A Canadian cannabis clinic investigating the drug’s medical benefits announced its own expansion highlighting the increasing effort into analyzing the drug further.
On Wednesday (July 19) Santé Cannabis announced an expansion to its operations in an attempt to become an independently credentialed centre for cannabis research.
As Canada moves closer towards legal recreational cannabis sales slated to begin in October, the establishment of the industry can be seen in various ways including research efforts. Due to the current illegal nature of the drug the researching community has not been able to investigate cannabis as thoroughly as other drugs.
“The greatest obstacle to a patient’s access to cannabis is the limited clinical, scientific evidence,” Erin Prosk, president and co-founder of Santé Cannabis said.
Being a contract research organization allows Santé to give research services to the pharmaceutical, biotech and cannabis industries at the same time. The firm investigates data it has collected from over 5,000 patients assessments.
”For years now, we have heard about the lack of evidence to support the medical use of cannabis, we can’t just keep talking about it,” Prosk.
Cannabis research gains momentum in 2018
In an interview with the Investing News Network (INN) Dave Berg, president of cannabis tech company Strainprint, similarly expressed more research was needed in the space and added it is difficult to evaluate the drug since the product can change from batch to batch.
More companies in the space are trying to share increase efforts into the investigation of cannabis, from smaller partnerships to major associations with University studies in Canada or overseas.
One such national study was launched by Namaste Technologies (TSXV:N) in April, when the company embarked on confirming the potential for cannabis to treat anxiety disorders. The company confirmed more studies are on the way in Canada.
The Canadian government has also announced it will allocate funds over the next five years directly into the research of medical cannabis as part of its 2018 budget.
Public companies enter research race
CannTrust Holdings (TSX:TRST) announced a partnership with Australia’s Gold Coast University Hospital to randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) oil capsules slowing the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Motor Neuron Disease (MND).
Eric Paul, CEO of CannTrust said this study would help them understand the “potential impact” of these capsules directly with these diseases.
In an attempt to evaluate the reach of their products these companies are following in the steps of the established pharmaceutical industry.
Despite its stringiest federal regulations on cannabis, the US approved its first CBD-based therapy this year by confirming the medical benefit of Epidiolex from GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH).
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in the FDA’s approval note the agency would continue to support “rigorous scientific research” on the medical benefits of cannabis products.
The incentive is there for cannabis companies to work on expanding potential for cannabis products to provide better options on the treatments of modern diseases.
MedReleaf (TSX:LEAF) will act as sponsor for a cancer clinical trial from the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group set to determine the management of cancer pain with cannabis oil.
“Anecdotally, cancer patients have been telling us that cannabis products help their pain,” Dr. Marissa Slaven, principal investigator for the trial said.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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