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BACKED BY BIG PHARMA﹣ FRIEND OR FOE?Medical Cannabis is one of the most widely debated and controversial topics in living memory. It exuberantly engages society at all levels, from the general public right through the spectrum of scientists, academics, politicians, physicians and even pharmaceutical and corporate entities. Due to the fact that the science is still largely in its infancy, the debate continues as to its efficacy and will continue to rage on until a tipping point is reached. The cannabis plant has been used in the medicinal field for approximately 6 000 years. However, there is still considerable debate regarding its viability in the healthcare sector today. There are around 400 clinical trials world-wide, either active or completed, relating to cannabidiol (CBD), a type of cannabinoid that makes up 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract, and is the main component being advertised for its psychoactive-free curative qualities.
Because of more widespread use, Cannabis products (CBD in particular) have increasingly been proven to be effective for conditions that have traditionally been treated with pharmaceutical medication. These findings make it probable that the use of cannabis for medical conditions could drastically disturb and even displace pharmaceutical drugs.
Cannabis relies on CBD’s therapeutic properties, and recent studies suggest it may be useful in treating and aiding a variety of health conditions, such as: • Epilepsy • Schizophrenia • Multiple sclerosis • Migraines • Arthritis • Cancer side effects As the industry evolves, the information sourced is becoming increasingly important in understanding the ever-expanding potential of cannabis − both as an option of medical treatment as well as a recreational product. The shift away from anecdotal evidence towards large data will inform future policies and provide a new era of consumer education and awareness.
Being a simple and cost-effective products to produce, medicinal cannabis products offer the opportunity for both innovation and access, a balance the healthcare sector struggles to achieve. As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry. While the smaller drug makers have ploughed head-first into medical marijuana research, most of the largest pharmaceutical companies have have held back. Most - but not all. With the share prices of the aforementioned stocks rising quickly, the reluctance of those who have stayed out of this emerging market may cost them their place.
Once heavily shunned, the Cannabis Industry is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless companies, but is in peril of drastic transformation with the wholesale entrance of massive corporations and the money that opens doors for them. As the sleeping Giants slowly wake, their onslaught slowly intensifying as more patents, partnerships, and sponsored clinical trials take place.
As it is no surprise that many pharmaceutical giants have already formed strong partnerships with cannabis companies, who will mutually develop and distribute medical cannabis. The more we learn about the versatility of Cannabis, the more important and relevant the clinical data becomes for the widespread adoption and use of the product in all its forms.” There are still many roadblocks preventing major pharmaceutical companies from diving into the cannabis business, including shortages of medicinal cannabis. As this sector grows, the pressure increases to secure facilities that would allow for cost-effective and compliant production in order to meet the steadily increasing demand.
In addition to a complicated set of regulations, there is still the huge barrier of public apprehension due to decades of propaganda, which has also been a factor in keeping a lot of the big players at bay, but it’s certainly just a matter of time. It certainly is just a matter of time. One thing is clear, the movement has begun and the results are irreversible.