NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2019 /CNW/ -- Cannabis is constantly growing as a popular option for medical treatments due to its beneficial and diverse treatment option pool. Currently, many countries have adopted regulatory medical cannabis legislation to treat conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, depression, arthritis, epilepsy, Tourette's, and many others. Nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many others have all moved to adopt cannabis for medical applications. Overall, the number of countries that have already moved to legalize cannabis on some level has prompted other countries to consider cannabis for medicinal use as well. According to data compiled by Imarc Group, the global medical cannabis market was estimated to become more than USD 11 Billion in 2017. By 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 37 Billion, registering a CAGR of 22% during the forecast period. The medical marketplace is expected to continuously accelerate, pending research and development. MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MLCPF) (TSX-V: LABS), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. (OTC: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB), Level Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LEVB), Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (OTC: HRVSF) (CSE: HARV)
In the medical field, healthcare facilities prescribe patients with specific drugs to treat their conditions. Most commonly, in the U.S., patients are prescribed with drugs such as hydrocodone, acetaminophen, levothyroxine, gabapentin, and others. Most of these drugs have similar results, such they are highly addictive and cause serious side effects. Unlike these common prescription drugs however, Imarc's research suggests that cannabis is much safer and has less severe side effects. For instance, cannabis is very effective at reducing nausea while also building appetite among chemotherapy patients. Similarly, cannabis is also being used as an alternative to opioids because it significantly reduces the dosage and frequency of use of opioids. Patients are commonly ingesting cannabis through forms such as flowers, oils, foods, extracts, and capsules. "We would ask a doctor to certify as they would with another medical condition, that the patient has a condition for which an opioid has been prescribed or could be prescribed in the ordinary course of care," said Illinois State Sen. Don Harmon, who advocated for medical cannabis adoption. "There's talk of medical cannabis being addicting; I don't know if that's true. I do know that opioids are addicting and we're seeing the ravishing costs of that right now. I'm perfectly comfortable offering this as an alternative course of treatment."
MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTCQB: MLCPF) (TSX-V: LABS) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker (TSX-V: LABS). Earlier last week the company announced breaking cannabis news that, "its wholly-owned subsidiary, MediPharm Labs Inc. ("MediPharm Labs" or the "Company"), has entered into its first definitive international sales agreement, dated February 20, 2019, with AusCann Group Holdings Ltd. ("AusCann") to supply private label purified, pharmaceutical grade cannabis oil concentrates, or resin, from MediPharm Labs' own inventory of oil for export to Australia. AusCann will use MediPharm Labs' concentrates to manufacture hard-shell cannabinoid capsules to address the medical patient demand and critical need for precision and consistency of dose in cannabinoid medicines.
'MediPharm Labs has quickly established a global reputation as the go-to producer of high quality, pharmaceutical grade cannabis concentrates at commercial scale. We are thrilled to have been selected by AusCann as a supplier of choice for their medical products and clinical trials," said Patrick McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer of MediPharm Labs. "As the first extraction-only LP to begin exporting to Australia, this agreement marks an important milestone that accelerates our expectations for future growth. Looking ahead, we expect to begin supplying additional international markets to build our robust global distribution platform.'
'MediPharm Labs' significant market share combined with proprietary methodology ensures reliable supply of pharma-grade cannabinoid extracts and AusCann's continued ability to develop and deliver quality cannabinoid medicines for distribution in Australia," said Dr. Paul MacLeman, Interim CEO of AusCann. "Critical to our process is repeatability in manufacturing, reliable dosing, and purity assurance. MediPharm Labs' concentrates will form an important foundation to our products that will allow delivery of effective, trusted and safe medicines for the treatment of chronic pain'.
This marks the Company's first international export agreement and establishes MediPharm Labs as the first extraction-only licensed producer in Canada to commence exporting pharmaceutical grade cannabis oil to Australia. To date, MediPharm Labs has completed 5 private label sales agreement since receiving its sales license in November 2018. The first export of cannabis concentrate is expected be completed in the coming months, subject to regulatory requirements. The agreement has a two-year term. The Company expects to continue expanding its international distribution of its proprietary cannabis concentrate products for resale globally on a private label basis for medical markets. Initially this demand will be serviced from its wholly-owned, leading facility in Canada, and once its Australian laboratory, now under construction, is fully licensed and operational, Australia and Asia-Pacific demand can be addressed regionally.
