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Various Regions Begin to Examine Cannabis for Medicinal Designations
NEW YORK, March 20, 2019 /CNW/ -- In the early twentieth century, cannabis was prohibited under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Prior to that, cannabis was used as a medical remedy to treat maladies such as asthma, cough, migraine, insomnia, and opiate withdrawal. However, following the signing of the bill, cannabis was formally removed off the list of registered medicines. Nearly a century later, many countries around the world are advocating for the legalization of cannabis. In particular, many of those countries are moving towards the legalization of medical cannabis due to its therapeutic effects. However, countries like the U.S. and Canada are influencing others to consider recreational legislation as well. Countries such as Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, and Spain have all introduced cannabis legislation to allow for personal consumption and cultivation in regulated quantities. Moreover, large investments from both public and private sectors to fund research and develop businesses will also drive the marketplace growth. According to data compiled by Zion Market Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at approximately USD 16.71 Billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of USD 62.96 Billion by the end of 2024. Furthermore, the market is projected to accelerate at a CAGR of 21% from 2018 to 2024. MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MLCPF) (TSX-V: LABS), New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC: ITHUF), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: RKDA)
Currently, the medical cannabis sector accounts for the majority of the market share. However, as the North American region's recreational market begins to develop and expand, the recreational sector is expected to become the main driver for the overall cannabis industry. Most countries have not moved to fully legalize cannabis due to its psychoactive effects stemming from certain derivatives. Nonetheless, the plant is still being integrated into medical applications across the world. Primarily, most consumers are using cannabis in forms of buds, oils, or tinctures. The buds segment is also expected to maintain its dominance in the marketplace, however, the oil segment is expected to be the fastest growing segment. Typically, oils are much more potent than flower, meaning it can provide a more effective and faster result. However, consumption based on the product varies around the world. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first marijuana-derived drug to treat epilepsy, Epidiolex. The drug is a cannabidiol, or CBD, oral solution used to treat seizures associated with epilepsy. While the FDA did move to delist CBD as a Schedule 1 drug, the agency has not approved of any other cannabis-derived treatments or methods of consumption. "We need to derive more value for the market. Given the hundreds of compounds the plant's genetics produce, and our relative lack of knowledge about them and their interactions, there is huge potential for growth in condition-specific treatments and functional delivery," says Liam McGreevy, Chief Executive Officer of Ethnopharm, "The hope is to produce more effective medicines for the patients looking for solutions to their conditions."
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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New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV) is a Colorado and Utah-based healthy beverage company dedicated to inspiring, educating consumers to live healthily. New Age Beverages Corporation recently announced the signing of an agreement to develop and distribute Marley branded cannabis-infused beverages. The first product to roll out in the Marley+CBD portfolio will be Marley+CBD Mellow Mood, relaxation drinks in 15.5 oz cans with 25 mg of pharmaceutical grade CBD per serving. Initial market rollout to customers will be in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan where cannabis is legal for responsible adult consumption. This rollout gives New Age a significant first-mover advantage in the CBD space with a globally-recognized brand platform, and positions the venture well for further expansion as regulations permit. Michael Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Sales for New Age commented, "It makes my job a lot easier when I have retailers and distributors reaching out to me asking for specific products. From the moment the CBD movement began, I've been receiving calls nonstop asking when we'd be going to market with a Marley+CBDproduct. Retailers and distributors realize that it will be a long road for smaller CBD brands to gain traction and brand equity. Under the Marley brand platform, we are able to leverage a massive global brand with ties to healthy cannabis use, to ultimately grow a beverage brand beyond anything we have seen to-date."
iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: ITHUF) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. recently announced the grand opening of its third Florida dispensary, located in the City of Lake Worth. The dispensary will operate as "GrowHealthy Lake Worth" under iAnthus' "GrowHealthy" Florida dispensary brand. At the new Lake Worth location, GrowHealthy's range of vaporizer cartridges, oral cannabis tinctures, oil syringes, and topical salves will be available for purchase. All GrowHealthy products are quality controlled to the highest degree, tested for heavy metals, solvents, and microbiological contaminants. "We're pleased to open up a GrowHealthy location in Lake Worth, which we feel has been underserved in terms of access to cannabis treatment up until this point," said Frank Quattrone, Vice President of Operations at GrowHealthy. "Lake Worth is a successful and creative community, and we're happy to serve the robust market that exists in and around the city."
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 had 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. "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."
Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: RKDA) develops and markets high-value food ingredients and nutritional oils that help meet consumer demand for a healthier diet. Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. recently announced the company will apply its expertise to a new crop: cannabis. With the establishment of Arcadia Specialty Genomics™, the company is dedicating a first-of-its-kind strategic business unit to the optimization and standardization of cannabis plant content, quality, climate resiliency and yield. Arcadia Specialty Genomics intends to conduct its business only in federal and state markets in which its activities are legal. Arcadia Specialty Genomics will develop novel cannabis varieties possessing productivity, pest resistance and crop quality traits for license to cultivators, and for products serving the nutraceutical and food industries. These developments are made possible through a proprietary approach combining conventional breeding, Arcadia's advanced screening and breeding technology known as TILLING and gene editing. Through this process, plant populations carrying desirable, high-value genetic characteristics are identified, isolated and bred to reproduce. Arcadia Biosciences is a recognized leader bringing deep experience and established capabilities in this kind of crop innovation and optimization, delivering proven results safflower, wheat and durum. "Within the rapidly growing legal cannabis industry, we see enormous opportunity in – and demand for – improved plant quality, productivity, consistency and resilience, said Raj Ketkar, president and Chief Executive Officer of Arcadia Biosciences. "With this new operating unit, Arcadia Specialty Genomics, we are uniquely qualified as a proven crop improvement company equipped to address the legacy challenges facing a plant that until recently was largely grown unlawfully." Ketkar added, "I can think of no one better than Matt Plavan, an industry veteran with a track record of leading transformational market pivots, to lead our new strategic business unit."
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