Regulators Take Further Steps to Expand the Medical CBD Industry
The medical cannabis industry continued to progress after the National Health Services in England and Wales recently decided to approve cannabis-based medicines. Specifically, three treatments using medicinal cannabis were approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). As such, NICE noted that these cannabis-based medicines will be restricted to the treatment of only one of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea. The institute also noted that all marijuana-based medications must be prescribed by specialist doctors. And an institute spokesman said that the recommendations could immediately be applied for England and Wales, with Northern Ireland expected to consider their use on a case-by-case basis, according to the New York Times. However, the rules do not apply in Scotland, which has its own healthcare guidelines. Generally, the approval by the constituent countries of the U.K. marks another major milestone within the cannabis industry. And England and Wales now join a handful of other international regions that have decided to move towards legalizing medical cannabis. For instance, major countries such as Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and parts of the U.S. have all moved to adopt some sort of medical cannabis legislation. However, to note, most countries tend to have varying regulations on which specific ailments cannabis is eligible to treat. Nevertheless, as clinical trials continue to advance, industry experts believe that cannabis will become an important alternative treatment for numerous ailments. And according to data compiled by Fortune Business Insights, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 10.6 Billion in 2018. By 2026, the market is expected to reach USD 97.35 Billion while exhibiting a CAGR of 32.92% during the forecast period from 2019 to 2026. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CNSX:CRFT.CN), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED.TO), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON.TO), Aphria Inc. (NYSE:APHA) (TSX:APHA.TO), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO)
Most countries that have approved medical cannabis generally prescribe CBD-based medications to their denizens. CBD or cannabidiol is a derivative of the hemp plant and is unlike its counterpart, THC, which is derived from the marijuana plant. Nevertheless, both hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis family. The major difference between the two is that CBD does not stimulate psychotropic effects, while THC does indeed cause mind-altering effects. And as a result of this understanding, more countries became keen to approve CBD as a medical treatment solution. Now, CBD and THC can both be used to treat medical conditions such as pain anxiety, however, Healthline reported that THC can also be used to treat muscle spasticity, glaucoma, and insomnia. According to Analytical Cannabis, high-CBD strains are best for inflammatory pain, caused by arthritis or injuries. Meanwhile, high-THC strains are more effectively used to relieve central and neuropathic pain as well as pain associated with cancer, AIDS, and fibromyalgia patients. Nevertheless, CBD is more commonly used as a pain remedy as it is much more accessible than THC-based products. For instance, in regions such as the U.S. and Canada, consumers can simply visit their local convenience store and purchase CBD products such as topicals, tinctures, and patches to treat their pain symptoms. Overall, the cannabis marketplace is also suitable for most patients because products can contain different levels of THC and CBD. For example, a patient suffering from severe pain would most likely prefer a THC-dominant product, while a patient suffering from minimal pain would prefer either a CBD-dominant or a 50-50 CBD to THC product. "There's been growing interest in medical cannabis for some time now, and it seems more research studies are being published every day. The sheer volume of information presented is a bit overwhelming, although it's contributing greatly to the body of knowledge in the field," said Michael Verbora, former Medical Director at Canabo Medical Clinic. "The future of medical cannabis research is exciting, and it's likely there are some surprises in store. The road to quality research can be long, but it will be well worth it in the end."
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CNSX:CRFT.CN) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:CRFT.CN). Yesterday, the Company announced breaking news that it, "expects nation's first micro-cultivator harvest next month.
While the large-scale licensed producers continuing to experience pressure in the market, Pasha's approach looks to solve both industry and consumer issues by bringing small-scale growers into the legal marketplace. Pasha has signed supply agreements with over 100 micro-cultivator applicants, including the first five micro-cultivators licensed by Health Canada. North 40 in Saskatchewan, Hearst in Ontario, and Canandia in BC are all expected to harvest before the end of December.
"Craft" is a word often thrown around in this new industry, but it is one that Pasha embodies through meaningful relationships with some of the country's most recognized brands. But what makes cannabis "craft" has less to do with reputation and more to do with the care and attention to detail with which these plants are cultivated.
'To me, craft cannabis is about quality over quantity, and a more individualistic approach to cultivation,' said Jamie Shaw, Chief Communications and Culture Officer at a Pasha Brands. 'It's the whole reason our model exists, allowing the grower to stay autonomous and avoiding large plant-to-grower ratios. This allows them to function independently and ensures a move away from big-box, cookie-cutter production,' she added.
The Founder of North 40 Cannabis, Gord Nichol, explains the mindset this way, "having Pasha's support has allowed me to focus on the plant and give it the attention required to bring out the very best in it. The market is ready for hand-crafted cannabis products and Pasha's experience is a vital resource in helping us deliver the goods"
Pasha remains committed to bringing small farmers to market and expects the first legal micro-cultivated dried cannabis to hit store shelves by early 2020.
