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Research and Regulatory Agencies add Credibility to the Rapidly Growing CBD Market

NEW YORK, April 3, 2019 /CNW/ -- The cannabis marketplace has become one of the fastest growing global industries, as the rapid expansion of the cannabis market is largely due to the ongoing legalization efforts in many countries. The medical cannabis sector currently accounts for a majority of the market value due to the legal hindrances imposed on recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis, on the other hand, is generally more accepted among virtually every country and now, many governments are adopting medical cannabis legislation in order to use cannabis as an alternative to traditional medication. Furthermore, research and studies recently conducted have also linked cannabis to providing consumers with therapeutic effects which relieve a wide range of medical symptoms. The development of the industry has also introduced new cannabis-based products for medicinal uses. Traditionally, most consumers smoked cannabis, however, cannabis is now being converted into oils, capsules, edibles, vapor, creams, and powders. Each variation is used for different purposes, for instance, users apply cannabis-based creams to suppress pain on specific body parts. On the other hand, consumers can smoke oil or vapor to treat major medical conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. According to data compiled by Genesis Market Insights, the global marijuana market was valued at USD 17.18 Billion in 2017. By the year 2023, the market is expected to grow to USD 58.90 Billion while registering a CAGR of 22.91%. Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTC: PBIO), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), Village Farms International, Inc. (NASDAQ: VFF) (TSX: VFF), Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC: GTBIF) (CSE: GTII), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex, which is used to treat epilepsy in children. The cannabis plant is comprised of over 104 different cannabinoids and around 750 different chemicals, yet, the FDA has only approved a CBD-based drug so far. The FDA requires more clinical trials and studies of a large-scale nature to be conducted in order to fully understand cannabis and its various effects. Therefore, the lack of research is currently preventing the medical cannabis market from growing, however, large investments are nevertheless seen pouring into the industry to further develop the expansion of the medical cannabis sector. Furthermore, medical institutes are also conducting their own research in order to add credibility to the medical effects of cannabis, while many medical institutes have also backed cannabis as a form of medicinal treatment since it can replace other administered prescription drugs such as opioids. Cannabis, in comparison, is a much safer and cheaper option than opioids because it can be taken in larger and more frequent doses without the side effects of addiction and of brain and liver damage. "Marijuana's medicinal benefits are largely attributed to THC and CBD," said Lynn R. Webster, M.D. Vice President of scientific affairs of PRA Health Sciences, "There is conflicting evidence about how the use of marijuana might affect pain, and whether or not legalizing marijuana might lower the necessity for prescribed opioids. States where it is legal to use medical marijuana do appear to have lowered their use of opioids. There seems to be a correlation between the availability of medical marijuana and a slower rise in the increase of prescribed opioids. While it can't be proven the two are related, the association is strong. The Rockefeller Institute of Government has found that, in states where patients have access to medical marijuana dispensaries, Medicare patients use 14.4% fewer opioids."

Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) yesterday announced breaking news that it has, "released a new, short video demonstrating the ability of the Company's proprietary Ultra Shear Technology (UST™) platform to create water-soluble CBD Oil that dissolves instantly, resulting in improved dosing effectiveness, enhanced absorption, and more aesthetically-pleasing products when added to carbonated soft drinks, vitamin-infused sports drinks, and beer.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/gAqFQmsGHcA

In addition to superior aesthetic quality, the Company believes the resulting low nanometer-scale emulsions ("nanoemulsions") of UST-processed CBD Oil will also result in optimized and reproducible bodily absorption, bioavailability, and dosing safety for CBD oil and other UST-processed materials, when compared to many of the processed CBD oils and products that are commercially available today.

Mr. Edgar Ward, President and CEO of NutraLife Biosciences (OTCQB: NLBS), said: "NutraLife manufactures and sells NUTRAHEMPCBD, a line of CBD-infused products that includes creams, sprays, and other products that support daily health and wellness uses. We strive to ensure that our CBD-infused products will always be of the highest quality possible; therefore, we are constantly looking for advanced technologies to continue to improve our manufacturing processes.  After reviewing available data and PBI's videos, we believe methods like PBI's UST platform may enable us to offer products with superior quality and effectiveness."

CBD is a non-psychoactive, oil-soluble compound extracted from the cannabis plant, and is typically marketed dissolved in plant oil. It has been widely reported to offer numerous health benefits from stress and anxiety relief, to decreased muscle, joint, cancer and other pain, reduced inflammation, and to nearly miraculous relief of persistent seizures. However, because CBD is an oil-based product, its ingestion typically results in poor absorption in water-based living systems. There has been enormous interest in the development of truly water-soluble CBD, to achieve efficient absorption and bioavailability from foods and beverages. The market for CBD beverages alone could achieve revenue of $260 million in just the U.S. by 2022 (Bloomberg, September 27, 2018) and much more world-wide. Unfortunately, because of solubility issues, many CBD products on the market today contain an inefficient over-abundance of CBD and/or undesirable chemicals to improve and stabilize its solubility in water. PBI believes that all of these beverages and other CBD-based products could substantially benefit from PBI's Ultra Shear Technology platform, to achieve water solubility and stability from the physics of high-pressure shearing – rather than from dependency upon chemistry and reliance upon use of undesirable chemicals.

