Clinical partnerships in the medical cannabis industry are providing clinicians with the practical knowledge they need to make better informed treatment decisions for their patients.
In more ways than one, the key to growth and expansion in the medical cannabis space is knowledge. The pursuit of knowledge applies to all stakeholders in the cannabis industry. Patients are taking the time to learn more about how medical cannabis can provide them with new treatments that can help alleviate their symptoms and ailments. Physicians are performing their due diligence to learn the facts about these emerging cannabis treatments. Cannabis companies are learning more about consumer needs and tailoring their product offerings accordingly. Researchers are conducting the leg work that proves the efficacy and legitimacy of cannabis as a medicine. As everyone involved learns more, there is more opportunity for growth in the medical cannabis space.
The medical cannabis industry is growing at a strong and steady pace. According to data by Research and Markets, the global industry will be worth more than $37 billion by 2023, up from more than $11 billion in 2017 for a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent. Global Market Insights projects the US medical cannabis market could be worth more than $8 billion by 2024. In Canada, where the medical side of the cannabis industry is now part of a much larger space, medical cannabis alone is still expected to generate between $0.77 to $1.79 billion in sales by the end of 2019, according to Deloitte Canada’s 2018 Cannabis Report.
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The barriers to medical cannabis research are finally coming down, and with a wave of legalization the medical cannabis industry continues to spread throughout North America, into Europe and beyond. This movement has created more opportunity for researchers and medical institutions to form clinical research partnerships to better understand the needs of patients and the potential of medical cannabis to meet those needs.
Understanding medical cannabis
The therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis have been apparent for decades. However, cannabis spent nearly one hundred years under strict prohibition that did little to keep the plant out of the hands of recreational users while significantly hindering our understanding of the drug. Over the past twenty years, medical cannabis research has made significant progress filling in the gaps of our scientific understanding of cannabis. However, there is still much to be learned about the best methods of use, the optimal combinations of cannabinoids and the other factors that govern the efficacy of medical cannabis.
This in itself is the reason why some selected medical cannabis companies are choosing to partner with research groups and academic institutions to conduct clinical trials aimed at developing and refining cannabis products.
Cannabis companies have also partnered with medical clinics that provide medical cannabis products to their patients. This strategy gives researchers and cannabis product developers insight into the needs and experiences of real cannabis patients. With a greater understanding of medical cannabis and the needs of patients, medical cannabis companies can tailor their products to better treat the specific ailments and preferences of those patients. Furthermore, with a higher volume of evidence based trials and research to draw from, physicians will gain better insight and confidence in medical cannabis treatments, making them more likely to recommend and prescribe those treatments.
In addition to supporting overall research and development, these partnerships also offer strategic avenues for a company’s overall growth. Taking a key leadership role in the advancement of medical cannabis research better positions a cannabis company as a thought leader and innovator in the medical cannabis space, helping them build and solidify their brand reputation and commitment to the medical community.
Clinical Partnerships in the Medical Cannabis Industry
In September 2018, Canadian medical cannabis producer Pure Global Cannabis (TSXV:PURE,OTCMKTS:PRCNF,FWB:1QS) announced that through its subsidiary PureSinse the company had formed a clinical partnership with Appletree Medical Group. Together they will conduct an observational study to describe the effectiveness of medical cannabis strains and cannabinoid-terpene combinations used in real world clinical settings for a variety of medical conditions. The pan-canadian study will be overseen by a global clinical research organization specialized in harnessing information and data analytics that drive healthcare forward.
The goal of the study is to provide Pure Global with key insights that will shape and inform the development of improved treatments for neuropathic pain, insomnia, anxiety disorders, opioid dependence, PTSD, and more. “Clinic partnerships are part of our mission to brand ourselves to the medical community as a trusted partner for the education and supply of medical cannabis products. We are conducting a real world evidence-based study on the therapeutic effects of cannabis to give physicians and healthcare professionals the evidence and data they need to help patients choose the best cannabis treatment options,” Pure Global CEO Malay Panchal told INN. “This in turn will give health care professionals, including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and naturopaths the confidence to send their patients to PureSinse for their medical cannabis needs.”
Research partnerships like Pure Global and Appletree’s are becoming a more common practice in the medical cannabis industry. Canadian cannabis company Canntrust Holdings (TSE:TRST) announced in September 2018 that the company would be partnering with McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario as well as Hamilton Health Sciences’ Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic conducting clinical trials to research the therapeutic use and clinical effectiveness of cannabinoids. In August 2016, Canadian cannabis giant Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB,OTCQB:ACBFF) announced that the company would be working with McGill University to launch an international collaborative medical research project on the therapeutic effects and health outcomes of cannabidiol (CBD) therapy for chronic pain, anxiety and depression.
When more is understood about the effects and benefits of medical cannabis, everyone wins. Physicians are able to confidently prescribe cannabis as a game-changing alternative to opioids, cannabis producers see greater opportunity for growth in a thriving medical cannabis space, and patients gain effective and safe treatment options. The full potential of medical cannabis remains unknown, but many companies are moving towards that potential by securing clinical partnerships.
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