Add another class of compounds to the cannabis entourage – and another opportunity to profit…
Cannabis is loosening the grip of opioids on Americans.
The compounds found in the plant are proving effective pain remedies for soldiers returning from war, athletes recovering from injuries, and people looking to reduce the pain of their daily routines.
And, the results are powerful.
One study found that deaths from opioid overdose initially fell by 25% in states that legalized cannabis for medical use. Over time, opioid-related deaths continued to fall.
Another study found opioid prescriptions fell in states with legalized cannabis, whether medical-only states or full adult-use. That means fewer chances for opioid addiction to take hold.
As the grip opioids have on individuals – and entire communities – continues to loosen, science is discovering even more about the many different compounds in cannabis responsible for its ability to treat pain.
Cannabinoids form one class of these compounds; terpenes form another. But two molecules of a third class of compounds produced by the cannabis plant have proven to be 30x more effective at managing pain than aspirin.
A New Class of Powerful Compounds
I’ve written a lot about the classes of beneficial compounds produced by the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are two of those classes, and they work together to create the much-talked about Entourage Effect. But there is a third class, flavonoids, that also contributes to the Entourage Effect.
All plants produce flavonoids, and they are abundant in the human diet. Blueberries, dark chocolate, and red wine are rich in flavonoids.
Flavonoids are water-soluble, so they don’t get broken down by the liver. They pass straight through to the bloodstream and go to work in the body.
The medical benefits of flavonoids include fighting viral infections, working against cancer cells, reducing inflammation, and alleviating allergies.
Flavonoids found in the cannabis plant also contribute to the aroma of cannabis. And two flavonoid molecules produced only by the cannabis plant are drawing a lot of attention from pharmaceutical researchers.
Moving Forward on Decades-Old Research
Nearly 25 years ago, researchers discovered two flavonoids produced by the cannabis plant: cannflavin A and cannflavin B.
Research at the time verified that these compounds were, gram-for-gram, 30 times more effective at reducing inflammation than aspirin.
And they work differently than opioids in managing pain.
Opioids – like hydrocodone, codeine, and fentanyl – work by blocking the brain’s pain receptors. They do nothing to treat the cause of the pain in the first place. Cannflavins go straight to the source of the pain – inflammation.
A drug derived from cannflavin B has also shown effectiveness in killing pancreatic cancer cells when administered in conjunction with radiation treatment.
However, given cannabis’ illegal status, progress on researching these compounds did not move forward for years. Also, cannflavin A and B are only produced in small amounts by the plant.
But researchers from the University of Guelph have discovered how to produce the molecule in large quantities, and one company now has the patent on the process.
Making the Scarce Abundant
The researchers studied the cannabis genome and found the pathways responsible for making the cannflavins. This discovery allowed them to take those genes and use them to modify microorganisms and manufacture these compounds in abundance through biosynthesis.
Anahit International, a private, Toronto-based company, has licensed a patent from the University of Guelph that covers the process and will work on scaling up the technology.
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By licensing the technology, Anahit joins a quickly growing list of private companies looking to bring biosynthesized cannabinoids and other cannabis molecules to the public. There are a few publicly traded companies involved, and you can learn more about them by accessing the “Vault.”
CBD is gaining the lion’s share of the attention, but biosynthesis makes producing all of the trace cannabinoids economical, and creating a market for them will soon be profitable for the companies that get there first.
And now, thanks to this research, you can add the potential for other powerful compounds to provide beneficial treatment to the list.
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors
P.S. We mentioned CBD briefly in the article, but it’s important to note the impact this molecule is having as well. Evidence shows that CBD can treat some of the most severe epilepsy disorders that affect children – disorders that most anti-seizure medications can’t even touch. And not only is there an upside for the medical community, but there’s a reason we’re calling it the Year of CBD for investors, too. In fact, these two supercharged CBD companies are currently trading for under $4 a share…
16 responses to “One More Weapon in the Cannabis Anti-Opioid Arsenal”
August 27 2019