A recent poll by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health has revealed that older generations were increasingly found to be using cannabis. The survey, which was conducted in 2015 and 2016, revealed that 9% of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used a cannabis-based product. And about 3% of people over the age of 65 used cannabis in the same period. The statistics show that cannabis consumption has increased among the older generations since the previous survey in 2013 as almost a quarter of those over 65 were prescribed cannabis as a treatment from their doctors in 2016. Some tried cannabis for recreational use, however, most turn to cannabis for medical reasons. While recreational cannabis laws are still regulated in most U.S. states and even internationally, medical cannabis regulations are much more lenient because of the plant’s therapeutic effects. Now, consumers are using cannabis to treat medical conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, and arthritis. According to data compiled by Credence Research, the global medical marijuana market was valued at USD 13.90 Billion in 2017 and is set to reach USD 57.58 Billion. Additionally, the market is expected to witness a CAGR of 17.1% throughout the forecast period from 2018 to 2026. Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTC:PBIO), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON.TO), Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTC:ACRGF) (CNSX:ACRG-U.CN), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT.TO), MariMed Inc. (OTC:MRMD)
Cannabis is technically not a registered medical treatment in many countries, however, many are conducting clinical trials and research to further understand the effects of the plant. As positive results from studies come out, more countries are expected to follow the footsteps of those who have already legalized medical cannabis. “As legislation expands rapidly worldwide, the volume of efficacy data is growing, as are legitimate clinical trial studies,” says Liam McGreevy, Chief Executive Officer of Ethnopharm, a European cannabis company specializing in genetics and distribution, “This data will enable us to better understand the effects of the various cannabinoids and terpenes, their synergistic effect and how their impact links to the individual’s genetics or biomarkers. This data is key to understanding the most effective combinations and strengths for various conditions, moving towards targeted personalized medicines.”
Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB:PBIO) announced earlier last month that, “analytical testing on hemp-derived CBD oil processed via PBI’s Ultra Shear TechnologyTM (USTTM) platform has confirmed that UST processing uniquely achieves the challenging criteria for creating highly-effective “nanoemulsions” of CBD oil in water, without loss or modification of CBD throughout the entire UST process (> 99% recovery).
The ultimate goal in mixing oil-based nutritional and therapeutic products like CBD oil into water, for effective oral or topical delivery and absorption, is to reduce the size of the oil drops to such a level that they seemingly ‘vanish’ into the water (become “water soluble”). These exceedingly small, nanometer-scale droplets are so tiny that it becomes very easy for the human (or other animal) body to absorb the oil-based nutrients or drugs (like CBD) directly from the inner surface of the oil droplet. Traditional processing methods struggle mightily with this challenge, but PBI’s proprietary UST platform uses ultra-high pressure to create extreme shearing forces to make nanometer-scale droplets of fluids that become highly-stable, homogenized “nanoemulsions” of materials that normally do not mix (e.g., CBD oil and water).
Dr. Vera Gross, Director of Applications Development at PBI, explained: ‘We asked an independent, university-affiliated laboratory to determine the size of oil droplets achieved in UST-processed CBD oil, using a universally-accepted sizing method called DLS. Their analytical results revealed that the UST- processed oil drops were reduced to approximately 65 nm in size, well into the 20-200 nm range targeted for truly effective nanoemulsion delivery and absorption of nutrients and therapeutics, such as CBD (Nano- and Microscale Drug Delivery Systems, 2017).’
Dr. Gross continued: ‘It was critically important to also demonstrate that CBD from hemp-derived CBD oil was not lost or modified during UST processing. For this we enlisted the help of scientists at NutraFuels, Inc. (OTCQB:NTFU), which has an FDA-inspected, highly-qualified analytical testing laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained chemists with years of experience in laboratory testing.’
Mr. Cooper Dodd, R&D Scientist at NTFU, said: ‘Using a powerful laboratory method called HPLC to measure the concentrations of CBD and potential impurities, we determined that no appreciable amount of CBD was lost during the UST process. These results compare well to our standard processing method of ultrasonication, which can carry a risk of measurable loss of CBD, and sometimes creates the appearance of impurities if not performed properly. While there is more work to be done, as a nutraceutical manufacturer with products already on the market, we see these results as a robust leap towards better optimization of our CBD-enhanced products.’
Dr. Keith Warriner, Professor of Food Science at the University of Guelph (Toronto), and a recognized expert in the cannabis industry, commented: ‘The data released today on UST-generated nanoemulsions of CBD oil are very impressive. Creating nanoemulsions of CBD oil with full preservation of CBD throughout the process, while not generating impurities, remains a significant challenge in the industry. These data indicate that UST can achieve that goal, thereby offering great promise to the future.’
Professor Warriner continued: ‘Not only does the UST process appear capable of achieving stability of emulsions, but the controlled heating that also occurs may offer a valid alternative to thermal and non-thermal pasteurization methods to reduce the risk of harmful microbes in products such as edibles and topicals. I believe that CBD-infused topicals and similar products will prove more popular with users than edibles. However, to be successful, it is imperative that topicals be highly stable, safe, bioavailable, and readily absorbent nanoemulsions. After consideration of the data released today, the UST process appears to be a leading candidate to fill that important need.’
