The future of cannabis has less to do with acreage and grams and more to do with data and milligrams in creating and applying research driven extraction, distillation, purification, and isolation to develop more advanced products protected by a creation process or IP.
At a recent conference in Pasadena, CA, NBC reported that a research group has figured out how to create stronger versions of both THC and CBD, announcing that they had “developed a process for creating synthetic, stable acids”. The new family of acids hold much higher potency, opening new avenues for medical treatment. The most famous researcher, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an organic chemist and professor at Hebrew University, is best known for his early work in the isolation, elucidation and synthesis of THC and the first epilepsy clinical trials with CBD which eventually led to the development of Epidiolex by GW Pharmaceuticals to treat seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy.
The discovery paves the way for drug companies to potentially develop new drugs based on the acids for a variety of health issues such as psoriasis, arthritis, anxiety and inflammatory bowel disease. The NBC article also pointed out, researchers at the University of Guelph have shown CBD acid to be a thousand times more potent than pure CBD at binding to serotonin receptors linked to alleviating pain and inflammation. In a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology last year, Mechoulam and researchers found that their synthetic version of CBDA, known as cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, can potentially replicate these effects.
Cannabis acids are chemical compounds that are highly unstable outside of a living plant. Now that Mechoulam has reproduced the compounds outside of the plant, he is working with his start-up company, EPM, to licence the innovation to drug companies for practical medical applications.
The acid version of CBD looks to be particularly promising for the treatment of anxiety and nausea. “It’s an interesting molecule that potentially doesn’t have side effects,” said Dan Peer, head of the Cancer Biology Research Center at Tel Aviv University. “It works like a steroid. If it doesn’t have adverse effects, then you have a replacement, which is great.”
Ziva Cooper, research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, said the research confirms what many in the field have long suspected about cannabis acids, but have been unable to confirm due to their instability. “Their work is quite innovative, and it definitely builds on what we know related to the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids,” Cooper said, adding that more testing will be needed to determine effectiveness and safety for humans.