Evaporating stigma around recreational cannabis opens space on medicinal side

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  • The stigma around all cannabis products is evaporating as recreational legalization looms
  • The stampede to the recreational side creates a void in the medicinal space
  • PreveCeutical has launched its Cannabis Division to fill this space

As the October 17 date for legalizing recreational marijuana in Canada gets closer, the stigma around cannabis products is fast evaporating. Companies are scrambling to get in on a domestic market worth between $4 billion to $12 billion annually. Canadian cannabis firms are also positioning themselves to be major players in a global cannabis market estimated to be US$63.5 billion by 2024.

In a short period, the Canadian cannabis industry has gone from being at the margins into the mainstream of investment markets. With almost 100 publicly-listed Canadian cannabis companies — and with the biggest two dozen worth nearly $100-billion combined — any cloud of investor hesitation that had been hanging over the sector has vanished like a puff of smoke.

But the stampede to reap rich rewards has created a potential void in the medicinal cannabis sector as many companies begin to move to recreational market to accommodate demand. It’s a market shift that provides an opportunity to healthcare-focused companies supplying the increasing demand for cannabis-based therapies.

In the long term we can be what Microsoft and Apple are to the technology world — I believe that PreveCeutical will be that in the pharmaceutical and the preventative health world for decades to come.

Dr. Harry Parekh, Chief Research Officer, PreveCeutical Medical Inc.

Filling the Void on the Cannabis Medicinal Side

PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (CSE: PREV) (OTCQB: PRVCF) (FSE: 18H) is positioning itself to fill that void. The company recently announced the launch of its Cannabis Division, which will bring a range of medicinal cannabis-based products to market.

“All of our products are preventive medicinal products, not recreational oriented, but as the  recreational area expands, you’ll see a bit of a void on the medicinal side because most of the cannabis companies are gearing up to be recreational,” says PreveCeutical Chairman, President and CEO Stephen Van Deventer.

“The medical side will become very sought-after, and it gives us the opportunity to deliver systems and products that we can license to the major pharmaceutical or cannabis companies.”

PreveCeutical Medical is focused on utilizing nature and science for the benefit of health-conscious consumers. PreveCeutical, in collaboration with its partners, researches and develops innovative solutions to provide consumers with options for preventive and curative therapies.

The cornerstone of the company’s research program is the nasal delivery Sol-gel system developed by Dr. Harry Parekh, PreveCeutical’s Chief Research Officer. Initially developed to treat ailments like inflammation of the sinuses and sinusitis, Parekh has teamed up with Van Deventer and PreveCeutical to use the system to deliver cannabis-based products.

Dr. Harry Parekh and Stephen Van Deventer at The Pharmacy Centre of Excellence of Queensland University. Supplied

“The beauty of Sol-gel is that it’s so very versatile,” says Parekh. “If you know how to engineer them correctly, they can be an extremely powerful delivery system for virtually any therapeutic.”

Sol-gel is a temperature reactive heavy liquid that can be sprayed into a patient’s nasal cavities where it forms a gel. It can remain there for up to a week, time-releasing the therapeutic product into an individual’s system via the nasal mucosa. This is a huge advantage over other nasal sprays that have to be taken daily or hourly.

“It really helps create patient compliance because at the moment these nasal sprays need to be applied to each nostril twice a day, sometimes more often,” says Parekh. “This will also give a choice to the doctors who may have an elderly patient who has difficulty swallowing tablets.”

Sol-gel Delivery System Combats Lingering Stigma

The Sol-gel formulation can also be used in transdermal patches and topical creams and capsules to administer medicinal cannabis products. It’s a delivery system that helps settle any doubts consumers and investors may have about the therapeutic uses of cannabis, Parekh says.

“I believe that we can move away from that stigma of smoking marijuana, because you can take this as a nasal spray, you can have it in a patch, and you can have it as a wafer, and it’s not going to be psychoactive because there isn’t any THC in it, but you will reap all the medical benefits from it,” he says.

How Sol-gel works. Supplied

Credible Research the Key to Enlisting Big Pharma

Both Parekh and Van Deventer say the ultimate goal is for PreveCeutical to licence their products to cannabis companies like Aurora Canopy, but also to “Big Pharma” corporations like Pfizer and become a world-leader in the preventive healthcare space. They’re willing to put in the time, effort, and money to get there, and the key is solid clinical studies and research.

“We want multiple clinical trials so that once we have the credible data, and potentially when we have a big Pharma on board, we want to set up trials in India, Singapore, and China, as well as the UK,” says Parekh.

“I truly believe that we will be a global player. We are at the moment in the process of  lining up all of our ducks and I believe that in 12 to 15 months we can really open the door to the world,” says Parekh.

“In the long term we can be what Microsoft and Apple are to the technology world — I believe that PreveCeutical will be that in the pharmaceutical and the preventative health world for decades to come.”

Products go Beyond Cannabis

While a lot of attention is being paid to cannabis-based products, PreveCeutical is not ignoring the potential for the Sol-gel platform to deliver other therapeutics. Van Deventer notes the technology is ideal for any time-release drug, including those used for birth control. It’s part of the company’s philosophy of having a diversified, globally-relevant product line.

“We have a big range,” says Van Deventer. “Some investors say you should just focus on one product and stay on the one, but I don’t believe in that. I believe in diversification because what if that one product fails? Then the company is dead. So, I believe in diversification and that’s why we have multiple things.”

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