About AusCann Group Holdings Limited: AusCann Group Holdings Limited (ASX:AC8) is an Australian-based pharmaceutical company that is working to produce high quality, economical, and clinically validated cannabinoid medicines. AusCann is bringing together leading expertise and operations across all aspects of the medical cannabis value chain, beginning with cultivation and production, through to manufacture and distribution of products. Through partnerships with industry experts, existing leading market participants and doctors, AusCann is building operations and educating the medical community about the benefits of cannabinoid medicines. Incorporated in 2014, AusCann holds all necessary licenses to grow and manufacture cannabinoid medicines in Australia. The company is initially targeting medications for neuropathic and chronic pain in Australia and Chile, whilst exploring global export opportunities.
About MediPharm Labs Corp: Founded in 2015, MediPharm Labs has the distinction of being the first company in Canada to become a licensed producer for cannabis oil production under the ACMPR without first receiving a cannabis cultivation licence. This expert focus on cannabis concentrates from our cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) and ISO standard clean rooms and critical environments laboratory, allows MediPharm Labs to produce purified, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oil and concentrates for advanced derivative products. MediPharm Labs has invested in an expert, research-driven team, state-of-the-art technology, downstream extraction methodologies and purpose-built facilities to deliver pure, safe and precisely-dosed cannabis products to patients and consumers. MediPharm Labs' private label program is a high margin business for the Company, whereby it opportunistically procures dry cannabis flower and trim from its numerous product supply partners, to produce proprietary cannabis oil concentrate products for resale globally on a private label basis. MediPharm Labs was recently named START-UP OF THE YEAR at the Canadian Cannabis Awards."
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Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is the leader in pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid therapies for rare and near-rare neuropsychiatric disorders. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent No. 10,213,390, titled "Treatment of Fragile X Syndrome with Cannabidiol" which includes claims directed to methods of treating Fragile X Syndrome by administering a therapeutically effective amount of synthetic or purified cannabidiol. This new patent, which expires in 2038, is part of an expanding intellectual property portfolio covering the Company's cannabidiol (CBD) product candidate, ZYN002 Transdermal CBD gel. The issuance of this patent comes as enrollment progresses in CONNECT-FX, a pivotal, multi-national, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy and safety of ZYN002 in three through 17-year old FXS patients with full mutation of the FMR1 gene. The primary endpoint is the change from baseline to the end of the treatment period in the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Community FXS Specific (ABC-CFXS) Social Avoidance subscale. Clinical investigative sites are enrolling patients in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Patients who have completed the double-blind phase are now enrolling into the 12-month open label phase. The Company expects to report top line data in the second half of 2019.
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. "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."
Level Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LEVB) owns and operates the nationally recognized consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand cbdMD, whose current products include CBD gummies, CBD tinctures, CBD topical, CBD bath bombs, CBD oils, and CBD pet products. Level Brands, Inc. recently announced that the proposals to be considered at the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders scheduled for March 29, 2019, include a change of its corporate name to cbdMD Inc. and the expansion of its Board of Directors to include three new board members, among other items. The name change comes less than two months after the company acquired the nationally recognized consumer cannabidiol (CBD) brand cbdMD as part of the mergers with Cure Based Development LLC which closed on December 20, 2018. "Our mission is to make cbdMD the leading CBD brand in America. As the first CBD consumer brands company on the NYSE American, we believe changing our corporate name to cbdMD Inc. reflects the primary focus of our company and provides a unique platform to promote our brand. If the name change is approved at the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders, we expect to change the ticker symbol of our common stock on NYSE American to 'YCBD,'" said Martin A. Sumichrast, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Level Brands.
Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (OTCQX: HRVSF) (CSE: HARV) is one of the first consistently profitable, vertically integrated cannabis companies with one of the largest footprints in the U.S. Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. recently announced the opening of its first Florida medical marijuana dispensary, located at 4967 West Irlo Bronson Highway in Kissimmee. This past November, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (Harvest) acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding common stock of San Felasco Nurseries, Inc., a holder of a medical marijuana dispensary license and authorization to operate as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Florida. The acquisition provided Harvest with the ability to operate up to 30 dispensaries and produce, process and dispense medical marijuana and marijuana products in Florida. Nationwide, Harvest currently holds licenses for 86 dispensaries, 23 cultivation facilities, and 22 processing facilities across the country. "We are excited to give patients and caregivers in Florida access to the highest quality products and experience in the cannabis industry," said Harvest founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve White. "We look forward to helping guide patients as they learn about how they can best manage their healthcare with cannabis. In this process, we will continue to hold ourselves to the most stringent health, safety and quality standards in the industry and look forward to opening many more of our award-winning dispensaries across Florida."
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