Convey large pharma know-how to hashish

The key to developing effective medical and wellness products for cannabis users is understanding what patients want and expect – and what the ever-growing universe of herbal medicines can do.

When it comes to patients who prefer flowers – and to a lesser extent concentrates and vapes – it is assumed that different batches have different potencies. Because of this, patients monitor their consumption based on the effect they are feeling, rather than the amount of THC they have consumed.

“Flower doesn’t require a lot of product development. It’s more about different strains and how people react to them, ”said Chris Diorio, director of research and development at PharmaCann in Illinois, a multistate operator he joined in 2017 after more than 20 years of drug development at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer .

However, there is no room for variability in products like pills, capsules, and foods.

“The intent is to design and formulate products that look like medicine and work like medicine. That means precise dosing, repeatability, consistency from dose to dose, consistency of the contents of a capsule or tablet from the start of the batch to the end of the batch, ”said Diorio.

Another question that PharmaCann scientists ask themselves when developing medically minded products is: Which products bring added value to patients?

Consider edible. Most edible products have start times between 45 minutes and two hours, a variability that is too great for many people used to drugs like aspirin that work within 30 minutes or less. Duration is also unpredictable, while the bioavailability of cannabinoids given off through food is far less than that given off by combustion, Diorio said.

To address these shortcomings, Diorio developed capsules using a technology imported from Pfizer: a self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS).

According to Diorio, scientists take highly fat-soluble or lipophilic compounds that are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry but are no different from cannabis oil and formulate them to be absorbed in the stomach when consumed, Diorio said. The process offers patients a faster onset, higher bioavailability, and longer duration, he added.

“Product development is about what the real value is,” said Diorio. “These more sophisticated shapes are identical in every way to the product types I developed while at Pfizer. They are shaped very similarly. “

He added, “With these technologies, we are not trying to eradicate the beauty of this plant, but rather to incorporate all of this plant’s benefits into a product that may seem more medicinal to those who may have been afraid of cannabis.”

On the perks for marijuana companies, these products are easy to scale and mass-produce with consistency.

“Patients know exactly what to expect when they consume it. And you can make these types of products on a very large scale and at a lower cost because the existing technology for filling capsules and compressed tablets is well established, ”said Diorio. “You can cut costs for the patient.”

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