Big Pharma will Most Likely Dominate Medical Cannabis in the Future
A few years ago I did a “reefer prediction” that stated that Pharma will most probably become the market dominators when it comes to Medical Cannabis. Looking at Patent Trends, it seems I was right. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is still up for debate.
Most people reading this article will automatically take a defensive stance and exclaim, “Pharma should NOT work with Medical Cannabis!” because of the general distrust we have in Big Pharma. This distrust isn’t unwarranted. Pharma has been inflating prices and created a regulatory system that essentially gives them a monopoly on our medicines.
The average Joe or Jane can’t extract compounds from a plant and sell it as medicine unless it goes through trials that can cost high up in the millions of dollars. Some medicine requires roughly 20-years of analysis prior to hitting the marketplace.
Clinical trials, regulatory hurdles, access to “restricted substances” all pose a challenge for the average person to break into the medicine game.
Yet, despite the fact that we are barred from making and selling medicine, people have been growing their medicine at home in the form of cannabis.
Cannabis can poach an estimated $ 4B USD from Big Pharma because many patients are substituting their medicine with cannabis. This obviously isn’t sitting with the big wigs who’d love to maintain their market dominance.
Big Pharma Responds
It was a pipe-dream to think that Big Pharma would remain hands off when it comes to cannabis. IF they are bleeding money because this little plant is providing them low-cost competition, it’s only a matter of time until they decide to “get in on the action”.
There are currently almost 400 active and completed clinical trials on CBD alone. We haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to other phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and so forth. Cannabis has a wealth of compounds in it, all of them with some sort of medical element to it.
The way Pharma makes money is by isolating these compounds and using it in specific medicines. This way they can dosify the compound and sell it in a pill or tablet.
The only thing that has kept pharma at bay was the fact that cannabis was illegal in most parts of the world. Over the past decade, these trends have changed. More than ever before, there is a staggering support for medical cannabis. Certain countries and states have legalized marijuana not only for medicinal purposes but also recreationally.
With relaxed laws, Pharma is getting ready to sink their clutches into the cannabis.
Will this be a good thing or a bad thing?
While I despise the concept of “big pharma”, I do see some inherent value in having multi-billion-dollar research facilities take a swing at cannabis. One of the things that we would immediately acknowledge if we allow Big Pharma to partake with the cannabis revolution is – IT IS MEDICINE!
If Pharma is making medicine from cannabis, then there is irrefutable evidence that it is a beneficial plant. This in turn would shed light in the dark corners of our drug policies. Which other natural plants can provide us with more effective medicine?
Additionally, Pharma would have the ability to truly hone down on the medicinal effects of individual compounds. They would be able to make dose-consistent cannabis-based medicine that in all likeliness would help for a wide array of conditions.
In essence, they would be competing with their “toxic drugs” with their “natural drugs”. People would be provided an option which is always a good thing.
On the downside, if we couldn’t trust Big Pharma with meds, how can we trust them with cannabis? Pharma has already created synthetic cannabis drugs such as Marinol and Dronabinol, drugs which have caused fatal overdoses in the past. Not many, but considering that cannabis in its natural state has caused zero deaths, this is worrisome.
Nonetheless, whether we want it or not, the reality of the situation is that there is virtually nothing we can do to stop Pharma from breaking into the weed market. Furthermore, a large number of consumers (especially those who don’t take cannabis in its natural form) might be more inclined to consume “medicine” made by big pharma.
Not to mention that they would probably leverage Medicaid funds to sustain their revenue streams.
While people will still be able to make their own medicine from cannabis in the future, the fact of the matter is that medical cannabis will most probably be dominated by Big Pharma. As consumers, this will provide us with more options and in all likeliness generate a wealth of diverse “cannabis-based drugs”.
The “Cannaceutical” revolution is upon us. The moment the red-tape is completely removed from cannabis, Pharma will go forth with everything they have.