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Investigating the Medical Potential of Cannabis-derived Products

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In the past 20 years, there has been a resurgence of interest – stemming from researchers, patients and healthcare professionals – in using cannabis and cannabinoids to treat a variety of conditions.

For cannabis-derived products to be effective, the cannabis plant’s composition must be analyzed, tailored and an appropriate delivery system and dosage must be determined. This is because the optimal composition of active compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, will vary considerably depending on the indication being treated.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with William Levine, D.D.S., CannRx Founder and Chief Scientific Officer. Levine discusses CannRx’s mission to develop transformative, scientifically based, proprietary cannabis technologies, highlights some of the medical applications of cannabis-derived products, and explains why it is so important to analyze the various active compounds in cannabis.

Laura Lansdowne (LL):
For some of our readers who are less familiar with CannRx, could you tell us a little about the company’s mission and history?

William Levine (WL):
CannRx’s mission is to develop transformative, scientifically based, proprietary cannabis technologies that ultimately create more effective, safe and dependable healthcare products for patients. As the company’s Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, my background in traditional pharma and botanical medicine has allowed me to apply this knowledge to the cannabis field, where our goal is to optimize cannabis’ therapeutic benefits and provide precise dosing to achieve the desired effect for patients.

CannRx is a subsidiary of Izun Pharmaceuticals. Izun is a biotech company specializing in botanical medicine. Izun has developed sophisticated technologies for analyzing plant material and understanding the bioactivity of the various compounds that are found within the plant. Realizing the vast capabilities of plant-based medicine, we brought this expertise to CannRx, identifying and licensing new potent cannabis and hemp strains and differentiated delivery systems for cannabis.

What are some of the medical applications of cannabis-derived products?

WL: Cannabis is a pharmacologically rich plant with many potential medical applications. For background, medicinal cannabis has been used to treat various indications, such as pain and anxiety, for thousands of years, and marijuana consumption in general has an annual prevalence rate of approximately 147 million individuals or nearly 2.5 percent of the global population – making it the most cultivated drug worldwide. Patients consume cannabis to treat a variety of health conditions, from pain and anxiety to insomnia and cancer.

The important point to remember with cannabis is that, while there is a high level of variability within the raw plant material itself, cannabis can have a very predictable therapeutic effect when formulated properly. To achieve this, CannRx designed a scientifically based analytical system that produces highly effective, clinically tested cannabis products. We have also created unique formulations with extensive in vivo testing, which are now entering human clinical testing. Our initial formulations target sleep disorders, pain control, oncology support, Parkinson’s disease and women’s healthcare.

Why is analyzing the composition of cannabis to determine cannabinoids, terpenes and other bioactive compounds so important?

The required, or desired, active compounds in cannabis vary from indication to indication; in other words, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all cannabis patients. For example, the active compounds that are in a cannabis sleep product will be much different from those in an epilepsy product, and both will be different from those in a pain product. As a result, CannRx analyzes a range of cannabinoids, terpenes and other bioactive compounds in its cannabis strains to learn as much as possible about the different interactions between these compounds. This allows us to provide better quality and more effective cannabis products for the consumer. 

LL: Can you tell us more about the innovative technologies that CannRx has developed?

CannRx has developed advanced technologies that optimize the benefits of cannabis for patients. Our patented molecular structure-binding delivery system, CannTrap, enhances cannabinoid binding with a hydrophilic protein, creating a water-soluble solid nanoparticle. The system enables faster absorption, consistent dosing, a controlled therapeutic effect and increased stability for patients.

The data from a CannRx-sponsored pharmacokinetic (PK) animal study shows that using CannTrap with cannabis-derived products increases bioavailability up to 100 percent, while the normal bioavailability of cannabis is around 6 to 18 percent. Additionally, while it can typically take up to two hours after user ingestion to achieve the maximum benefit of a specific dose, CannTrap can reduce the onset time of an oral cannabis dose to a period of 15 to 30 minutes and, when taken sublingually, it can be as quick as five minutes.

Additionally, CannRx has developed its Vapor Capture Technology (VCT) that uses heat-produced vapor to generate a specific cannabinoid profile. This process not only increases yield (while removing pesticides from the final product), but also creates a better, safer solution for patients. 

LL: Are you able to elaborate on the clinical development of your formulation that targets sleep disorders?

CannRx’s sleep formulation provides patients with a rapid onset for a longer and more restful sleep. There are also far fewer side effects than commonly prescribed pharmaceutical solutions, such as diazepam, which is a well-known drug for sleep and anxiety that can be highly addictive. CannRx anticipates a multicenter clinical trial in mid-2020.

William Levine, D.D.S., was speaking to Laura Elizabeth Lansdowne, Senior Science Writer, Technology Networks.