- 1. THC restores brain function in aging, new study set to boost cannabis industry
- 2. Upcoming drugs
THC restores brain function in aging, new study set to boost cannabis industry
The marijuana industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two decades. What was once a taboo industry has become a must-see industry. And this, despite the stereotypes of prohibitionists on the use of marijuana, especially on the human brain. Researchers have finally established that cannabis could indeed help heal our spirits. But this later in our lives, in that protective of the effects of aging on the brain. This study is starting to turn heads. It encourages investors to bet on the development of cannabinoid-based drugs, including Epidiolex.
Status of the cannabis industry
According to a Gallup poll from the mid-1990s, only 25% of respondents were in favor of legalizing cannabis. Be careful, that was during the War on Drugs in America campaign. As of 2016, a record 60% of respondents wanted to see cannabis legalized for use in adults.
An even larger figure, 93%, wants medical cannabis to be legalized nationwide, according to a recent University of Quinnipiac survey.Today, 28 states have legalized medical cannabis, while eight States have voted to allow the legal sale of herbs to adults.
Real opportunities at the federal level
However, the US federal government, especially the new Trump administration, is wary of the substance. The possibility of recreational marijuana approval with Trump and Jeff Sessions is close to zero… Cannabis is still completely illicit under Schedule I of the DEA.
But the real possibilities at the federal level for the moment linger on the promotion of medical cannabis. This while trying to ease restrictions on medical research. And call on clinical studies conducted at the university. Thus, these studies provide a basis that can encourage more rigorous clinical research.
Cannabis protects and heals the brain against the effects of aging
Researchers at the University of Bonn and the Hebrew University have found that regular doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the main active ingredients in cannabis, can help our brains as we age. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the study found that while younger mice experienced a performance decline under the influence of THC, the psychoactive chemical gave older mice a considerable performance boost. And even putting them on the same level as the younger mice who abstained ...
A daily THC diet
Specifically, the researchers looked at 2-month-old, 12-month-old and 18-month-old mice. They were then watched as they navigated an aquatic maze. As expected, the younger mice walked the maze faster and more efficiently than the older mice. But when the researchers started giving regular doses of THC to the mice, the older mice improved to the point of completing the maze with similar efficiency to younger mice without THC.
THC is often perceived as impeding cognitive ability in younger brains. But it may be able to rejuvenate cognitive function in older brains. The benefits for older mice are the result of stimulation of the brain's endocannabinoid system. Indeed, a biochemical pathway in mice and humans that grow less actively over time.
Des previous research with mice by the universities of Bonn and Mainz also suggested that cannabis's primary receptor and neural pathways are closely linked to brain health. And this during life, their association seems to play a role in the prevention of cerebral degeneration when they are active.
"None of the mice showed the strange effects one would expect from doses of THC." report The Guardian "If we can rejuvenate the brain so that everyone is five to ten years older without needing extra care, that's more than we might have imagined."
The broader implication here is that a regular dose of THC may offer relief for those with brain-related illnesses, like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. The team plans to explore the potential impact of THC on older human brains with a clinical trial later this year, being one of the few to focus on older subjects so far.
Medicines to come
What studies like this really show the flame of what might be possible with cannabis-based drugs. Although many of the ongoing studies are considered informal. That is, they are not overseen by an accredited regulatory body like the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A good example is GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) based in England. This company has developed what could arguably be the most effective cannabinoid drug, theEpidiolex. This is still an experimental drug, which has been shown to be effective for two types of epilepsy in children. Namely, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Epidiolex ended up providing a statistically significant reduction in seizure frequency compared to placebo. Even with FDA regulations, it will be difficult to divert Epidiolex. This given the strength of its late data ... In addition, Epidiolex is a drug that could potentially make a billion dollars in annual sales ...
Synthetic remedy approved by the DEA
One FDA-approved drug treatment that will soon make a difference is Synthes from Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ: INSY). It is a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) and anorexia associated with AIDS. Syndros, an oral solution of dronabinol which is the pharmaceutical equivalent of THC. he was approved last summer, furthermore passing the DEA rules on cannabinoids…
Insys looks forward to launching its new drug in the second half of 2017. Although sales estimates vary due to the highly competitive nature of the market, Syndros could have a maximum annual sales potential of $ 300 million ...
The major obstacles
But it doesn't matter how cannabinoid therapies might turn out. There are two significant drawbacks that should make investors think twice. Especially those who are developing cannabinoid drugs.
For starters, the valuations of marijuana stocks are mostly in the stratosphere. For example, GW Pharmaceuticals is not expected to be profitable on a recurring basis until 2020. And it will probably not approach its maximum annual sales expectations for a good five to seven years. Still, the company is already valued nearly three times its peak revenue. Which is a super performance in the biotechnology industry. Put simply, the GW Pharmaceuticals assessment looks to the future.
The other problem, the political concerns… Even though the Trump administration has remained neutral on medical cannabis, it doesn't look like some of the downsides inherent in the industry will unfold anytime soon. In particular, it probably means very FDA guided clinical trials. But ease of access to medical cannabis research will not happen during Trump's tenure as president.