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Medicinal

Pioneering medical cannabis university course in Berlin celebrates end of first year

Sean Seddon

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A Berlin university is offering a pioneering medical cannabis course

The first class on a pioneering university medical cannabis course have concluded their first year of studies.

The research programme at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin examines the medical and nutritional uses of cannabis, production and the legal and economic frameworks of the business.

It’s the latest sign that medical cannabis is becoming a part of the mainstream education offering and a positive indication that new industry leaders will emerge in the coming years.

Fifteen students dedicated their year to the technical course, which is still one of very few like it in Europe.

The course was supported by German medical cannabis firm Aurora Europe. Its president Dr Axel Gille said: “We were amazed by the results and the commitment of the scholars.

“They have shown in many ways how one can take a more differentiated view of medical cannabis and how many open questions can still be exposed and researched.

The Berlin university has followed the lead of several US colleges

“I am confident that the still prevalent stigma and prejudices surrounding medical cannabis will be overcome by collaborating with young scientists and leading scientific institutions.”

As the medical cannabis industry continues to grow, education institutions are increasingly looking to cash in and attract bright young minds targeting a career in the sector.

The University of Maryland in Baltimore became the first US college to offer a masters degree in medical science cannabis and therapeutics in 2019. Several others have followed suit.

Professor Christian Ulrichs, scientific head of the class, praised the students and said some would go on to continue research in the field.

He said: “I was particularly impressed by the determination of the students who went to great lengths even in the difficult times of the pandemic.

“Personally I am very please about these young, talented students who have started their doctorate here but also at other institutions following this class.

“Some are furthering their research on medical cannabis which is a testament to the success of this programme.

“New research questions have developed out of this themed class which the scientific team will now research with scientific and commercial partners in Germany but also in countries such as Brazil and Mexico.”

Sean Seddon is the editor of Cannabis Wealth / Got a story? Email sean@handwmedia.co.uk / Follow him on Twitter: @seddonnews

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Medicinal

MGC Pharmaceuticals cannabis epilepsy treatment now free to Irish patients

The company’s experimental treatment for severe epilepsy will be covered by the health service.

Sean Seddon

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MGC Pharmaceuticals has scored a major win as the Irish government confirms its epilepsy treatment will be covered by the country’s health service.

CannEpil, an experimental drug derived from cannabis, is a high CBD, low THC treatment for drug resistant epilepsy.

Ireland has had a limited medical cannabis programme since 2019 but took the significant step in January of this year of incorporating into the national the health service (the HSE).

Today’s announcement means patients who are prescribed the MGC Pharmaceuticals treatment will have the cost fully covered by the health service.

Treatment-resistant – or refractory – epilepsy affects approximately 33% of adults and 20-25% of children already suffering from epilepsy.

In Ireland, around nine out of 1,000 people over the age of 5 have a form of epilepsy, meaning an estimated 37,000 people nationally.

Roby Zomer, Co-founder and Managing Director of MGC Pharma, said: “This is a key moment for MGC Pharma and for the Irish patients who can now receive cannabis-based treatments covered by the National Health Insurance.

“Furthermore, this is a critical moment in the roll out of CannEpil both in Ireland and worldwide.

“Our goal is to improve the lives of people who suffer with refractory epilepsy and other indications, and by making CannEpil available free to access for patients in Ireland, this will now be the case.

“Combined with record monthly sales in May for our leading phytocannabinoid derived medicines, the company continues to deliver on its goal of building a strong and sustainable global bio-pharma business.

“With further clinical trials of CannEpil under way, we hope to be able increase the supply and availability of the medicine in the most affordable way to epilepsy sufferers globally in the near future.”

CannEpil is already being prescribed in Australia and the UK in the treatment epilepsy.

The news from Ireland will bolster the positive financial mood music around the company after May saw it’s best monthly revenue to date (more than A$360,000) for its medical cannabis programme.

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Medicinal

New data shines a light on how patients use medical cannabis for pain

Patient data shows how thousands are ditching opioids in favour of cannabis to treat pain conditions.

Sean Seddon

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An industry survey has shed light on how patients use medical cannabis to treat pain conditions.

The report looked at data reported by more than 41,000 patients self-reported over a period of three years.

The findings, uncovered by Canadian research firm Ryah Medtech, reveal general chronic pain is by far and away the most common pain condition disclosed by users.

The condition was followed by headaches, migraines, and inflammation as the primary drivers of patients towards medical cannabis.

According to the findings, men typically treat pain conditions with medical cannabis more than women, especially for headaches and migraines.

For patients treating arthritis, headaches, migraines, and inflammatory pain, CBD-rich strains were most preferred.

Treatment for pain conditions is a huge commercial opportunity for the cannabis market as patients and policymakers look to move away from addictive opioids.

The global opioid market was valued at $25bn dollars in 2018 and medical cannabis companies are increasingly looking to carve out a slice of that market.

Ryah Medtech is involved in a five year study based in the UK into a dry herb inhaler it has developed for medical cannabis patients.

Gregory Wagner, CEO of RYAH, said: “The Ryah data report on cannabis use for pain management comes at a turning point as studies on alternatives to opioids in treatment and potential efficacy of chronic pain start to accelerate.

“The opioid crisis, which began with initially good intentions to more effectively treat pain, created a flood of opioids being prescribed, up from an estimated 70 million prescriptions in the 1990s to more than 255 million by 2012.

“RYAH is committed to providing the tools needed to effectively monitor and measure dosing in plant-based medicine treatments and to providing data analytics in order for the industry to make more informed decisions around alternative treatments to opioids.”

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Medicinal

Isle of Man opens for business to the medical cannabis industry

The island wants to become a cannabis export base close to the UK’s shores.

Sean Seddon

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The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3m a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

The island’s regulator – the Gambling Supervision Commission – has set out conditions for the licensing of high-THC cannabis and hemp.

Enterprise minister Laurence Skelly said: “The growing global medicinal cannabis market provides significant opportunity for economic development in the Isle of Man, and the new regulatory framework and guidance will offer stringent and flexible licensing of a broad range of cannabis products, which ranges from outdoor grown industrial hemp to indoor grown medicinal products.

“The Isle of Man Government has every confidence that the GSC will provide a world class regulatory structure required to regulate this new and complex industry.

The Tynwald building, home to the island’s parliament

“I am delighted to welcome licence applications and look forward to attracting quality businesses to the Island, transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

The self-governing British Crown Dependency, which has a population of 83,000, approved new medical cannabis laws in January.

The island’s parliament – the Tynwald – moved to attract the industry to its shores after a public consultation showed 95% of residents were in favour of the policy.

Mark Rutherford, director of policy at the island’s regulator, said: “The GSC already has a sophisticated framework for supervising gambling.

‘We have worked carefully to apply the best of that framework to the risks in the new sector and we have educated ourselves in the technical areas that are new to us.

“What we now have will ensure that all stakeholders will be competent, crime free and capable of building a sector that is safe, trusted and efficient.

“As regulators, we aspire to put our regulatory umbrella above as many consumers as possible so that they can benefit from regulations that are well thought out and properly supervised.

“Years of prohibition mean that the markets in which our licensees will be participating are still in their infancy and still contain many uncertainties.

“To address this situation, it is our aim to ensure that consumers who purchase Isle of Man products will be able to understand exactly what their product contains through accurate labelling and independent testing.

“The GSC recognises there are many stakeholders in this newly created field and intends to extend its ethos of cooperation with other government authorities into its approach to cannabis regulation.”

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