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Consumer's Calls for Cannabis Legalization Continue as Plant's Versatility is Exhibited
FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
NEW YORK, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Legalization efforts, which are ever present within the cannabis industry, have steadily attracted new consumers each year. In particular, Baby Boomers have seen a large influx of users over recent years; In a survey by MJ Freeway and New Frontier Data, U.S. sales by consumers 55 years or older have increased by 50% since 2015. These consumers alone now account for 29% of medical sales and a quarter of all sales. Currently, the U.S. represents the largest cannabis marketplace, primarily due to states that have already legalized recreational cannabis such as California and Colorado. Since 2015, retail flower prices have fallen significantly as the price per ounce dropped by 25% due to a 40% drop in consumer demand. On the other hand, the concentrate segment is garnering attention as shares of the concentrate market has grown by 138% since 2015, from 16% of all retail sales to 38% in late 2018. Additionally, while 60% of consumers in the survey said they spend less than USD 50 each time they purchase cannabis-based products, many of these consumers purchase more products multiple times within a month, with nearly half of the consumers surveyed stating they spend more than USD 100 per month on cannabis. In combination, all these factors are further propelling the cannabis market. Additionally, the market is also expected to grow pending on international legalization efforts, where most of the countries currently examining the plant are expected to follow a medical legalization path, while also prompting other countries to examine the market. According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016. By 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 65 Billion, growing at a CAGR of 37% during the forecasted period. AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV), Aleafia Health Inc. (OTC: ALEAF) (TSX: ALEF), Lifestyle Delivery Systems, Inc. (OTC: LDSYF) (CSE: LDS), InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC: IMLFF) (TSX: IN), MYM Nutraceuticals Inc. (OTC: MYMMF) (CSE: MYM)
The cannabis industry has grown tremendously over the past few years, however, the plant still remains federally enforced in almost every country. So far, cannabis remains strictly regulated due to its marijuana derivative, which grants consumers psychoactive effects stemming from its THC compound. However, Harvard's Medical School publishing organization has cited various studies which showed that CBD can potentially be an option for treating various medical conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and notably epilepsy. Strong evidence of effective CBD treatments for childhood epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome have even led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to legalize Epidiolox, which the first ever cannabis-based drug to be approved by the FDA. However, the FDA has not moved to classify cannabis as a registered medicine for other treatments due to the lack of large-scale clinical trials. However, companies and researchers are keen to keep expanding and improving studies to further add credibility to the CBD compound. "CBD has a number of known properties beneficial to the human condition, and research is just beginning," Aster Farms President Sam Ludwig told Civilized. "There are two markets for CBD: as a supplement, mild pain reliever and relaxant, and in larger doses, as a truly beneficial remedy for a variety of serious illnesses. There is no doubt it will be dominant supplement for years to come. CBD-heavy flower can be a very effective relaxant for both mind and body. However, people looking for CBD only will find the cleanest and most focused relief in the form of tinctures and capsules. We think the CBD flower market is a trend and will give way to the more concentrated forms. Like an Omega-3 for the body and mind."
AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: AREV). Earlier this month, the Company announced that, "BC Bud Depot has commenced an intensive phase of developing new proprietary strains for the Company. Seeing a deficiency in the variety and qualities of cannabis strains made available to the medicinal and recreational markets by Licensed Producers in Canada, BC Bud Depot has begun germination and selection from its extensive proprietary genetics vault of breeding stock for new strain development. The BC Bud Depot genetics vault is a collection of over two hundred unique and elite cannabis strains collected over 20 years. Many of the strains are believed to no longer exist anywhere else in the world.
AREV, a cannabis integrator company through its holdings in BC Bud Depot has extensive cannabis genetics and breeding programs, is also pleased to announce today a strategic collaboration between BC Bud Depot with Lighthouse Genomics Inc., a national leader in cannabis genetic research involving high-value genetic traits and genome sequence analysis. This breeding partnership will allow BC Bud Depot's Health Canada-licensed breeders to benefit from Lighthouse's industry-leading technologies, and to apply genetic intelligence towards the accelerated production of proprietary genetic assets with rare traits and high consumer demand.
