Interview with Meshoulam's right-hand man on derivative cannabidiolic acids
Acids derived from cannabis seem to have taken research into a whole new phase. These discoveries are both fundamental to the world of medical research related to cannabis, which has led many to refer to him as the "godfather" or the "father" of research on cannabis. According to Prof. Mechoulam, cannabidiolic acid is a much more powerful compound than CBD or THC. The more we check, the more we notice a potential new alternative to probably two of the most horrific diseases you can find today.
Development of prescription drugs based on new discoveries of synthetic cannabinoid acids
His latest research on cannabis-derived acids appears to have taken cannabis research into a completely new phase, one that may finally close the funding gap between the medical treatment potential of cannabis and the funding that companies are willing to provide. invest in its research and development.
Mechoulam leads the EPM medical team that develops prescription drugs based on new discoveries of synthetic cannabinoid acids to meet the unmet needs of patients. These innovations represent new treatment options and aim to alleviate a wide range of therapeutic conditions for millions of patients around the world.
The Jerusalem Post met the last week with EPM CEO, Israeli entrepreneur Reshef Swisa, who teams up with the 50-year-old scientist to found EPM in 2017 and with its chairman, British pharmaceutical businessman Julian Gangolli, who joined the team in 2019 to find out what exactly cannabidiolic acids are and what their impact might be on the global medical cannabis market.
“When you look at a field of cannabis, none of the plants actually contain THC, CBD or cannabinoids. All cannabinoids will not appear on a plant until after that plant dies, ”said Swisa to the Post . “You learn that there is a big difference between the compound you find on a plant when it is alive and the compound you find when it is dead. "
He said cannabis acids are an exciting new field of research, “as the industry works on compounds in the plant that decarboxylates after they started to dry out, we were more intrigued by what was happening to the plant itself "
In order to get pharmaceutical companies interested in investing in a new drug, he said, it needs to be robust, more cost effective and have fewer side effects than currently approved treatments. He added that it is also necessary to be able to patent the drug, explaining to the Post "that this is probably the main reason why many pharmaceutical companies do not want to be interested in cannabis. It is impossible to patent a formula of a natural molecule "
Swisa said that while the potency of cannabidiolic acids is higher than that of its cannabinoid counterparts, “Cannabis acids are very unstable, which means they break down into cannabinoids very easily. If you try to take them from the plant or consume them, your body heat will break them down and they will decarboxylate. "
He adds that cannabis acids are also not easily reproducible, as they depend on complicated forms of extraction that require very specific growing conditions.
In order to get around these obstacles, Swisa said that Mechoulam's team has synthesized molecules in the laboratory that mimic the structures of cannabis acids, but which do not easily break down into cannabinoids, allowing them to be reproduced on a large scale without need to depend on living plants.
“We have so far developed 14 different molecules, 8 of which are totally new discoveries, which means that we have a very exclusive patent on these molecules, since they constitute a new discovery for the scientific world”, he said. -he declares. “Each of these molecules has the potential to be developed into multiple drugs, while many companies can do amazing things with just one molecule. "
The boss of Epidiolex behind cannabidiolic acid
He gave as an example the famous epilepsy drug Epidiolex, which Gangolli helped launch while he was president of the North American division of his former company, GW, after it became the first drug derived from the cannabis to be approved by the FDA in 2018.
“We had children who had 40 or 50 epileptic seizures per week that this product was able to improve very little and even without seizures,” said Gangolli, describing the Phase 3 clinical trials of Epidiolex. What struck me most about this data is that these products, whether they are cannabinoids or acids, have a profound effect. You can't just pretend the kids don't have seizures anymore. It's real, ”Gangolli added.
He mentioned that the cost-effectiveness and increased potency of cannabis acid synthesis allow treatments derived from them to treat a "massive range of inflammatory conditions", especially when compared to his. experience with Epidiolex.
He gave the drug aspirin, a synthesized version of salicylic acid, which is derived from willow bark, as an example of the impact of a successful synthesis, saying, "If we were all addicted to it. aspirin from trees, we would be in a very sorry state right now. "
Another example Gangolli gave of the potential impact of synthesis was the use of cannabis as a potential detoxifier in disaster areas. He said that due to the tendency of cannabis to cleaning dangerous metals from the floor, plants often absorb the so-called metals in amounts far too high to clarify pharmaceutical health standards for drugs, forcing companies to maintain strict regulations on producers.
A treatment for Crohn's disease and colitis without side effects?
Asked about the drug's potency, Swisa said their tests for colitis showed that not only did the synthesized cannabis acids far outperform CBD treatments, but also behave similarly to standard treatments and steroids currently on the market, including, prednisone.
“The discovery was astounding. We couldn't believe it the first time, so we repeated it another time, and a third time… six different times, because we just couldn't believe what we saw ”
The significance of their findings regarding anti-inflammatory drugs could indeed be very significant, because while steroids are a potent anti-inflammatory agent, they also come with their fair share of side effects, including weakened responses. immune. While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are also commonly used today, their potency does not reach steroid levels. They are also known to cause side effects, especially those related to the gut, thus highlighting in particular the potential that synthetic cannabis acids might have for inflammatory bowel-related diseases such as Crohn's disease and colitis. . “The more we checked, the more we saw that we have a potential new alternative to probably two of the most horrible diseases you can find today.
Crohn's disease and colitis destroy life. Right now they are forced to choose between the bad and the terrible. "Said Swisa. When asked for what other conditions EPM has found synthetic cannabis acids to be potential treatment models, Swisa mentioned obesity, skin disorders such as psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis, lung inflammation, nausea, depression and anxiety. Swisa says the reason they have so many potential directions for treatments comes from the company's many collaborations with businesses and academic institutions. “We have research institutes working with us in Israel, Canada and the UK. We have facilities developing EPM products in the UK, Sweden and Denmark, and offices in the US and Australia. I can estimate that over 200 people in different universities and CROs are working on our projects at all times. "