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Change of Global Legislature Could Prompt Greater Cannabis Market Expansion
NEW YORK, March 7, 2019 /CNW/ -- With the recent boom in the cannabis industry, the plant is being exported around the globe to various countries for medicinal uses. Now, many countries are adopting medical laws to use cannabis as a registered medicine and an alternative to traditional methods and drugs. Various researches that have been conducted have linked cannabis to effectively treating conditions such as dementia, behavioral disorder, and chronic pain. Tikun Olam, Israel's veteran medical cannabis company, is among the multitude of organizations undergoing cannabis research. Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, Director of Tikun Olam's research department, conducted a clinical trial to test the efficacy of cannabis in elderly patients suffering from cancer and its associated pain and treatment side effects. The results showed a significant reduction in pain levels and an improved quality of life. Positive results from these studies further progress the overall medical cannabis industry by adding credibility to the plant and its uses. As clinical trials continue, many countries are now exploring opportunities within the medical market. And according to data compiled by Global Market Insights, the global medical marijuana market is projected to surpass USD 55 Billion by 2024. Additionally, the market sector is expected to witness a CAGR of 36.2% throughout the forecast period from 2018 to 2024. MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MLCPF) (TSX-V: LABS), CannaRoyalty Corp. (OTC: ORHOF) (CSE: OH), Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: NTEC), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) (TSX: NEPT), Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC: EMHTF) (TSX-V: EMH)
Normally, patients suffering from chronic pain are prescribed opioids. However, side-effects associated with opioids are liver damage, brain damage, and even addiction. In Schleider's research, it was concluded that the most common side effects of cannabis are dizziness and dry mouth. While the dizziness side effect could possibly increase the risk of falling in the elderly, the research actually showed that the number of falls drastically declined. In another study by Tikun Olam, cannabis was used as an appetite stimulant in patients suffering from cancer and AIDs. Despite the uplifting results, cannabis is still technically federally illegal in many countries. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now calling for cannabis to be removed from its status as a Schedule IV drug, the most restrictive category of a 1961 drug convention signed by countries, according to Forbes. The organization also wants to move THC and its isomers to be removed from a separate 1971 drug treaty and added to Schedule I of the 1961 convention. If the proposition is granted, it can potentially further fuel the overall medical cannabis industry. "The placement of cannabis in the 1961 treaty, in the absence of scientific evidence, was a terrible injustice," said Michael Krawitz, a U.S. Air Force veteran and legalization advocate who has pushed for international reforms. "Today the World Health Organization has gone a long way towards setting the record straight. "It is time for us all to support the World Health Organization's recommendations and ensure politics don't trump science."
MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTCQB: MLCPF) (TSX-V: LABS) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker (TSX-V: LABS). Earlier last month the company announced breaking cannabis news that, "its wholly-owned subsidiary, MediPharm Labs Inc. ("MediPharm Labs" or the "Company"), has entered into its first definitive international sales agreement, dated February 20, 2019, with AusCann Group Holdings Ltd. ("AusCann") to supply private label purified, pharmaceutical grade cannabis oil concentrates, or resin, from MediPharm Labs' own inventory of oil for export to Australia. AusCann will use MediPharm Labs' concentrates to manufacture hard-shell cannabinoid capsules to address the medical patient demand and critical need for precision and consistency of dose in cannabinoid medicines.
'MediPharm Labs has quickly established a global reputation as the go-to producer of high quality, pharmaceutical grade cannabis concentrates at commercial scale. We are thrilled to have been selected by AusCann as a supplier of choice for their medical products and clinical trials," said Patrick McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer of MediPharm Labs. "As the first extraction-only LP to begin exporting to Australia, this agreement marks an important milestone that accelerates our expectations for future growth. Looking ahead, we expect to begin supplying additional international markets to build our robust global distribution platform.'
'MediPharm Labs' significant market share combined with proprietary methodology ensures reliable supply of pharma-grade cannabinoid extracts and AusCann's continued ability to develop and deliver quality cannabinoid medicines for distribution in Australia," said Dr. Paul MacLeman, Interim CEO of AusCann. "Critical to our process is repeatability in manufacturing, reliable dosing, and purity assurance. MediPharm Labs' concentrates will form an important foundation to our products that will allow delivery of effective, trusted and safe medicines for the treatment of chronic pain'.
This marks the Company's first international export agreement and establishes MediPharm Labs as the first extraction-only licensed producer in Canada to commence exporting pharmaceutical grade cannabis oil to Australia. To date, MediPharm Labs has completed 5 private label sales agreement since receiving its sales license in November 2018. The first export of cannabis concentrate is expected be completed in the coming months, subject to regulatory requirements. The agreement has a two-year term. The Company expects to continue expanding its international distribution of its proprietary cannabis concentrate products for resale globally on a private label basis for medical markets. Initially this demand will be serviced from its wholly-owned, leading facility in Canada, and once its Australian laboratory, now under construction, is fully licensed and operational, Australia and Asia-Pacific demand can be addressed regionally.
