said Dr. Luc Duchesne, Chief Scientific Officer of WeedMD. “Both WeedMD and Revive are making advances as participants in the pharmaceutical cannabis market which begins with the validation of new products and innovations through clinical-evidence and the establishment of intellectual property.”
Having recently secured the intellectual property for its own delivery systems, Revive has assembled a diversified pipeline of pharmaceutical, prescription, and over the counter (OTC) products and together with WeedMD, they will evaluate the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of NASH and AIH, in addition to other potential indications in the future.”
Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CARA) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing new chemical entities designed to alleviate pruritus and pain by selectively targeting peripheral kappa opioid receptors (KORs). Studies on the effects of cannabis (marijuana) have led to the recent discovery of an endogenous system of ligands in humans involved in a number of physiological processes including pain and inflammation. Cara is developing lead molecules that selectively modulate peripheral CB receptors without targeting CNS cannabinoid receptors. Peripheral CB receptor modulators will be initially developed as a novel therapeutic approach for neuropathic pain, a condition currently without consistently effective therapies.
GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ:GWPH), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, along with its U.S. subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences announced earlier in April that the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unanimously recommended supporting the approval of the New Drug Application (NDA) for the investigational cannabidiol oral solution (CBD), also known as Epidiolex®, for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age and older. If approved, Epidiolex would be the first pharmaceutical formulation of purified, plant-based CBD, a cannabinoid lacking the high associated with marijuana, and the first in a new category of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). This public meeting was presented live through FDA’s website.
22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE:XXII), a plant biotechnology company that is focused on tobacco harm reduction and cannabis research, announced last year, that the Company’s research collaboration with strategic partner Anandia Laboratories, Inc. in Vancouver, Canada, has resulted in new industrial hemp plants that have zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent in cannabis. “We are delighted that our exciting research with Anandia Labs has created zero THC plants and altered levels of cannabinoids suitable for both industrial hemp and medical marijuana,” explained Dr. Paul Rushton, 22nd Century’s Vice President for Plant Biotechnology. “We anticipate that our zero THC hemp plants will form the basis of a new generation of industrial hemp and medical marijuana varieties. These markets are projected to be multi-billion dollar markets in the near term.”
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZYNE), a clinical-stage specialty neuropsychiatric pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid treatments for rare and near-rare neurological and psychiatric disorders with high unmet medical needs, announced on March 26th, that researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and the University of Maryland have generated preclinical data from a study funded by NIH grants that suggest potential value in using transdermal cannabidiol (CBD) (ZYN002) to reduce the risk of relapse among recovering drug and alcohol addicts. ZYN002, which was provided by the Company for use in the study, is the first and only pharmaceutically-produced CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced transdermal gel. The results have been published in a paper entitled, ‘Unique Treatment Potential of Cannabidiol for the Prevention of Relapse to Drug Use: Preclinical Proof of Principle’ (Gonzalez-Cuevas, G et al.) in Neuropsychopharmacology, the official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).
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