MAR 28, 2019 5:35 PM PDT

Big Pharma to Take Another Look at Marijuana

WRITTEN BY: Amy Loriaux

Ever since the FDA approved the first drug derived from cannabis last year pharmaceutical companies big and small are taking another look at the plant for therapeutic potential. According to an article published on the website axios.com by Sam Baker, scientists are looking at cannabis - and psychedelics - as potential avenues towards profitable new medications. This is due, at least in part, to the relaxing of opinions regarding marijuana use, especially for medical purposes, around the country. The interest in psychedelics comes from the latest results from drugs such as ketamine, which has been shown to provide quick relief from depressive symptoms.

Photo source: UnSplash.com

According to another article published on the website globalnews.ca by Laura Hensley, marijuana may be becoming "the new Oxycontin". Two years ago at the Family Medical Forum in 2017, the largest family medicine conference in Canada, medical marijuana companies lined the exhibitor's hall. They tried to convince attendees to take a look at their wares, promising treatments for "this and that", according to one physician who attended, a Dr. Sarah Giles. She continued to say that, "none of [these claims] was evidence-based" and that “Marijuana is the next OxyContin, where everyone’s like, ‘Oh, it’s not addictive, it’s harmless, it’s good,’ and people are kind of using it willy-nilly because you can get it prescribed and not prescribed.”

Part of this hesitation towards medical marijuana comes from the fact that it is still not being taught in medical school. Furthermore, doctors tend to perceive a lack of evidence that it’s an effective treatment for things like pain, sleep disorders and anxiety. There are also concerns around dosing. Big Pharma companies could actually change that perception, as they do with all of their products. They hire sales representatives and medical science liaisons to provide educational materials and answer questions from clinicians regarding their latest pills.

A few of the pharmaceutical companies interested in the medical marijuana market include Novartis subsidiary Sandoz, which has partnered with the Canadian marijuana company Tilray; GW Pharmaceuticals, who released the FDA-approved cannabis-derivative Epidiolex; and AbbVie, which is exploring cannabis medicine and what products can be derived from it. 

Will medical marijuana start to appear on the shelves? Photo source: UnSplash.com

Even pharmacies are getting into the act. According to an article on CNBC.com, Walgreens is planning to sell cannabidiol (CBD) creams, patches, and sprays in nearly 1,500 stores in select states. CVS introduced CBD-containing topicals, including creams and salves, to stores in eight states earlier in March. Mind you, CBDs are not quite "medical marijuana" in the strictest sense, but it does highlight an interesting trend that is moving into our drugstores. According to Brian Sterz, portfolio manager of Miracle Mile Advisors, a private financial firm, "There's too much revenue to be made by states and the federal government (to not allow) cannabis-related drugs and products to become available."

While medical marijuana is still in its infancy, and the potential medical uses of marijuana still being elucidated, this dive into the market may seem to be premature. However, sometimes you have to capitalize on the market and not the science. Hopefully, these pharmaceutical companies can make extraordinary drugs from the cannabis plant, and not lead us into another "opioid-style" epidemic. 

See the video below for more details.

Video source: YouTube.com

Source: LabRoots.com, www.axios.com, The Independent Institute, GlobalNews.ca, Medical Science Liaison Society, the-scientist.com, investigators.com, cnbc.com

 

About the Author
  • I currently work at a small CRO involved in clinical trial management.
You May Also Like
JAN 31, 2020
Health & Medicine
Medicinal Marijuana May Not Aid Sleep Problems Long Term
JAN 31, 2020
Medicinal Marijuana May Not Aid Sleep Problems Long Term
A new study published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care suggests that medical marijuana may not aid slee ...
FEB 18, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Is it Better to Vape THC or Smoke Marijuana?
FEB 18, 2020
Is it Better to Vape THC or Smoke Marijuana?
Vaping THC is becoming increasingly popular. But is it better than simply smoking marijuana out of a joint? How does it ...
FEB 26, 2020
Cardiology
Is Vaping Really Bad for Heart Health?
FEB 26, 2020
Is Vaping Really Bad for Heart Health?
In June last year, a group of prominent academics in the US published a paper claiming that people who vape, or people w ...
FEB 28, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Vaping Harms Microbiome, Increases Infection and Inflammation
FEB 28, 2020
Vaping Harms Microbiome, Increases Infection and Inflammation
Researchers have found that vaping e-cigarettes may change the composition of the mouth’s microbiome, something th ...
APR 04, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Only 50% Cannabis Genome Has Been Mapped
APR 04, 2020
Only 50% Cannabis Genome Has Been Mapped
As more and more jurisdictions are decriminalizing cannabis usage, its popularity both for medicinal and recreational us ...
MAY 13, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis May Reverse Aging in the Brain
MAY 13, 2020
Cannabis May Reverse Aging in the Brain
Cannabis is usually associated with cognitive deficits such as short term memory loss, and problems maintaining attentio ...
Loading Comments...