To err is human, to rectify divine, this irony perhaps holds truer for cannabis than any other domain. After using cannabis in multiple forms for at least 10,000 years, a series of events, including spread of misinformation, anti-Mexican sentiment and fear led to the ban of nature a.k.a. cannabis. The US implemented Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, first ever law which outlawed the sale or possession of cannabis. Hysterically, between 1850 and 1937, cannabis was part of the US Pharmacopoeia and was widely used in medical practice for a wide range of indications.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win- said Gandhi and cannabis smirked from the corner. Literally, cannabis travelled this whole journey from being a regular medicine to getting banned to again getting onto the shelves of pharmacies. With the passage of time, more scientific findings made its way to the public resulting in a shift in the global view on cannabis to a more positive light and more geographies moving towards decriminalization of cannabis. Uruguay was the first country to fully legalize cannabis in 2013, followed by Canada in 2018. It took some time, however, the world understood that there’s nothing wrong with cannabis, and getting drugs from a doctor is better than procuring from a dealer. The way lawmakers try to regulate all the drugs is not utopic in nature; rather, it’s a pragmatic way to control the situation.
Nearly 70 companies are working in the domain of endocannabinoid system targeted therapeutics for a myriad of indications. Ranging from anxiety to atopic dermatitis, and cancer to cardiovascular diseases, cannabis has got you covered; at least going by the clinical trials results.
Interestingly, no big pharma has entered into this space. Putting this in another way, the big guys have become a victim of social stigma. Moreover, there are some key challenges associated with this domain, such as unfamiliar IP protection pathways, lack of standard regulatory approvals, regulatory ambiguity and rapid changes.
This new domain opens up a range of new opportunities. It implies a significant increase in revenue generation and the possibility of international expansion for established companies in the cannabis industry. It will help new companies to emerge in this sector and aid in the diversification of business of existing players operating in other sectors. Additionally, this growth will further benefit the scientific community working on cannabinoid research. Further, there would be an increased investment, which will lead to a greater understanding of the effects of cannabis and the potential therapeutic benefits of its extracts.
The unprecedented growth in global cannabis industry is driven mainly by legislative changes, decriminalizing possession or consumption and regulating the production for therapeutic purposes. At present, more than 30 nations have legalized the therapeutic use of cannabis extracts and it is estimated that at least a dozen more will follow similar path in coming years.