Lighthouse has conducted Whole Genome Sequencing on a population of ten BC Bud Depot cultivars, obtaining data from the entire DNA sequence - roughly 800 million base pairs per individual plant - at 15 times coverage, a level of accuracy unprecedented in the cannabis industry worldwide. Lighthouse's work with the high-quality data from BC Bud Depot genetics allowed for a significant advancement in cannabis science, with over 25 Million variable locations detected in the genomes sequenced, as compared to approximately 450,000 reported in published studies, a 55-fold increase in the number of high-interest data points. The project team consisting of two PhD geneticists and seasoned cannabis breeders is led by Lighthouse Chief Science Officer Dr. Gina Conte.
"Until recently, genetic data at this level of accuracy was available only in the field of human genomics," stated Dr. Conte, who designed Lighthouse's proprietary analytic software. "We are able to detect the degree of genetic novelty, or 'uniqueness,' of individual genes of interest, and of the plant genome as a whole," she added.
"Our project with AREV and BC Bud Depot uses cutting-edge science to accelerate the development of rare and unique genetic assets with valuable, targeted qualities," stated Timothy Harvey, Lighthouse CEO. 'We can rapidly detect those distinct cultivars with uncommon characteristics that stand apart from the cluster of genetically similar strains currently flooding the market. Identifying desirable genetic differentiators allows us to breed for innovation, targeted user experience and specific areas of benefit in health and medicine."
Lighthouse is providing BC Bud Depot extensive consulting and two forms of reporting: a Genetic Assets Overview for the population as a whole, detailing genetic distance between cultivars, and a Genome Report for each individual plant sequenced. In addition to analysis including ancestry, genetic stability and genetic novelty, the Genome Report offers a comprehensive panel of functionally important and well-annotated genes, including those involved in cannabinoid and terpene synthesis, greatly facilitating genetically-informed breeding.
"In each of our focus areas, from breeding to extraction and product formulation, AREV is committed to operating at the forefront of cannabis science and technology," stated CEO Mike Withrow. "The BC Bud Depot brand has a track record distinguishing them as leaders in cannabis breeding. It is natural that we collaborate with a company such as Lighthouse that leverages the most advanced technologies and expertise in the field of cannabis genetic science. Their work empowers the mandate of our breeding program to create proprietary genetic assets that are demonstrably without equal in the cannabis industry."
Matthew Harvey, lead breeder for BC Bud Depot states, "Our mandate is to improve the quality of cannabis available to both medicinal and recreational consumers in Canada and abroad. We have the privilege of drawing upon a vault of seeds containing popular strains long thought to be lost to the world. This will ensure an improvement and expansion of the available cannabis gene pool."
Mike Withrow, CEO for AREV Brands International states, "The ownership of BC Bud Depot's vast genetic reservoir of historic strains allows us to apply new breeding techniques to creating the next generation of cannabis strains, with a broad appeal to consumers and industry. Our breeding programs will ensure that BC Bud Depot genetics continue to set the bar for quality in the industry, and we will select our cultivation partners based on their ability to bring out the very best in these strains."
About AREV Brands International Ltd: AREV Brands International Ltd. ('AREV') produces and delivers functional compounds and ingredients from its world-class extraction systems. AREV is revolutionizing the current delivery method of terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids. These premium ingredients and formulations are used in products targeted for sale in the natural health, medical, functional food, nutraceutical, sport nutrition and bioceutical markets. AREV innovates through extraction to produce extracts from specific selected plant and exude from trees that address 5 areas of health including Anxiety, Pain Management, Insomnia, Central Nervous System Disorders & Libido.
Aleafia Health Inc. (OTCQX: ALEAF) (TSX: ALEF) is a leading, vertically integrated cannabis health and wellness company with four primary business units. Aleafia Health Inc. recently announced the launch of Symbl Atmosphere, the Company's first adult-use oral metered-dose cannabis spray. The first order of Symbl Atmosphere has been placed by the BC Liquor Distribution, the sole adult-use cannabis wholesale distributor and operator of public retail stores in Canada's third largest province. The launch reinforces the Company's health & wellness adult-use product strategy. Building on its diverse portfolio of medical cannabis products, Aleafia Health will also deliver innovative, products for health & wellness conscious consumers preferring to purchase in the adult-use market. Symbl Atmosphere ensures a precise dose with each spray in a convenient delivery system and is available in three distinct formulations. "The Symbl Atmosphere brand and format extension for the adult-use consumer reinforces Aleafia Health's commitment to delivering unique products to health & wellness conscious consumers, whether they are medical patients or purchasing OTC," said Aleafia Health Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Benic. "Precise oral spray dosing allows easy usage tracking and adjustments and has proven popular with our registered medical cannabis patient base."
