FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
NEW YORK, March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cannabis is steadily being adopted as a medical alternative for various applications. Primarily, consumers are using cannabis to treat a wide range of conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Tourette's. In most cases, patients suffering from medical conditions are normally prescribed a drug that has serious side effects. Cannabis, on the other hand, is a much safer option and has less severe side effects in comparison, while also promoting therapeutic effects. For instance, cannabis helps patients suffering from cancer manage pain while stimulating their appetite as well. Similarly, it is also used as an alternative to opioids, which helps patients lower their dosage and use opiates less often, and also provides therapeutic benefits. Furthermore, the versatile use of cannabis in the medical industry has led to many other countries looking to adopt it. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom have all moved to legalize cannabis for medical use. As countries continue to legalize cannabis for medicinal use, it will encourage others to join the movement, further accelerating the overall cannabis industry growth. According to data compiled by IMARC Group, the global medical cannabis market was estimated to amount to more than USD 11 Billion in 2017. By 2023, the data suggests that the medical segment will reach USD 37 Billion, while registering a CAGR of 22% from 2017 to 2023. Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTC: PBIO), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APH), Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE: PYX), Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. (OTC: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB), Organigram Holdings Inc. (OTC: OGRMF) (TSX-V: OGI)
As the medical cannabis industry continues to evolve, an influx of new products are being introduced into the marketplace. Products such as oils and flowers are most common among consumers. However, as the market advances, products such as edibles and beverages are becoming popular. Cannabis-based edibles can be seen in many forms like candies, mints, and baked goods. While the emergence of new products is helping the industry grow, the market is still hindered by the lack of research in the field. Increasing R&D activities, clinical trials, and commercialization of cannabis-based indications are helping advance research on medical cannabis. The combination of new products and ongoing research are expected to be major catalysts for the development of the cannabis industry. "We know, anecdotally, that medical cannabis has many potential benefits in treating a variety of ailments. But anecdotes aren't good enough for doctors, patients and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We need hard scientific research proving the benefits of medical cannabis, with detailed findings on dosage, for example," said Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, PhD, Stanford University.
Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) announced earlier last month that, "analytical testing on hemp-derived CBD oil processed via PBI's Ultra Shear Technology™ (UST™) platform has confirmed that UST processing uniquely achieves the challenging criteria for creating highly-effective "nanoemulsions" of CBD oil in water, without loss or modification of CBD throughout the entire UST process (> 99% recovery).
The ultimate goal in mixing oil-based nutritional and therapeutic products like CBD oil into water, for effective oral or topical delivery and absorption, is to reduce the size of the oil drops to such a level that they seemingly 'vanish' into the water (become "water soluble"). These exceedingly small, nanometer-scale droplets are so tiny that it becomes very easy for the human (or other animal) body to absorb the oil-based nutrients or drugs (like CBD) directly from the inner surface of the oil droplet. Traditional processing methods struggle mightily with this challenge, but PBI's proprietary UST platform uses ultra-high pressure to create extreme shearing forces to make nanometer-scale droplets of fluids that become highly-stable, homogenized "nanoemulsions" of materials that normally do not mix (e.g., CBD oil and water).
Dr. Vera Gross, Director of Applications Development at PBI, explained: 'We asked an independent, university-affiliated laboratory to determine the size of oil droplets achieved in UST-processed CBD oil, using a universally-accepted sizing method called DLS. Their analytical results revealed that the UST- processed oil drops were reduced to approximately 65 nm in size, well into the 20-200 nm range targeted for truly effective nanoemulsion delivery and absorption of nutrients and therapeutics, such as CBD (Nano- and Microscale Drug Delivery Systems, 2017).'
Dr. Gross continued: 'It was critically important to also demonstrate that CBD from hemp-derived CBD oil was not lost or modified during UST processing. For this we enlisted the help of scientists at NutraFuels, Inc. (OTCQB: NTFU), which has an FDA-inspected, highly-qualified analytical testing laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained chemists with years of experience in laboratory testing.'
Mr. Cooper Dodd, R&D Scientist at NTFU, said: 'Using a powerful laboratory method called HPLC to measure the concentrations of CBD and potential impurities, we determined that no appreciable amount of CBD was lost during the UST process. These results compare well to our standard processing method of ultrasonication, which can carry a risk of measurable loss of CBD, and sometimes creates the appearance of impurities if not performed properly. While there is more work to be done, as a nutraceutical manufacturer with products already on the market, we see these results as a robust leap towards better optimization of our CBD-enhanced products.'
Dr. Keith Warriner, Professor of Food Science at the University of Guelph (Toronto), and a recognized expert in the cannabis industry, commented: 'The data released today on UST-generated nanoemulsions of CBD oil are very impressive. Creating nanoemulsions of CBD oil with full preservation of CBD throughout the process, while not generating impurities, remains a significant challenge in the industry. These data indicate that UST can achieve that goal, thereby offering great promise to the future.'
Professor Warriner continued: 'Not only does the UST process appear capable of achieving stability of emulsions, but the controlled heating that also occurs may offer a valid alternative to thermal and non-thermal pasteurization methods to reduce the risk of harmful microbes in products such as edibles and topicals. I believe that CBD-infused topicals and similar products will prove more popular with users than edibles. However, to be successful, it is imperative that topicals be highly stable, safe, bioavailable, and readily absorbent nanoemulsions. After consideration of the data released today, the UST process appears to be a leading candidate to fill that important need.'