About Pasha Brands: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pasha is a vertically integrated, prohibition-era brand house firmly rooted in BC's craft cannabis industry, which boasts an international reputation. With proven capabilities in cannabis cultivation, genetic research and development, product processing, and retail, Pasha is uniquely positioned in the new legal cannabis market through its network of hundreds of craft cannabis suppliers under the Pasha umbrella. Pasha subsidiary, Medcann Health Products Ltd., is a Health Canada licensed cultivator and processor with a licence to sell medical cannabis products in Canada. Pasha and its subsidiary, BC Craft, are also developing a craft cannabis campus, which is dedicated to bringing craft quality into the newly legal cannabis market in Canada. BC Craft is driven to assist craft growers in obtaining security clearance and licensing to grow as micro-cultivators, specializing in education and compliance to bring growers into the regulated cannabis supply market. Pasha's common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol "CRFT" and on the FSE under the symbol "ZZD". For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com."
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Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED.TO) is a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms, as well as medical devices through Canopy Growth's subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. Canopy Growth Corporation and Aubrey Drake Graham recently announced that they had entered into agreements to launch the More Life Growth CompanyTM, a fully licensed producer of cannabis based in Drake's hometown of Toronto, Canada. "When we first began talks with Drake we were extremely inspired by and aligned with his vision to bring best-in-class cannabis products to the world," said Mark Zekulin, Chief Executive Officer, Canopy Growth Corporation. "Drake's perspective as a culture leader and entrepreneur combined with Canopy Growth's breadth of cannabis knowledge will allow our new company to bring an unmatched cannabis experience to global markets."
Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON.TO) is an innovative global cannabinoid company with international production and distribution across five continents. Cronos Group Inc. recently announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire an 84,000 sq. ft. GMP compliant fermentation and manufacturing facility in Winnipeg, Canada from Apotex Fermentation Inc. The state-of-the-art facility, which will operate as "Cronos Fermentation", includes fully equipped laboratories covering microbiology, organic and analytical chemistry, quality control and method development as well as two large scale microbial fermentation production areas with combined production capacity of 102,000L, three downstream processing plants, and bulk product and packaging capabilities. As previously announced, Cronos Group has entered into a partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. to produce cultured cannabinoids. Research and development under this partnership is progressing, and as associated milestones are hit, this new facility is expected to provide Cronos Group with the ability to produce cultured cannabinoids at commercial scale with high-quality and high-purity. "This acquisition will provide the fermentation and manufacturing capabilities we need to capitalize on the work underway with Ginkgo once the milestones under that partnership are achieved," said Mike Gorenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Cronos Group. "Together with Ginkgo, we are bringing innovation and the power of biological manufacturing to the cannabis industry, aiming to allow for cannabinoid production at large scale and with greater efficiency than is currently possible with traditional cultivation and extraction. We continue to be very excited about the opportunities ahead."
Aphria Inc. (NYSE:APHA) (TSX:APHA.TO) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc., through its subsidiary Aphria Deutschland GmbH, recently launched the Company's first CBD-based nutraceutical, the first product in its CBD-based cosmetics line for the German market. Featuring CBD derived from hemp, the CannRelief brand of products are being produced in the European Union and distributed by the Company's subsidiary, CC Pharma, which has access to more than 13,000 pharmacies throughout Germany. "We are excited to introduce our first brand of CBD products for the German nutraceutical and cosmetics market," said Jakob Ripshtein, President of Aphria. "Supported by our extensive distribution network through CC Pharma, CannRelief provides a natural extension to Aphria's growing business opportunities in the German medical cannabis market. We look forward to providing a full range of CannRelief CBD products this year."
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 25 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced the completion of the previously announced plan of arrangement with Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. pursuant to which Aurora has acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Hempco not already owned by Aurora, reflecting a valuation of approximately CAD 63.4 Million on a fully diluted basis. Hempco is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aurora. The Hempco Shares will be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange, and Aurora will apply to the relevant securities commissions for Hempco to cease to be a reporting issuer under Canadian securities laws. "Aurora is defining the future of cannabis and hemp, globally," said Terry Booth, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. "Through the addition of Hempco, we have assembled a world-class portfolio of high-quality hemp assets that together form the basis of a strong new operating division that will develop CBD-from-hemp around the world. Aurora Hemp brings together the cultivars, strategic partners, brands, and distribution networks to service medical, consumer, and wellness markets and further advances Aurora's entry into the US hemp food and hemp-derived CBD markets."
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