DELIVERY SYSTEMS AND FEELING WELL FAST

AUGUST 2019

What do your grandmother and cannabis edibles have in common? They’re both SLOW to act. In your grandmother’s case, aging is just a fact of life and we all know we’re not as quick at 77 as we are at 17. But in the case of cannabis edibles, advancements in technology have made slow-to-act edibles a thing of the past: in fact, the best technologies now allow for cannabis edibles to act about as fast as that glass of wine you may have enjoyed last night.

There’s a simple reason why alcohol typically acts so much more quickly than edible forms of cannabis – alcohol is water-soluble whereas cannabinoids are fat-soluble. Alcohol delivers in minutes for a couple of reasons, in part because it requires minimal processing in the liver before release into the bloodstream. Commonly sold cannabinoid edibles, on the other hand, require extensive processing time in the liver to be converted into a different metabolite that is easily transported and delivered by your blood vessels.

We’ve witnessed a remarkable change in our society during the past decade and most people in North America today either embrace the cannabis industry or at least accept it. But, given the multi-decade crusade against cigarette smoking, it is highly unlikely that most new cannabis consumers are going to choose to smoke it. Instead, they will vape or consume cannabis edibles. All of a sudden, we are confronted with the problem of slow-acting edibles that can lead to overconsumption and delayed effect that can grow to be much more than anticipated. Fortunately, with the advent of state-legal cannabis in the US, and federally-legal cannabis in Canada, innovation within the industry are soaring. Growing methods and plant genetics, ironically, had previously benefited from the days of illegal pot: when it was illegal, growers hid their operations in basements and had to innovate to maximize yields from small-scale operations. The law of unintended consequences reared its head and the cannabis industry learned how to extract every ounce of value it could from illegal grows.

It’s different now: growers are still innovating but at a slower pace than previously and with “unlimited” space in which to produce, the incentive to maximize yield is less powerful than the more sinister consequences of years past. Today, the most far-reaching innovations are taking place in the lab and are focused on things like radically improved methods of delivering cannabinoids more quickly to the bloodstream after oral ingestion. These human delivery methods might offer more promise for consumer satisfaction than any other development in the cannabis industry in thirty years. 

There are a variety of ways in which to deliver fat-soluble drugs like cannabinoids more quickly. Some involve chemical augmentation but that is a non-starter in food-based delivery; unlike with pharmaceuticals, consumers generally do read the ingredient label of the products they eat. No one wants to eat a cookie that contains “hydraphosphocalsodiumnitrate”…. You get the idea…

 

One of the oldest known methods by which to enhance the uptake of difficult to deliver drugs is nanotechnology. Not often known is the fact there are two broad areas of nanotech: “size reduction” or “nanoencapsulation”. Size reduction is fairly straightforward: if there is a physical method available to reduce the size of the molecules within a drug, the resulting molecules may be better able to pass through the body’s various filters and eventually arrive at their receptors, and this type of nanomanufacturing is inexpensive using generic equipment widely available in units as small as a coffee machine. 

Nanoencapsulation, on the other hand, takes engineering to an entirely different level: It uses the size reduction described above but also adds layers of specifically engineered materials designed to accomplish specific tasks. This might be as simple as protection from stomach acids and it might be as complex as integrating receptor targeting agents designed to target specific receptor sites in a particular location in the body. This type of molecular engineering can be complex and expensive to deliver which is why it is less favorable generally speaking for recreational food-based cannabis edibles. It is better suited for medical applications where treatment costs are not nearly the barrier they are in food products.

For both areas of nanotech, inorganic molecule delivery is a more controversial topic. Some evidence has been produced that suggests that inorganic materials – such as trace amounts of metals that have been reduced in particle size to nano-scale - can build up in human organs with no natural mechanism to flush them out into bodily wastes. No one really knows how much inorganic material might accumulate with long term ingestion of nano treated inorganic compounds, nor whether there are long term associated health consequences. 

 

Lexaria Bioscience Corp. has become a global leader in the delivery of cannabinoids and other drugs using a simple dehydration process that takes advantage of the body’s known preferential absorption pathways for a type of “healthy” fat known as long-chain fatty acids (LCFA).  Since Lexaria’s technology “joins” the CBD, THC or other cannabinoids to the LCFA through its patented process, the body treats cannabinoid in the same preferential way that it does LCFA. At the forefront of R&D and testing, Lexaria has run dozens of animal studies as well as subjective and objective human clinical studies proving the benefits of its technology.

In one animal test, Lexaria demonstrated delivery of as much as 1,937% more CBD into brain tissue using its DehydraTECH process combined with a generic version of size reduction nanotech as compared to a standard generic industry formulation. In another animal test, DehyraTECH delivered 717% more CBD into the bloodstream of test animals at the 15-minute mark, compared to standard generic industry CBD formulations. 

In another set of testing, DehydraTECH delivered measurable quantities of nicotine into the bloodstream of test animals in just two minutes! In fact, the technology was deemed so promising that giant Fortune-500 company Altria Group Inc. through its subsidiary Altria Ventures Inc. has licensed the technology and agreed to pay a royalty to Lexaria to use the tech to deliver nicotine in oral forms with a view to creating a more healthful oral alternative for nicotine use. In all of the tests above, the drug was administered into the animal’s stomach and then the resulting blood and brain results measured during the minutes following. 

 

As the cannabis market evolves, customers are demanding higher levels of quality and performance. Consumer products companies know that the consumer experience is the #1 driver of long-term success: it is the repeat customer who drives corporate success through brand loyalty. And loyalty has to be earned. 

Giving consumers what they want and expect is a good way to gain their trust and loyalty. Today, with the cannabis marketplace expanding seemingly every day, consumers now know that waiting an hour for edibles to take effect is no longer acceptable. Now that there is a choice, consumers are choosing consistent and rapid effects. Even your grandmother would approve!

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