I attended a webinar a few months ago, and was proudly able to communicate with medical doctor Jeffrey Hergenrather. Hergenrather showed a series of magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of a child with a massive brain tumor. The child was treated exclusively with cannabis oil, and is now cancer-free. I’ve also been privileged to speak with another brain cancer survivor, who was provided just two years to live, if she underwent a barrage of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She chose Rick Simpson oil, instead, and has lived to tell of her own passion for cannabis.
Even larger entities like the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have begun to recognize the medical efficacy of cannabis. One can only wonder, dishearteningly, how many scores of people may have been able to benefit from using a mere plant as their cancer treatment. I’d be willing to bet we all can name someone.
The future, though, is looking more optimistic. Companies are now dedicating resources or the very nature of their business to more thoroughly evaluating cannabis, and its complex chemical treasure chest. One company looking to hasten the pace of the research is Cannabics Pharmaceuticals.
Cannabics Pharmaceuticals opened a research lab in Israel four years ago. Scientists there found that various combinations of cannabinoids are more effective at treating tumors than others. “Specific cannabinoid ratios resulted in some different effects on tumors,” Eyal Barad, CEO of Cannabics Pharmaceuticals reported. Now, the Nevada-based company is building laboratories in Canada to continue working on their patent-pending high-throughput screens of iterations of different cannabinoid and terpene combinations. “Essentially, we take pictures of cancer cells, and then evaluate about 8000 different parameters to see how they affect the cells in real time,” Eyal explained.
This process has led Cannabics Pharmaceuticals to clinical trials, where they have studied the effects of their formulations on conditions like anorexia and cachexia, and in patients receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer. “Ultimately, we’re looking to define the predictive mold or chemical signature of which combination of cannabinoids successfully treats an individual medical condition,” Eyal replied.
While many states continue to add specific medical conditions to their accepted cannabis use lists, everyone can benefit from cannabis, even if they have not been formally diagnosed with one of the qualifying ailments. Identify one person who could not use cannabis as a stress or everyday pain relief. Perhaps more to the point, while a person may not have current symptoms to warrant a diagnosis, conditions in their bodies may be metamorphosing, in the beginning stages of a disease like cancer. “People over 40 may already have tumor cells in their blood,” Eyal discussed. “Thus, people can utilize cannabis preventatively.”
Much has been said about GW Pharmaceuticals recent approval for their cannabinoid-based drug Epidiolex™. Cannabics Pharmaceuticals plans to bring their formulations to the FDA as well. The challenge they face, however, is gaining approval for a medicine that contains two or more cannabinoids, as based off of their research. “The FDA process is built around single active product ingredient drugs”, Eyal explained. “With whole plant extracts, it becomes harder to distinguish which compound was working.”
Currently, Cannabics Pharmaceuticals has some formulations on the market, such as through their collaboration with Wana. These products utilize cannabis-derived cannabinoids. While terpenes are of interest too, Eyal’s team not yet embarked on studies that have introduced even more variables into the already hazy mix. “Something like 100 different cannabinoids have been isolated to date, “Eyal said. “We use about 5-8 in our current studies.”
“We are presently evaluating how we can ensure that the development of our products is of high enough quality that they can be labeled GMP, [good manufacturing practice],” he continued. Canada has been working towards generating more GMP certified facilities. While Canada does not currently market edibles, their plan is to introduce these products soon, and to regulate them as part of their medical cannabis program. Thus, GMP product labeling is becoming all the more relevant.
Any reader of T&T likely has more than a beginner’s knowledge or interest in terpenes. Given the significance of the entourage effect, terpenes have become more than just fragrant waste. “Part of our current mission has been to explore terpenes on the therapeutic side of our research in our High-Throughput Screening Lab,” Eyal mentioned. “We’re also exploring new and disruptive delivery technologies.”
Canada is playing a large role in pushing cannabis research and development (R&D) forward. Smaller cannabis businesses can take on the lion’s share of the work, since R&D limitations have essentially kept larger corporations out of the scene. Despite this absence, Eyal did not think it would last forever. “We expect to see big companies getting in to the market once more scientific backing exists. This means even more money and legitimacy for the plant. Cannabis is a democratic plant. We see the future industry being a combination of both small and large entities.”
Regardless of what the future holds, it is the present that matters to people in need of healing. A plethora of personal stories regarding cannabis’s ability to benefit cancer patients has accumulated. And as this augmentation has occurred, so too, have the number of people who are finally starting to recognize that cannabis is medicine, and the medicine works.