Lifestyle Delivery Systems, Inc. (OTCQX: LDSYF) (CSE: LDS) is a technology company that licenses its technology to a state-of-the-art production and packaging facility located in Southern California. Lifestyle Delivery Systems Inc. recently announced that Lifestyle Delivery Systems Inc.'s wholly-owned subsidiary, CSPA Group, Inc. had completed the initial packaging of the fourth generation of CBD CannaStripsTM for the California market. The packaged CBD CannaStripsTM will now be sent to an independent laboratory for California State testing. This is the final requirement on all manufactured cannabis products before they are eligible for distribution and sale. The latest formulation has improved taste and faster bioavailability. The completed CBD version is a 10mg CBD strip with less than 2% THC. All of the CBD versions will have a full spectrum of Cannabinoids, Terpenes and Flavonoids to promote all possible entourage effects. The Company's Chief Executive Officer, Brad Eckenweiler, commented, "This product has been long awaited and is possibly the most significant product of the LDS mission for customers looking for safe contaminant-free cannabis products without the issues of smoking or ingesting cannabis. We developed CannaStripsTM in the hope that cannabinoids could help reduce cancer treatment symptoms without smoking or ingesting cannabis in its harshest forms. The CannaStripsTM delivery system accomplishes this objective seamlessly without offending or affecting others, discreetly, quickly, and tastefully."
InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQX: IMLFF) (TSX: IN) is a biopharmaceutical company developing a proprietary biosynthesis system for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, as well as a pipeline of cannabinoid-based medications that target diseases with high unmet medical needs. InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently provided an update on its drug development program for the treatment of Epidermolysis Bullosa ("EB"). The Company has determined that the clinical development path forward with its investigational drug candidate for the treatment of EB, previously referred to as INM-750, will be optimized by transitioning to an alternative formulation, now designated as INM-755. INM-755 is formulated based on one of the two cannabinoids that comprised INM-750. The Company remains on track to file a Clinical Trial Application with Health Canada in the second half of 2019, with the initiation of a Phase I clinical trial beginning before the end of the year. Alexandra D.J. Mancini, MSc, InMed's Senior Vice President, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, commented, "Our decision to move forward in clinical development with INM-755 is data-driven. Moreover, we believe that pursuing a single-agent formulation, rather than a combination product, will ultimately improve the probability of development and regulatory success in this complex and rare disease," Ms. Mancini continued, "INM-755 will be developed based on its potential to provide symptomatic benefit for all EB patients, and possibly improve skin integrity in a subset of EB Simplex patients through keratin up-regulation."
MYM Nutraceuticals Inc. (OTCQB: MYMMF) (CSE: MYM) is an innovative company focused on the global growth of Cannabis and hemp. MYM Nutraceuticals Inc. recently announced that it had incorporated "MYM Nutraceuticals Mexico S.A. de C.V." MYM has confidence in future Mexican legislation to regulate the cannabis industry. The Company is taking steps to be a first-mover in the industry in Mexico by planning to focus on the importation and distribution of hemp-derived CBD products. The expected changes in cannabis legislation will make cannabis products like hemp-derived CBD available on the shelves of general retailers across the nation. The Company has engaged Mr. Joaquin Araico as its Director of Business Development and Local Operations for Mexico. Mr. Araico holds a BA in Economics at the Anahuac University and a certificate in finance at the Technological Institute of Monterrey. He has over 35 years experience in management, finance and politics, particularly in various levels of government and strategic areas in Mexico. He will oversee the daily operations of MYM Mexico and its entry into the CBD and cannabis market within the country. "In keeping with our Strategic Plan previously outlined, we're excited to add another building block by incorporating MYM Mexico and establishing an office in Mexico," said Howard Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer of MYM. "The Mexican government is currently considering significant cannabis reform at a national level. MYM aims to be at the forefront of this movement by positioning the company to be a key player in the importation and distribution of CBD-rich hemp products."
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