Marijuana Business Magazine October 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | October 2019 50 A NewKind of Medical GB Sciences, which operates in Nevada, plans to maintain its recreational position but also hopes to follow GW Pharma by developing FDA- approved medicines. (At press time, GB Sciences agreed to sell its 50% stake in GB Sciences Louisiana for $16 million to Wellcana Plus, a Lafayette, Louisiana- based company which holds the other 50% of the operation.) GB Science’s most advanced work currently is a Parkinson’s medicine that it’s developing in partnership with Catalent Pharma, a United Kingdom-based business specializing in delivery technologies. “My hope is that there will be a stratification that serves both kinds of customers—serious medical patients and wellness patients,” said Andrea Small-Howard, the company’s chief sci- ence officer. “They’re two very different but real customer groups.” Factors Shaping MMJ What exactly these reimagined wellness and medical industries look like will depend on a number of factors. According to industry executives, businesses considering operating in the MMJ sector must consider the following: • Consumers : Some will use cannabis products for wellness purposes, while others with serious medical conditions will seek FDA-approved, cannabinoid- based drugs that have undergone rigorous testing. • A pharmaceutical future : A growing number of existing cannabis companies and mainstream pharmaceutical and bioscience companies will strive to develop cannabinoid-based drugs, adding a greater pharma-feel to the industry. • Regulators : Regulators at both the state and federal levels will play a growing role and present the biggest wild card for the new MMJ industry. What’s also clear is that, despite the decline of medical patients in recreational states, the future of medical marijuana still remains bright as more markets open up, an expanding number of consumers embrace cannabis as a wellness product, and more doctors, patients and drug- development companies embrace the plant as a medical product. Cannabis as a Medicine Consumers are among the biggest drivers of medical marijuana’s future. The key question: Do they see themselves as medical patients who want FDA- approved medicines for specific ailments, or as wellness consumers who prefer traditional cannabis products such as Epidiolex is the first medicine derived from the cannabis plant to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Courtesy Photo