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Pharma’s Next Venture: Marijuana

What sets medical marijuana apart from the pharmaceutical industry?  For one, they are not regulated the same, they are not certified the same, and although both are used for medical purposes, they are worlds apart as far as everything else goes.

This could soon change as a startup is set to create lab-grown compounds in a setting that will allow it to be taken seriously in its medicinal capacity.

Gingko Bioworks is some time away from presenting their findings, but they have just struck a $122M deal with a Canadian lab that will allow them to test and experiment with marijuana’s DNA in order to capitalize on the health benefits associated with its consumption.

Progressive medications have had minor successes in areas where “relief” is concerned.  Earlier this year, the FDA approved a CBD-based drug to treat epileptic episodes.  Other approved drugs were not standalone medications but also used to treat the side-effects of other treatments such as chemotherapy and AIDS medications.

The idea of studying marijuana in a lab as opposed to a farm means that accurate data can be presented to the FDA when the time comes for approval of more CBD-based medications.

Although the current House has their reservations towards marijuana, ongoing studies keep pointing towards positive outcomes for those using it.  Overall, states who have legalized marijuana have seen major decreases in opioid overdose; contributing to the fight against the current opioid crisis that has swept the nation over the past 10 years.   When mental health issue cases are factored in, states with legalization saw a drop in the use of antidepressants and anxiety medications.  Once again, marijuana was not the prescribed source medication, but rather used as a supplement to other drugs.

Finally, recent studies performed by the University of Colorado Boulder reported results that compared recreational effects of both marijuana and alcohol use. Although both outlets can be used in minimal and dangerous amounts, the studies showed that in the end – alcohol (not used for any medication but legal in all states) is more permanently damaging to the brain than marijuana use.


Business Insider – A startup with ties to Bayer has inked a $122 million deal to make lab-grown marijuana – and it’s eyeing the pharma industry

Healthcare In America – 5 Ways Medical Marijuana is Disrupting Healthcare (And Why That’s A Good Thing)

National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope or marijuana use in the United States?