Marijuana Business Magazine October 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | October 2019 54 A NewKind of Medical and maintaining health and wellness in the face of a changing population and changing views of cannabis more broadly,” Vita said. Understanding that evolution in customer demographics and mindsets will help cannabis manufacturers and retailers develop and offer a better selection of products that cater to these types of customers. “We found it important to differentiate this and develop a whole product line specifically for health and wellness. The reason why is just because there’s clearly a demand for it,” SPARC’s Pearson said. New Products, Partnerships To appeal to these consumer demographics, cannabis companies will need to improve and diversify their products, developing offerings with more complex combinations of chemicals targeting specific conditions and creating new delivery methods tailored to specific types of patients. “While in Nevada we are proud of our smokable products, where we’ve always been heading is in the creation of branded products that are more complex formulations with a scientific mindset,” GB Sciences’ Small-Howard said. “And we’re trying to use delivery methods that will be more effective.” For example, GB Sciences produces tinctures, which are simpler to manufacture than, say, edibles or capsules and are easy to use. GB Sciences also plans to offer cannabis-infused oral thin films as well as metered-dose inhalers. Exploring these delivery methods is critical to providing patients with products tailored to their specific needs, a move that can improve a company’s reputation and sales. “What kind of delivery method you should use often depends on the condition you are trying to treat,” Small-Howard said. Dropoff in Oregon medical marijuana patient counts between the start of recreational sales in October 2015 (75,511 patients) and July 2019 (27,037 patients). 179% Number of states with marijuana regulations that specifically present medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids: Colorado, Illinois and New York. Five states—Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania—include opioid dependency or cessation as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana registration. Allowing medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids can have significant impacts on state markets: Marijuana Business Daily estimates Illinois’ program could yield up to $425 million in additional sales. Source: 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook, Marijuana Business Daily 3 Difference between Colorado’s highest month of medical marijuana sales in August 2016 ($41 million) and the state’s lowest month of sales in February 2019 ($24 million). $17 million Source: Colorado Department of Revenue Source: Oregon Medical Marijuana Program For example, GB Sciences has developed a cannabis-based formulation to treat Parkinson’s disease and, so far, has conducted what Small-Howard called encouraging animal trials. Given that one common symptom among Parkinson’s patients is difficulty swallowing, GB Sciences wants to avoid putting its medicine in a gel cap or pill and started examining other options with Catalent Pharma, a U.K. company specializing in delivery methods. Among Catalent’s first products were gel caps with Marinol, the FDA-approved anti- nausea medicine for cancer patients made from synthetic cannabinoids. Besides its experience with an FDA-approved medicine, Catalent also has a specialized delivery method, Zydis, which is an orally ingestible, dissolving wafer. “That was attractive to us because Parkinson’s patients have a hard time swallowing, but this makes it easier. They can take an oral dose without having to swallow it,” Small-Howard said. Currently, GB Sciences and Catalent are developing prototypes of their Parkinson’s medicine and hope to submit an application to the FDA next year to begin human trials. Small-Howard acknowledges the FDA approval process requires patience and money, but she is certain that it’s worth it. “It’s hard to protect formulations that you put into a dispensary. From a business standpoint, the reason to go through the whole FDA process is so that you can own it,” Small-Howard said. “That’s the payoff for the scientific work we’ve been doing.” Omar Sacirbey covers science and technology for Marijuana Business Magazine. You can reach him at [email protected]