Dr. Brad Young, Chief Commercial Officer of PBI, commented: "We are very pleased to now show (in this follow-up video) the ability of our proprietary UST platform to mix CBD oil in water and infuse carbonated soft drinks, vitamin-infused sport drinks, and beer. This latest video further highlights the power of our UST platform to make nanoemulsions and its potential to help nutraceutical and beverage manufacturers make high-quality, oil-based products. With such compelling results to rely on, and with numerous opportunities ahead of us, we intend to accelerate the development of our UST platform to better address what we believe are several multi-billion-dollar markets in nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and food & beverages."

For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring Pressure BioSciences, Inc. recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwh_rr3s3h4

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 500,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced that the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiary CanniMed Therapeutics, have added product information numbers (PINs) to 78 medical cannabis products to better facilitate and track insurance coverage for their Canadian patients. The products that received PINs include dried flower, capsules, soft gels, topicals and oils. PINs help employers and insurance companies classify and incorporate health care products into benefit coverage plans. Patients submitting claims to their third-party insurer can now identify specific products and thereby speed up the adjudication and medical coverage process. MedReleaf, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Aurora, introduced PINs to 57 medical cannabis products in 2018. "This is great news for insurance companies, employers and most importantly our patients," said Aurora Chief Executive Officer Terry Booth. "Introducing PINs for medical cannabis products will make the claims process more seamless, enabling insurance companies to add these products to their formularies while providing patients and employers with a simplified process to complete claims. It's another step toward enhancing patient access, something Aurora cares deeply about."

Village Farms International, Inc. (NASDAQ: VFF) (TSX: VFF) is one of the largest and longest-operating vertically integrated greenhouse growers in North America and the only publicly traded greenhouse produce company in Canada. Village Farms International, Inc. recently applauded the actions of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services in descheduling hemp, including its cannabinoids (except for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) in compliance with the 2018 Farm Act and Texas law. Under Texas law, the removal of hemp from the controlled substances schedule will be effective on April 5, 2019, 21 days after the schedule's publication. Texas still must pass a hemp bill to enable the creation of a State Hemp Plan under the 2018 Farm Act and develop a thoughtful regulatory regime to support the hemp industry and protect consumers. Village Farms plans to commence hemp cultivation in a portion of its Monahans, Texas, greenhouse operation upon a State Hemp Plan in Texas becoming effective, or earlier if permitted by Texas law. In anticipation of the Texas legislation passing, Village Farms has begun design and development of the site-specific growing and technical systems to enable hemp production at the Monahans facility. "The descheduling of hemp in Texas is a very encouraging step forward and we would like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of all those working in support of the full legalization of hemp in Texas with thanks in particular to lobbyist Susan Hays and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable," said Michael DeGiglio, Chief Executive Officer, Village Farms. "We look forward to the opportunity to work with officials in Texas toward a roll out of hemp production, including the processing and sale of CBD products."

Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTCQX: GTBIF) (CSE: GTII), a national cannabis cultivator, processor and dispensary operator, is dedicated to providing dignified access to safe and effective cannabis nationwide while giving back to the communities in which they serve. Green Thumb Industries Inc. recently closed on the acquisition of For Success Holding Company, the Los Angeles-based creator of the lifestyle suite of Beboe branded cannabis products. The acquisition was previously announced on February 5, 2019. Beboe is the leader in luxury cannabis whose mission is to destigmatize legal cannabis through heightened experience and education. Beboe is best known for its thoughtful design aesthetic of its iconic rose gold vaporizing pens and edible pastilles, and each product is curated with a unique blend of socially dosed THC and CBD. Beboe is currently available in more than 125 retail locations in California and Colorado and via home delivery across California. In 2018, Beboe launched a direct-to-consumer hemp-derived CBD line of products and introduced several collaborations, including a CBD-infused drink with wellness brand Dirty Lemon. "The meticulously-crafted suite of Beboe products supports the premium segment within GTI's brand portfolio and is firmly aligned with our long-term growth strategy," said GTI Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler. "Beboe has an extremely talented team, a robust innovation pipeline, an aligned vision on the future of cannabis and a ground-breaking partnership with Barneys New York. We are thrilled to have the visionary Beboe team officially on board with GTI."

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is the leader in pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid therapies for rare and near-rare neuropsychiatric disorders. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced that it has initiated the Phase 2 BRIGHT (An Open-Label Tolerability and Efficacy Study of ZYN002 Administered as a Transdermal Gel to Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder) trial. The trial will assess the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Zygel (previously referred to as ZYN002) for the treatment of child and adolescent patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Company expects to present topline data from this study in the first half of 2020. Zygel (CBD gel) is the first and only pharmaceutically-manufactured CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced clear gel, designed to provide controlled drug delivery into the bloodstream transdermally (i.e. through the skin). Recent studies suggest that ASD may be associated with a disruption in the endocannabinoid (EC) system. Clinical and anecdotal data suggest that CBD may modulate the EC system and improve certain core social and behavioral autism-related symptoms, including social avoidance and anxiety. "Autism spectrum disorder can have a devastating impact on a child and their family," said Armando Anido, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zynerba. "The medical need is significant and unmet despite high awareness and advocacy efforts. Though there has been an accelerating rate of diagnosis, to date there are only two FDA approved products indicated for the treatment of ASD symptoms. Both have significant side effect profiles, and neither have been approved to address the key symptoms of social impairment and anxiety. We are excited to initiate the BRIGHT trial evaluating the role of Zygel in ASD and are hopeful that Zygel may improve some of the core social and behavioral symptoms of ASD. We look forward to presenting topline data in the first half of 2020."

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