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Cannabis: Does it have a place in Plumas County?

What does the cannabis industry have for Plumas? Companies in other parts of the country and world are finding new uses and new products using the  ancient cannabis plant. All signs point to legalization being a good thing: the cannabis industry is donning the cloak of professionalism and innovation. There are investors, business plans, clinical trials, and new uses all coming out of the woodwork. New space is opening for this new industry. Fast forward 10 years and Plumas County could be a contributing supplier of medical cannabis to pharmacies and patients throughout the state and country. Suffice it to say, some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies are showing an interest in cannabis-based medicines.

GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex in clinical trials in USA

GW Pharmaceuticals’ shares surged 11 percent after the release of positive briefing documents for a Food and Drug Administration advisory approval for a clinical trial with the cannabis-derived drug Epidiolex. Epidiolex which contains cannabidiol, is intended for seizures associated with two rare types of childhood epilepsy. If approved, it would be the first FDA approved cannabis-derived drug. The FDA briefing documents raised no issues with the drug containing CBD, concluding that CBD has negligible abuse potential. The risk-benefit profile established by the data supports approval of CBD for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. GW’s mission is to unlock the potential of cannabinoid medicines. The FDA authorized clinical trial will be looking to prove safety and efficacy of their whole plant cannabis drug Epidiolex. Its active ingredient is CBD. The U.S. Patent Office allowed 5 patents related to the drug for treating epilepsy. GW has numerous additional patent applications under prosecution at the patent office and will continue to expand their patent portfolio as they innovate and develop new Epidiolex formulations and additional products.

Tilray signs agreement with Sandoz

Tilray, a company that grows cannabis in Canada,  funded in part by Peter Thiel (of PayPal), has reached an agreement with Sandoz in 2018 to develop new cannabis products, and to leverage Sandoz’ supply chain and sales force to educate pharmacists about these new products. The new products would be co-branded by Tilray and Sandoz and sold to pharmacies across Canada by end of the year pending regulatory approvals.

Constellation Brands invests in Canopy Growth, Inc.

In late 2017, Constellation Brands, recognizing Canada’s company Canopy Growth’s potential, purchased a 9.9 percent stake in the company for roughly $191 million, demonstrating that interest in cannabis is becoming mainstream. Fortune magazine 10/30/17.

Aurora Cannabis: An 800,000 square foot building

Another Canadian company, Aurora Cannabis is building a 800,000 square foot flagship cultivation facility at the Edmonton International Airport. April 13th, 2018 Aurora announced the successful delivery of the first ever batch of privately exported medical cannabis from Canada to the Italian government through a German subsidiary Pedanios, and the products have now been distributed to Italian Pharmacies.

Cannabis gaining market share around the world

According to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, over the next 10 years, the legal cannabis industry will see much progress around the globe. (Forbes, Thomas Pellechia author.) The big news in 2017 was Germany opening up cannabis for medical use in pharmacies. Germany is poised to be the leader of the European cannabis market, and Italy is expected to be second. Medical cannabis programs in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay indicate that the South American medical cannabis market is growing. Australia’s legal cannabis market is forecast to continue to grow. Israel has a small population and a long history of legal medical cannabis use. It continues as a leader in the development of cannabis pharmaceuticals. Canada is among the few countries where investors have already shown confidence in Canada and in the future legality of cannabis in Canada; they are betting with billions of dollars pouring into public equity investments. See the ArcView: The Road Map to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market.

Cannabis research: Pathway to acceptance

Cannabis, the legal industry, is just separating from its foster parents, black and gray, who are mere shadows behind it, following their child, having trouble letting go, but getting thinner with every month. If anything, much of what was done from a business perspective during the black and gray markets will not be a model for behavior in the legal market. Widespread support from investors in the biotech, pharmaceutical, and health science sectors point to expectations that the cannabis industry will conduct itself with professionalism meriting the investment and community support it needs to survive.

Scientists from the U.S. National Institutes of Health  filed a patent attesting that cannabinoids not only have medicinal value, they might protect the brain against damage. Patent 6,630,507, stated that cannabinoids, and in particular cannabidiol, could potentially stop cell death after a concussion, stroke, or other traumatic brain event. KannaLife Sciences, Inc., a medical cannabis company located in Buck’s County Pennsylvania, develops cannabinoid-based medicines for the brain, secured the very first license to commercialize this patent. KannaLife has the U.S. government’s green light to not only explore how non-psychotropic, antioxidant-rich CBD safeguards the brain from hepatic encephalopathy and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, but possibly offer it as a treatment for people with these neurodegenerative diseases.

Over 23,000 studies tout the benefits of medical cannabis for Alzheimer’s disease to chronic pain to diabetes. Cannabis is becoming mainstream. Many people already use medical cannabis for a wide variety of medical problems, such as cancer, epilepsy, and depression. Sixty-nine percent of physicians support nationwide legalization of medical cannabis, according to a survey by WebMD/Medscape. The proper formulation of cannabinoids have the opportunity to manage dementia, Alzheimer’s, autism, Crohn’s disease, colitis, and fibromyalgia. Cannabis-based medicines are used to improve a ailments such as pain, appetite, and sleep quality, and it is proposed as an alternative to opioids. (Studies show that cannabis legalization has been associated with a decline in deaths from opioid overdoses in Colorado.) FDA’s approval for clinical trials is paving the way to acceptance of cannabis as a medicine. Physicians and policy makers are following that lead and petitioning to open cannabis research facilities, cannabis clinics, and other businesses. The nascent cannabis industry is poised to operate by the same standards that make US medicines the best and most trusted in the world. Plumas could be part of this.

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