Canopy Growth Corp, a leading medical marijuana producer, is hoping to change the face of pharmaceuticals as the world begins to relax its laws on cannabis use.
The Canadian company is developing a range of cannabinoid-based medicines that it hopes will be used to treat patients with illnesses and ailments ranging from anxiety to epilepsy.
These medicines will come in the form of pills, inhalers, solutions and creams. Currently Canadians are only able to get medical marijuana in smokable or oil form.
Canopy Growth Corp hopes that offering its treatment in more traditional medical drug forms will allow its medicines to compete with more established treatments. They hope that these new medicines will help to convince doctors and insurers that marijuana can be a mainstream medicine.
Approximately 70 companies have permission from Health Canada, the nation’s health department, to grow and sell cannabis for medical uses. However, Canopy Growth Corp is one of few companies attempting to kick off the second wave of medical cannabis.
These new medicines will be sold under the Canopy Health Innovation brand.
Canopy Growth Corp began their expansion into the pharmaceuticals market in 2016. Canada’s relaxed laws on marijuana allowed the company to get a head start on capturing the market.
Canada legalised the use of cannabis for medical use in 2001, becoming the first country to do so.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously stated that marijuana use will be legalised in Canada by summer 2018.
Why it matters:
Marijuana extracts have a range of health benefits that could help to provide relief to patients with a range of illnesses, the World Health Organization claims.
According to WebMD, marijuana can be used alongside other treatments for multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV, nerve pain, glaucoma, seizures and Crohn’s disease.
Should Canada Growth Corp’s new products convince doctors to use marijuana-based medicines, more patients will have access to a new potential treatment.
What was said:
Speaking to Reuters, Canopy Health Chief Executive Marc Wayne said:
“You’ll see a lot of companies like Canopy Health starting to form, and they’re basically going to create medical cannabis 2.0,”
“There is a gold rush for cannabis intellectual property, and it’s accelerating.”
Marijuana is becoming increasingly accepted as a legal medical treatment. Large parts of North America, South America, Europe, Russia and Australasia have decriminalised the drug for medical use.
Likewise, many places are now beginning to decriminalise cannabis for recreational use. Nine US states have now legalised marijuana use and more are expected to join them in 2018.
Research firm Brightfield Group believes that the legal cannabis market will quadruple by 2021, creating a $31.4bn industry.