Cannabis for therapeutic use

19 February 2019

The importance of standardisation and the Therahemp model

Of late, there has been an ongoing reassessment of cannabis and the natural cannabinoids for medical purposes. The mainstream perception, which initially formed in the 1970s, that cannabis was a drug of abuse and harmful to health, was upended in November 2017 when, at the 39th ECCD Conference, the World Health Organization declared one of its main components, the non-psychotropic cannabidiol, safe to use.

Possible applications abound: from stimulating the appetite for treating weight loss in anorexia and AIDS, to the benefits observed in cancer-related treatment, like reductions in nausea and weakness, to synergistic action in the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, like Dravet syndrome.

Market response to the rediscovery of cannabis

Clearly, the market has responded favourably to this change. Manufacturing multiplied, as did discussions on the topic, both online and off. This movement reflects a widespread, across-the-board interest in cannabis that easily and firmly takes root in the popular imagination, amplifying this trend exponentially.

While equipped with efficient methods of preparation, the businesses launched in recent years often lack a solid background and expertise in the processes involved (from cultivation to extraction and manufacturing).

The result is the marketing of products very different from one another - in terms of raw materials utilised, methods of preparing extracts, and even in percentage of cannabinoid content. These significantly different features make also it impossible to compare clinical, which are the only way to obtain a solid panel of usable data that can be compared, with the aim of creating valid treatment pathways.

The importance of standardisation and GMP

If there are to be more studies in medical literature, therefore, standardised treatment options must be available. Indeed, the use of a standardised extract would make it possible to produce, through a drug clinical trial, a real, unequivocal efficacy profile of a particular extract.

To bring the situation into uniformity, we would like to see a monograph of pharmacopoeia. In the meantime, it is crucial that standardised extracts be used and that GACP and GMP be followed as the only guidelines. Specifically, the plants must come from certified grows and harvests and the entire growing process, harvest and drying must adhere to GACP (Good Agricultural and Collecting Practice), while the production process and quality control must observe GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice).

GMP is absolutely necessary in developing a drug clinical trial.

The required phases for marketing a drug call for an initial safety test (Phase I) and a subsequent efficacy analysis (Phases II and III), with assessments based on GCP (Good Clinical Practice).

Why? Simply put: standardisation that follows the regulation processes for the production of drugs calls for a great deal of experience, a designed structure and various levels of competency in manufacturing, quality, analysis and research.

A standardised product guarantees the precise amount of active ingredient contained, and its expected and relative efficacy, as well as the absence of prohibited or harmful substances. Along these lines, numerous FDA recalls were announced (see, for example, JAMA study,Marcel O. Bonn-Miller et alii. JAMA 2017;318(17):1708-17099), based on reports of contaminated lots that caused serious side effects, as in the cases observed in a UC Davis Study (Thompson GR, Tuscano JM et alii. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2017; 23(4):269-270).

The Therahemp Experience

With the aim of widespread application of specific standardisation criteria, we would like to introduce Linnea & Crystal Hemp as excellences capable of setting new standards in this area.

Engaged for more than 35 years in the extraction of herbs and medicinal plants, Linnea systematically applies pharmaceutical standards to the production of botanical and plant-derived extracts, setting itself apart in terms of transparency and quality. We want hemp to be therapeutic and perceived as such by the medical community and the public at large, in order that this completely natural plant fall within the array of possible medicines considered for various clinical cases.

The goal? To provide people with a totally safe and healthful therapeutic product.

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