About AusCann Group Holdings Limited: AusCann Group Holdings Limited (ASX:AC8) is an Australian-based pharmaceutical company that is working to produce high quality, economical, and clinically validated cannabinoid medicines. AusCann is bringing together leading expertise and operations across all aspects of the medical cannabis value chain, beginning with cultivation and production, through to manufacture and distribution of products. Through partnerships with industry experts, existing leading market participants and doctors, AusCann is building operations and educating the medical community about the benefits of cannabinoid medicines. Incorporated in 2014, AusCann holds all necessary licenses to grow and manufacture cannabinoid medicines in Australia. The company is initially targeting medications for neuropathic and chronic pain in Australia and Chile, whilst exploring global export opportunities.
About MediPharm Labs Corp: Founded in 2015, MediPharm Labs has the distinction of being the first company in Canada to become a licensed producer for cannabis oil production under the ACMPR without first receiving a cannabis cultivation licence. This expert focus on cannabis concentrates from our cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) and ISO standard clean rooms and critical environments laboratory, allows MediPharm Labs to produce purified, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oil and concentrates for advanced derivative products. MediPharm Labs has invested in an expert, research-driven team, state-of-the-art technology, downstream extraction methodologies and purpose-built facilities to deliver pure, safe and precisely-dosed cannabis products to patients and consumers. MediPharm Labs' private label program is a high margin business for the Company, whereby it opportunistically procures dry cannabis flower and trim from its numerous product supply partners, to produce proprietary cannabis oil concentrate products for resale globally on a private label basis. MediPharm Labs was recently named START-UP OF THE YEAR at the Canadian Cannabis Awards."
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CannaRoyalty Corp. (OTCQX: ORHOF) (CSE: OH) is a growing cannabis product and brands company operating across key markets in the U.S. and Canada, with a strategic focus on becoming a preeminent global house of cannabis brands. CannaRoyalty Corp. d/b/a Origin House, recently announced that it had entered into a Brand Accelerator Program agreement with Mendocino-based cannabis producer, Heritage Holding of California, Inc. d/b/a Henry's Original. Upon the completion of this deal, Henry's Original-branded products will be distributed exclusively in California by Origin House's wholly-owned distribution subsidiary, RVR Distribution, terminating Henry's distribution arrangements with other third-party distributors across the state. Henry's Original-branded products are currently carried in approximately 200 dispensaries across California. "Henry's Original was one of the first brands we partnered with under our innovative and growing Brand Accelerator Program. Our original partnership with Henry's bolstered their ability to meet consumer demand for its heirloom Mendocino-grown cannabis, while giving us the opportunity to financially support local Mendocino farmers," commented Afzal Hasan, President and General Counsel of Origin House. "With our expanded relationship, we are providing short-term growth capital to further develop Henry's cultivation capacity, and simultaneously introduce Henry's Original products statewide through RVR's distribution platform. This Agreement advances the Company's mission of becoming a preeminent global house of cannabis brand by expanding our growing portfolio of California brands, while accelerating the growth of entrepreneurs with authentic brands sought after by consumers," Mr. Hasan added.
Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: NTEC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drugs based on its proprietary Accordion Pill platform technology. Intec Pharma Ltd. recently announced the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 1 pharmacokinetic (PK) study of AP-THC, its proprietary Accordion Pill™ platform containing synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary cannabinoids contained in cannabis. The Phase 1 PK study is a single-center, single-dose, randomized, open-label three-way crossover study to investigate the PK, safety and tolerability of AP-THC in up to 18 normal healthy volunteers. "We are very pleased to be advancing our medical cannabinoid development program as we believe the Accordion Pill's gastric retentive technology is ideally suited to extend the absorption phase of THC, with the goal of a slower rate of rise and more consistent drug plasma levels after oral delivery. The combination of the slower rate of rise with sustained and consistent plasma levels is expected to lead to an improved therapeutic effect and reduce the adverse events that are correlated with rate of rise and peak THC plasma levels," said Jeffrey A. Meckler, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intec Pharma.
Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) (TSX: NEPT) specializes in the extraction, purification and formulation of health and wellness products. Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. recently announced that it had 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. "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.
Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQX: EMHTF) (TSX-V: EMH) is a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis. Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. recently announced the launch of Verdélite Sciences Inc., a wholly-owned, Québec-based production subsidiary licensed by Health Canada. Formerly known as Agro-Biotech, Verdélite currently produces high-grade dried cannabis for medical and adult-use purposes. Emerald is nearing completion of its over USD 100 Million investment to secure and expand its multi-purpose facility to 88,000 sq. ft. and enable the complete cycle of indoor cultivation, product development and automated packaging of cannabis products. Upon reaching full production levels in mid-2019, Verdélite projects it will have created approximately 140 jobs. In addition to 23 state-of-the-art growing rooms, the facility will include an analytical testing laboratory as well as a research center for product innovation and extraction technology. These capabilities will also position Verdélite to competitively participate in the development and production of edible cannabis products, which are expected to be sanctioned by Health Canada by October 17, 2019. "This investment will enable us to produce quality cannabis products adhering to our high growing and processing standards," said Thierry Schmidt, President of Verdélite Sciences. "Verdélite will be synonymous with differentiated and value-added cannabis products, and we are pleased to see the level of industry skill and enthusiasm coming from the Saint-Eustache community and the local interest and support to help contribute to our success."
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