Increasingly vocal and committed advocacy for medical marijuana has made cannabis use a hot button topic. Yet, although the issue is increasingly gaining support, medical cannabis remains a stigmatized medicine. This stigma goes beyond the tired notion of couch potatoes raiding whatever may be available in the kitchen cabinet, and has actually affected how - and if - patients can obtain medical cannabis. Perhaps even more harmful though, is the effect the marijuana stigma has on the ability of scientists to conduct research into the medical benefits of the cannabis plant.
Legal Concerns Impede Access to Valuable Research
As a result of various legal hurdles and an ill-informed public, scientists are very limited in the type of research that they can conduct as it pertains to cannabis. As a result, doctors are not afforded the knowledge regarding medical cannabis and how it may help or even be a better treatment alternative for their patients. THC Biomed INTL Ltd. (CSE: THC), a company devoted to research, analysis and development with regards to medical cannabis, aims to remedy these obstacles and become the intellectual and scientific leader in cannabinoid applications for the treatment of diseases.
THC BioMed provides analytical, scientific and biotechnological support services to current and potential licensed producers under the MMPR. Providing expertise to current and aspiring LP’s, the company offers support services such as full analytical services and an option for in-house training that includes:
- Extraction Services
- Horticulture training
- Quality Assurance training
- Record Keeping / Documentation
- Simulated Inspections
The company also provides a service called Seeds R Us. This service aims to provide accessibility to an expansive inventory of superior genetic strains, with guaranteed consistency for aspiring Licensed Producers.
Licensing, Licensing, Licensing
Until it's a fully authorized Licensed Producer under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), THC BioMed can only offer limited services. If granted a Licensed Producer status, which the company has completed the final steps of the application process, this milestone will position the company as the leadingLP to provide scientific and biotechnological support services for the MMPR market in Canada, including extraction services.
“We’d be the first licensed producer to offer consulting services, said John Miller, CEO and President of THC BioMed. “We hope to take advantage of that because, if THC BioMed is licensed, it would be the most recent company to be licensed by Health Canada, this would obviously mean that there are other licenses coming down the tube. We’d be uniquely positioned in that we understand the application process having gone through Health Canadas application process for an exemption 56 to conduct research and development that was granted to us between august 2013 to august 2014, and we have navigated through the MMPR application process and understand the process pretty well. This knowledge, along with the fact that once we become licensed producerswe will be in the loop, so to speak, on all changes within the system enabling us to assist other aspiring licensed producers, as they navigate through their application process. Our consulting services would further allow us to develop and solidify a relationship with these companies so that when they become licensed producers, they will use our other services. Services such as, analytical testing, consulting,extraction services as well as the wholesale of cannabis product. That is the competitive advantage we will have over the rest of the consultants that are not licenced producer .”
Licensing will afford THC BioMed the ability to function in a number of ways. Upon licensing, the company plans to go into growing medical cannabis for wholesale purposes as well as for sale to registered patients. THC BioMed also intends to offer extraction services to those licenced producers, that do not want to do their own extraction.We intend to use our onsite analytical testing laboratory for cannabinoid profile testing, extraction of oils, as well as research and development projects
“We applied for a license that is all encompassing,” said Miller. “We are hopeful if our application is approved to receive wide spectrum of licensing permissions, so we can basically perform any vertical within the cannabis industry. We did not only apply for a license to cultivate and sell marijuana, but we also applied for a license to contract other activities within this space including the ability to perform research and development into the active profiles within the plant in anticipation of conductingclinical trials.
All About the Science
There’s more to cannabis than its well-known psychoactive cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis consists of over 500 natural compounds, with at least 85 of those compounds being cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have been shown to contain properties that are anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-nausea, anti-seizure, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective. One such cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is believed to contain all the aforementioned medicinal benefits, as well as, properties that are pain relieving, bone stimulating, anti-anxiety, anti-diabetic, anti-spasmodic and anti-bacterial. One of these benefits was confirmed in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics peer reviewed journal, where a study was published in November of 2007, stating CBD was observed to inhibit breast cancer cells, by turning off a gene called Id-11. Furthermore, current studies have been published revealing the benefits of cannabis are no longer anecdotal, but there is scientific evidence proving that there is an advantage to prescribing medicinal marijuana. In The Journal of the American Medical Association, a clinical review was published in June of 2015, on medical marijuana and the treatment of chronic pain and the findings were that, “[u]se of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence”2.