Dr. Bradford A. Young, Chief Commercial Officer of PBI, summarized: ‘We were delighted to release a short video last week showing the ability of our new UST platform to make visually clear and stable mixtures of CBD oil and water. The scientific data released today have further validated the achievement of creating high quality, nanoemulsion mixtures of oil and water using our UST platform. In particular, these data specifically show that CBD levels are preserved all the way through UST processing to the finished product. We are very excited by these results and believe our proprietary Ultra Shear Technology can help a diverse variety of customers to develop a vast array of new and beneficial products spanning multiple large markets, including CBD and nutraceuticals, cosmetics and topicals, food and beverages, drug delivery and more.'”
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Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON.TO) is a globally diversified and vertically integrated cannabis company with a presence across five continents. Cronos Group Inc. and Aleafia Health Inc. (TSXV:ALEF.VN) (OTCQX:ALEAF) recently announced the commencement of a joint medical cannabis study to improve the management and treatment of insomnia and daytime sleepiness. The study is funded in part by Peace Naturals Project Inc., a licensed producer of medical cannabis that is wholly owned by Cronos Group. The study will be led by physicians practicing within the Canabo Medical Clinic network, which is wholly owned by Aleafia. According to a July 2017 report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, entitled Drug Summary: Prescription Sedatives, 11.4% of adults aged 25 and older had used a prescription sedative in the past year. The study will aim to assist in the treatment of insomnia and the development of non-addictive, natural sleep aids. “The negative health impacts of sleep disorders and their proper treatment must be more widely acknowledged and understood,” said Mike Gorenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Cronos Group. “Cronos Group is pleased to find a partner in Aleafia that shares our commitment to addressing this overlooked public health issue.”
Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTCQX:ACRGF) (CNSX:ACRG-U.CN), headquartered in New York City, is the largest vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets in U.S. states with respect to number of states with operating licenses, according to public filings. Acreage Holdings, Inc. recently announced Greenleaf Apothecaries, LLC opened its first “The Botanist” medical cannabis dispensary in Canton, OH. Acreage maintains a Management Services Agreement with Greenleaf that delivers Acreage’s operational expertise, product development capabilities, and “The Botanist” retail dispensary brand. Greenleaf plans to open additional “The Botanist” dispensaries in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Wickliffe that will serve qualifying patients from Ohio’s nearly 12 million residents and an estimated total addressable cannabis market in 2022 of USD 290 Million, according to Arcview Market Research. Greenleaf is one of three operators in Ohio that was awarded the maximum allotment of five dispensary operating licenses and was also recently awarded a Level 1 provisional cultivation license by the Ohio Department of Commerce. The new cultivation and processing facility will be located in Middlefield, OH.
Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT.TO) specializes in the extraction, purification and formulation of health and wellness products. Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. recently announced that it has received its license to process cannabis from Health Canada. The Health Canada license enables Neptune to handle dried cannabis, to manufacture and purify cannabis extracts and cannabis oil, and to sell its services to other license holders. With production activities anticipated to commence shortly at Neptune’s 50,000 sq. ft. good manufacturing practice (GMP)-certified facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, the Company expects to be able to generate revenues from existing supply agreements and conclude additional agreements shortly. Neptune remains on track to complete its Phase II capacity investment by March 2019, which will increase its facility’s input capacity to 200,000 kg of dried cannabis from a current capacity of 30,000 kg. This will position Neptune among Canada’s largest cannabis processors, with additional significant capacity expansion potential in the Sherbrooke facility of up to 6,000 metric tons to meet global demand for medical cannabis products. “This is a thrilling moment for Neptune as our ambition to redeploy our core competencies to exciting consumer product categories by creating and delivering differentiated formulations for the burgeoning cannabis market becomes a reality. Neptune’s long-standing scientific expertise in the formulation of natural health products supports our ability to deliver exceptional quality formulations for our business customers. The processing license granted by the agency puts us on a new growth trajectory, positioning Neptune as a provider of extracted cannabis products in this large, growing global market segment,” said Jim Hamilton, President & Chief Executive Officer of Neptune.
MariMed Inc. (OTCQB:MRMD) is a multi-state cannabis company that develops, owns and operates licensed cannabis facilities and develops and distributes branded cannabis and hemp product lines. After President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, MariMed, Inc. recently announced a major hemp investment, hailed the imminent signing of the bill as “the official launch of the Hemp CBD Era.” Hemp-derived CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and sleep disorders without the side effects and addiction risks of many pharmaceuticals. CBD has also been proven effective in treating a wide range of medical conditions, including certain types of epilepsy, some cancers and painful cancer treatments, arthritic and muscular pain, high blood pressure, and various skin conditions, including acne. “The expected signing of the Farm Bill will enable Americans to enjoy legal access to a host of hemp-derived CBD-based solutions, which are already renowned for their health and wellness benefits,” said Robert Fireman, MariMed Chief Executive Officer. “MariMed expects to make a series of Hemp CBD product and distribution announcements in 2019. We are excited about the potential of legalized hemp to benefit millions of Americans in many ways.”
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