The Growth of the Legal and Medical Marijuana Markets

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 Drug News J E 4

NEW YORK, August 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

The legal marijuana market in the United States is projected to grow substantially in 2016. A recent report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research projected the marijuana market in the United States to grow to $7.1 billion in 2016, which represents a 26% growth comparing to 2015. Veritas Pharma Inc. (OTC: VRTHF), Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CARA), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Terra Tech Corp. (TRTC), GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH)

The report shows that recreational marijuana alone has topped sales of $998 million in 2015, which represents growth of 184% year over year. Yet, while recreational marijuana seems to be growing in sales faster than the medical products, it is important to remember that recreational marijuana is only legal in four states - Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Medical products, on the other hand, is legal in 24 states. Additional 16 states have legalized CBD-only marijuana, which is a non-psychoactive product specifically designed for certain medical applications like treating intractable seizures in children.

As the medical marijuana becomes more mainstream and more states adopt its use, small and large companies are looking to position themselves in the sector. The medical marijuana products can be used for a very wide range of applications. Veritas Pharma Inc. (OTC: VRTHF) for example current R&D efforts are to develop the most effective cannabis strains (cultivars) specific to pain, nausea, epilepsy and PTSD, assisting the critical need for real science to support medical marijuana claims. The company's commercial mission is to patent protect its IP (cultivars/ strains) and sell or license to cancer clinics, insurance industry and pharma, targeting multi-billion dollar global markets.

Veritas Pharma Inc. (VRTHF) recently announced that Cannevert Therapeutics Ltd., the Company's exclusive partner and high-level R&D arm, has been awarded a research grant through Mitacs Inc. for research and development work related to the discovery of new cannabis strains for specific disease conditions. Veritas' CEO, Dr. Lui Francioisi stated, "this is a positive development for our investors as it directly funds Cannevert in a manner that is non-dilutive to Veritas shareholders." Mitacs is a national not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs for 15 years, with aims to support industrial and social innovation through partnership with provincial governments, federal government, academia, and industry.

Legalization of medical marijuana gave legal and financial incentive to pharmaceutical companies like Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA) and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) to explore the possibilities of cannabinoid. Cara is studying cannabinoid receptors and is developing lead molecules that selectively modulate peripheral CB receptors without targeting CNS cannabinoid receptors.  These receptor modulators will be developed as a therapeutic approach for neuropathic pain, a condition currently without effective therapies. Zynerba's product candidate CBD Gel - ZYN002 is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and is in Phase 2 clinical development for patients with refractory epilepsy.

GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH) research on cannabinoid is quite extensive. The company indicates that there are over 60 cannabinoid compounds identified to date. GW is researching a large number of cannabinoids, each of which has different effects and applications.

Another industry that has seen some new innovative practices after legalization of medical marijuana in certain states. Terra Tech Corp (TRTC) MediFarm LLC subsidiaries are focused on medical cannabis cultivation and permitting businesses throughout Nevada. The Company's wholly-owned subsidiary GrowOp Technology, specializes in controlled environment agricultural technologies.

As public perception and patient preference continues to trend positively towards the medical use of marijuana, only time will tell if society will full accept it.

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