Why doesn’t smoking medical marijuana make sense?Experts talk about other beneficial consumption methods

As the cannabis industry slowly grows and clears its name from decades of mystery, scientists are figuring out the many unknowns about this wonderful plant and its effects on humans.

At the same time, technological advancements have given us different forms of cannabis use, whether for medical or recreational purposes. Thanks to science, we’re also learning more about specific cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and THC and adjusting dosages.

Marijuana has come a long way from being smoked to infusing it into alcohol for treating different ailments. Benzinga wanted to know more, so we reached outSusan Casper,CEO ofLinnea,Switzerland-based manufacturer of high-quality active pharmaceutical ingredients, including cannabinoids. Lienna has been producing API for more than 40 years at its GMP-certified facility in Ticino, Switzerland. It sells to more than 70 countries and serves more than 300 businesses annually.

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Caspar, who has a degree in biology and advanced studies in business management and healthcare, led several pharmaceutical companies before joining Linnea in 2020. Under her leadership, cannabinoid products have been brought to the forefront.

Caspar told Benzinga, “I’m excited for Linnea to make a positive contribution to the growth of the medical cannabis industry, adding that Linnea’s core mission is to improve people’s quality of life.”

In addition to cannabinoids, the company’s portfolio of beneficial botanical actives includes: bilberry, ginkgo biloba, red clover, 5 HTP, HMR lignans, vinpocetine, vinblastine and butylscopolamine.

Does smoking medical marijuana make sense?

Kasper believes that smoking marijuana is not the best option when it comes to medicinal uses. That’s because both smoking and vaping pose many potential health risks, she explains, and it’s difficult to accurately determine dosage for this type of inhaled medication.

Patients must take a large dose to feel relief; the effects are relatively short-lived, making re-dosing impossible in some settings, Kasper said. The bioavailability of inhaled cannabinoids, whether smoked or vaped, varies greatly. Cannabinoids have limited bioavailability when inhaled, are difficult to standardize, and degrade when exposed to the heat required for inhalation.

Kasper explained that the company has discovered many potential medical uses for different cannabinoids in preclinical and clinical studies.

There is currently an ongoing clinical study using our CBD ingredient to treat insomnia. “We’ve also conducted preclinical studies showing the effectiveness of CBD for a variety of skin conditions,” Kasper said. For CBG, a clinical study has been conducted on its beneficial use for glaucoma, and studies are currently planned for CBG for migraines, anxiety and stress, sleep, and pain management.

The CEO added that THC is commonly used to treat pain, stimulate appetite and spasms, while CBD is used to treat epilepsy in children. She believes that the medical indications for cannabinoids alone and in combination have not been expanded through new clinical trials targeting different conditions.

Standardization and quality assurance

Linnea prides itself on standardizing the ingredients of its extracts, for example, CBD 5% always contains 5%, ensuring consistency and precise potency from batch to batch. Kasper added that before any cannabinoid ingredient is released to the market, extensive research is conducted, including long-term stability studies, to ensure high quality and reliability.

The company began developing cannabinoid APIs in 2014. Two years later, it became one of the first companies in the world to obtain a GMP certificate. Production of CBD ingredients began in 2017, and CBG ingredients began in 2014. In late 2022, Linnea received a narcotics license, allowing it to produce high-THC ingredients.

Caspar said he expects to release combination products blending CBD, CBG and THC in different proportions in early 2024. As more countries develop favorable regulations for cannabinoid use, we will continue to expand our cannabinoid business globally.

Is there cannabis in Europe?Medical care should come first

While there have been cannabis reforms across Europe in recent years, with Switzerland looking into regulated non-medical cannabis sales, Ukraine considering decriminalizing medical cannabis, Malta fully decriminalizing it and Germany getting closer to making it happen, Kasper doesn’t think so. Europe will soon have widespread legalization of cannabis.

“We think legalization is still in its mature stages right now,” Kasper said. Developing the medical cannabis market needs to be a priority in Europe, as many countries do not even have legal medical cannabis programs yet. As a first priority, we must first create a strong, tested, and widespread medical cannabis market for the many patients and potential patients who do not have access to this type of medicine, and only then can appropriate legalization be achieved.

She emphasized that before the recreational cannabis market, the focus should be on developing medical uses. As we’ve seen in the United States, for example, when the medical market is inadequate or underdeveloped, the opening of the recreational market displaces and effectively eliminates the medical market, leaving patients without access to real cannabis medicine.

Kasper said the medical cannabis market needs manufacturing companies that are reliable and diversified and have the ability to operate over the long term.

Feature photo: Courtesy of Elsa Olofsson on Unsplash

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Image Source : www.benzinga.com

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