There is no doubt that the perceived risk in society is steadily decreasing and the rate of use is steadily increasing, as more knowledge is disseminated on the numerous therapeutic applications. However, the burden of proof threshold for prescribing medicinal marijuana, remains a very real issue. This will not be resolved until the science exists to demonstrate with impunity, that this complex plant can be administered in safe, effective and standardized doses that have passed rigorous Quality Assurance compliance protocols. Research into the proclaimed health benefits of medical cannabis is improving, albeit slowly and only as legislation allows.
The legal complexities surrounding medical cannabis have thwarted much needed research. According to Business Insider, only 6.00% of studies on marijuana analyze its medicinal properties. THC BioMed believes that the future of the medical cannabis lies within the untapped potential that exists for cannabinoid applications in the treatment of diseases, associated with Chronic Inflammatory Response.
Eight of the most common causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, type II diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, influenza and pneumonia, and depression-related suicide, have a causal or a direct relation to inflammatory response. Furthermore, diseases such as arthritis, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, chronic stress, and multiple sclerosis are also casually or directly related to inflammatory response.
“The industry is undoubtedly growing, however, there is still exists a significant divide between policy made by the governing regulatory body and the scientific research portion of medical cannabis. The science has simply not caught up or has not been there,” said Jason Walsh, Director of THC BioMed. “There has been very little detailed, scientific research done, or patient studies condoned by Health Canada. There have been some independent studies done in Europe that have been going on for years. I strongly believe becoming a licensed producer through the MMPR will carry a lot of credence as we move forward and the industry continues to expand”.
The Green Market
One of the common misconceptions surrounding medical cannabis is the result of popular depiction of recreational use. Cannabis use is often portrayed through smoking. Even among the medical cannabis industry, smoking is not a recommended method of use. “I guess when you look at it, the biggest opportunities obviously are in the supply of derivatives and that’s where we believe the industry is headed,” said Miller. “I think society will step away from marijuana being smoked, because of the attributed, health concerns. Smoking is not good for you. I think concentrating more on the derivatives is where the profitability is going to be.”
Upon legalization and licensing, THC BioMed is positioned to produce through their laboratory various derivatives, such as edibles, anti-inflammatory topical agents, standardized alternative delivery methods such as patches and tincture, pills, and encapsulated oils. By establishing predictable and consistent doses with every batch produced, the medical cannabis populace will have access to safe and effective derivatives.
“The whole derivatives market, as we have learned in the States, is screaming for scientific research and and reliable testing,” said Walsh. “Not just the testing ability, but the ability to get predictable dosages into the derivatives market is a must, and the fight between the regulators and suppliers creating a massive business.”
Furthermore, the company stands apart from its competitors by presenting a unique investment opportunity. “We have a very attractive market cap. We've got one of the lowest market caps of our peers, so from an investor standpoint is a great opportunity,” said Walsh. “We’re trading around a $10 million market cap where our peers are being valued anywhere from $30 million to $80 million. The opportunity is seeing the story prior to a license being issued.. Just the license alone seems to be valued $30 million plus.”
A New (and Long Awaited) Standard
Additional knowledge is crucial in breaking down the stigmas that surround this potentially ground breaking plant, and crucial in providing additional treatment options to those suffering from a number of ailments related to inflammatory response. Continued support for legalization and education, along with the demand for derivative alternatives, has created the need for substantiated scientific data and evidence related to the potential medicinal properties of cannabis. THC BioMed, in their effort to become licensed in Canada, is positioned to fill the remaining void in our knowledge, while setting a standard of excellence in the burgeoning Medical Cannabis industry.
For more information about THC BioMed, visit www.thcbiomed.com.
- McAllister SD1, Christian RT, Horowitz MP, Garcia A, Desprez PY. (2007). Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells: The Journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Nov; 6 (11), 2921-2927.
- Hill, Kevin P. (2015). Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems: A Clinical Review: The Journal of the American Medical Association, June; 313 (24), 2474-2483.
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