Dr. Bradford A. Young, Chief Commercial Officer of PBI, summarized: 'We were delighted to release a short video last week showing the ability of our new UST platform to make visually clear and stable mixtures of CBD oil and water. The scientific data released today have further validated the achievement of creating high quality, nanoemulsion mixtures of oil and water using our UST platform. In particular, these data specifically show that CBD levels are preserved all the way through UST processing to the finished product. We are very excited by these results and believe our proprietary Ultra Shear Technology can help a diverse variety of customers to develop a vast array of new and beneficial products spanning multiple large markets, including CBD and nutraceuticals, cosmetics and topicals, food and beverages, drug delivery and more.'"
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Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APH) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. recently announced that it has completed its first shipment of cannabis oil to its Argentina-based subsidiary ABP, S.A., a pharmaceutical import and distribution company. In accordance with a previously announced supply agreement, the Company delivered 1,500 bottles of Aphria's renowned Rideau CBD oil, which were provided to Hospital de Pediatria Garrahan, a leading pediatric hospital located in Buenos Aires, for use in a clinical study focused on treating refractory epilepsy in children. Aphria acquired ABP last month when the Company closed its acquisition of LATAM Holdings Inc., expanding the Company's global footprint to include a leading presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. "Argentina will play a foundational role as Aphria cements its leadership in medical cannabis throughout the region," said Vic Neufeld, Chief Executive Officer of Aphria. "Aphria and ABP, in close partnership with the Argentinean government, continue to advance opportunities for medical cannabis in the country, including the potential for in-country cultivation. We are also proud to support the critical and necessary research being undertaken by Hospital Garrahan on the treatment of refractory epilepsy in children with our Rideau CBD oil."
Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE: PYX) is a global agricultural company with 145 years' experience delivering value-added products and services to businesses and customers. Criticality, a North Carolina-based agricultural hemp company, recently announced the expansion of its consumer products under its brand name Korent with the launch of its line of cannabidiol (CBD) e-liquids. The announcement follows the brand's launch of CBD oils in December 2018. Criticality partners with Pyxus International, Inc. to source, process and produce industrial hemp and hemp products under North Carolina's Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The Korent e-liquids are featured in Mango Pineapple, Watermelon and Fresh Mint and come in two concentrations in each flavor – 600mg of CBD/60ml and 100mg of CBD/10ml. Additionally, a natural, unflavored booster is available for purchase in 100mg of CBD/10ml. These THC-free products feature flavors designed specifically to pair with, and enhance, Korent's CBD e-liquids, and are compatible with any open tank e-liquid module. "Korent's CBD products are expertly crafted and designed to help consumers effectively restore balance to their lives. Our new line of CBD e-liquids uses high-quality, verifiable ingredients," said Brian Moyer, Chief Executive Officer of Criticality. "Criticality provides unparalleled transparency into the production of our industrial hemp and hemp-derived products. The company's expertise in extraction and purification technologies enables us to produce superior hemp products that adhere to the highest quality standards."
Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB) is the market leader in the production and distribution of innovative hemp-based cannabidiol ("CBD") wellness products. Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. recently reported its 2018 harvested hemp results. The Company reported more than a 10 times growth in harvested hemp compared to its 2017 grow season. The high-quality 100% U.S.-grown hemp will be processed through proprietary extraction methods to create whole plant hemp extract that will be used in Charlotte's Web products for sale in 2019 and 2020. The 2018 total harvest far exceeded initial estimates of between 250,000 lbs. and 350,000 lbs. of hemp, producing a total of approximately 675,000 lbs. between the three states combined. This is more than ten times the 63,000 pounds of hemp harvested in 2017. With its vertically integrated model, Charlotte's Web is able to control all aspects of the growing cycle to optimize product quality. "Charlotte's Web is one of only a few hemp CBD producers capable of supplying large volumes of high-quality hemp extract from its own supply chain that can meet significantly increasing market demand," said Hess Moallem, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charlotte's Web. "As the category and brand leader, our goal is to increase our market share and with this bountiful harvest we are able to satisfy our customer demands for 2019 and beyond. This incredible harvest ensures we can continue to produce our high-quality human nutrition products without being subject to constantly fluctuating market prices as is common with third-party sourced raw material. This allows us to have better control and predictability over our cost of goods sold and thereby our gross margins. In addition, these harvest levels will allow us to explore opportunities to supply future partners with our proprietary hemp extracts."
Organigram Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: OGRMF) (TSX-V: OGI) is a TSX Venture Exchange listed company whose wholly owned subsidiary, Organigram Inc., is a licensed producer of cannabis and cannabis-derived products in Canada. Organigram Holdings Inc. recently announced the Company has entered into an agreement with 1812 Hemp, a New Brunswick based industrial hemp research company to secure supply and support research and development on the genetic improvement of hemp through traditional plant breeding methods. 1812 Hemp is focused on further developing a line of Canadian cultivars (specific varieties of plants cultivated to enhance desirable qualities) of high cannabidiol (CBD) yielding hemp for the Canadian climate. Under the terms of the agreement, Organigram will have access to a secure supply of hemp flower which contains significant levels of cannabidiol (CBD cultivars ranging from 4% to 8%). CBD is a naturally occurring active ingredient in hemp and cannabis that is currently being studied for various therapeutic uses. "Maximizing the CBD yield of hemp and cannabis means being able to meet increasing consumer demand for CBD while reducing overall production costs," explains Greg Engel, Chief Executive Officer Organigram. "We are proud to work with other industry-leading companies and researchers to continue to explore the potential of hemp and cannabis plants and the efficiency with which we can deliver CBD to our customers."
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