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July 19th Highlights
- Cannabis and Pain - numbers from aborad - In the Czech Republic, cannabis is offered as a treatment for a wide range of conditions including chronic pain, back pain, neurological disorders like MS, cachexia, Tourette’s syndrome, and psoriasis. However, at 82% of total sales by weight, the majority of cannabis flower has been issued for pain conditions in 2020. In other markets like Germany or Australia, about 70% of medical cannabis prescriptions are issued for pain conditions. In 2020, 13% of flower was consumed by patients with spasticity or multiple sclerosis while the remainder was split across more than 90 conditions, including neurodegenerative conditions, cancers, epilepsy, headaches, and an array of others. I find these facts highly relevant as many doctors still don't believe that there is sufficient evidence that cannabis can effectively treat pain symptoms - at what point does real-world evidence hold weight with the medical community? Thank you to the team at Prohibition Partners for inspiration for this note.
- AI in the pharmaceutical industry - The pharmaceutical business is perhaps the only industry on the planet, where to get the product from idea to market the company needs to spend about a decade, several billion dollars, and there is about a 90% chance of failure. So when the revolution in artificial intelligence fueled by credible advances in deep learning hit in 2013-2014, the pharmaceutical industry executives got interested but did not immediately jump on the bandwagon. AI is set to play an important role in the way cannabis is treated as a medicine. Cannabis is a complex plant, containing several hundred compounds - this means it is an excellent herbal remedy, but not an ideal pharmaceutical medicine (due to single-molecule approach) - although it’s therapeutic application is well documented. I suspect applications like StrainPrint, Strain Genie, and the work out of the Technicon by Prof. Dedi Meiri will provide insights to companies that are seeking to understand how compounds within the cannabis plant lead to therapeutic outcomes for patients. I will be talking with Prof. Dedi Meiri on this topic in early August. Nonetheless, cannabis and AI is a fascinating topic which will continue to build momentum over the coming years. Thank you Forbes for the snippets of this content
- CBD in the U.K. - A combination of consumer interest, changing legislation and the growing base of knowledge around CBD has led to a rapid increase in CBD sales over the last three years, with poor quality products retailing for a premium. However, the fall of raw material prices, as a result of the immense development of global hemp cultivation, is driving the commoditization of CBD, eroding producers' margins, and encouraging the emergence of new brand-led value propositions and value-added products like CBD-infused food, drinks, and cosmetics. The emergence of a differentiated strategy by some operators, seeking to leverage their quality certifications and superior branding for a higher price tag, instead of competing in a fight over price in an undifferentiated market. I personally think companies need to stop competing on price (the race to the bottom) and focus on adding value to customers - this means high-quality products and transparency of source material. Some people will pay for quality, and others will not, which customer do you want to focus on? Thank you to the team at Prohibition Partners for the inspiration to write this post
Argentina to allow cannabis sales in pharmacies and home cultivation
Netherlands clarifies application process to grow adult-use cannabis
The World Health Organization says reschedule cannabis: Will the UN agree?
Cannabis extract manufacturers face new guidelines in German document