The cannabis boom is causing a mixed reaction in the pharmaceutical industry. Some big pharma corporations are not thriving with patients ditching traditional medications for different cannabis products such as CBD and THC. A few companies are moving towards working with the medicinal plant, and several businesses are part of the success the cannabis pharmaceutical industry is experiencing.
The Pharmaceutical Industry’s History with Cannabis
The industry’s history with the plant began before cannabis prohibition when physicians regularly prescribed cannabis mixtures for patients and the patients would go to their local pharmacy to mix up a batch to “cure their ills.”
Common conditions were for general pain, headaches, menstrual pain, and stomach issues.
How do researchers know about these medications? Medical journals and sales catalogs from the early 1900s show companies such as Squibb (Bristol-Myers) listing several cannabis products.
A Growing Number of Big Pharma Cannabis Companies
Along with the long-standing players in cannabinoid medicine, such as GW Pharmaceuticals, there are an increasing number of businesses have entered the field. Some are based in the U.S., and many are in Canada.
According to an article by Cannabis, Science, Tech and Technology Magazine, “Seven of Canada’s top 10 cannabis patent holders are major multi-national pharmaceutical companies.”
The same article examined patent holders in the U.S. as well and found the number of cannabis patent holders include several pharmaceutical companies, three U.S. Universities, the U.S. Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health.
Are Traditional Pharmaceutical Companies Accepting Cannabis?
In December 2018, the Canadian company Sandoz, a subsidy of Novartis, became possibly the first traditional pharmaceutical companies to sign an agreement to sell Tilray’s non-smokable, noncombustible medical cannabis products in countries where the plant is legal.
Industry experts see this deal as the start of the two sectors testing the market and a prelude to larger collaborations in the future and the potential for more growth in the cannabis pharmaceutical industry.
Precision Dosing and the Future of Cannabis and Big Pharma
One way the industry is normalizing cannabis medicine is through more traditional dosing methods. Capsules with oil extracts allow medical professionals to recommend specific doses for their patients.
Another precision delivery is a Smart inhaler that delivers a specific dose and pairs with your phone to measure pain and dosages. A company in Israel recently announced a similar product that allows doctors to set specific doses.
The future of the cannabis pharmaceutical industry looks promising for businesses and patients. Medical cannabis is moving towards a more science-based, traditional dosing methods as the two industries blend. These changes will require more advances in medicinal cannabis cultivation and to improve quality, quantity, and variety.