- Edible cannabis products are absorbed slowly
- Consumers of cannabis edibles often mistake the delayed effect for insufficiency, leading to overdosing
- DehydraTECH drug-delivery platform speeds up absorption, reducing overdose risk
Sometimes what is gained on the roundabouts is lost on the swings, to paraphrase an old saying. Cannabis liberalization has introduced an entirely new sector to the food and beverage industry – namely, cannabis edibles such as cookies, chocolates and candies. It’s a sector that appears poised for growth. But as mass consumption increases, a hidden problem is emerging (http://ibn.fm/E1DSr). Because bioabsorption rates via edibles are slower than those via smoking, oral ingestion is leading to unexpected challenges. Consumers mistake the slow onset of effect of traditional cannabis edibles for not enough cannabinoid, so they increase consumption which can lead to overdosing. However, a biotech solution from Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) appears to solve this problem. The company’s DehydraTECH(TM) drug-delivery platform greatly increases the rate at which drugs like cannabis are absorbed by the body. The technology could be used to avoid overdoses before they ever begin.
Consumers have certainly developed a taste for cannabis. A recent report projects the global cannabis-edibles market will reach over $11.6 billion by 2025, climbing at a CAGR of 25 percent, from $2.4 billion in 2018 (http://ibn.fm/Yc1rF). One reason for this rapid mass adoption is the promise that oral ingestion is safer. The reality is more complicated.
A March 2019 report in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ (http://ibn.fm/W1uTf) states that edibles are being associated with “medical complications that we never knew were associated with marijuana.” Patients “who ingested the drug were more likely to suffer more severe effects, including psychiatric symptoms and heart problems,” with “18 percent of edible users suffering symptoms such as anxiety and psychosis compared with about 11 percent of cannabis smokers.”
There are three reasons why edible cannabis is very different than smoked. One is, as noted above, that edible delivery of drugs is always slower than pulmonary delivery. A second difference is that smoking has been associated with lung cancers and emphysema, whereas edibles have not. And the third difference is that traditional edibles – prior to Lexaria’s technology becoming available – deliver cannabinoids across the intestinal wall and into the liver, where it is transformed into a very different metabolite of the traditional Delta-9 that smokers are more familiar with.
The human liver metabolizes the Delta-9 and changes it to Delta-11-Hydroxy (11-OH-THC) which produces different, stronger psychoactive effects for most users. And the metabolization process takes time – usually 1 to 2 hours – which explains the long delays associated with old fashioned edibles.
Lexaria’s technology ingeniously bypasses first-pass liver metabolism, delivering more of the THC in the Delta-9 variant, the same as smoking. This is how Lexaria manages to deliver the drug more quickly and in a form more familiar to cannabis smokers.
Earlier this year, Lexaria commenced a series of animal studies that, among other things, sought to improve understanding of how edible forms of cannabinoids enter the bloodstream. The company compared its standard DehydraTECH formulation, which combines cannabinoids with long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) using its patented, dehydration-processing technique, to a concentration-matched formulation utilizing coconut oil, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil commonly used in the cannabis edibles industry. Test results showed the following (http://ibn.fm/xQYq2):
- The DehydraTECH formulation delivered measurable quantities of cannabidiol (CBD) into the blood in as little as 2 minutes.
- Lexaria’s technology delivered more CBD to the bloodstream in 15 minutes than conventional MCT oil-based control formulations achieved in 60 minutes.
- Lexaria’s DehydraTECH formulation delivers cannabinoids at industry-leading volumes and speed while effectively masking bitter flavor and aroma profiles.
Lexaria’s patented DehydraTECH LCFA formulation offers a more effective delivery mechanism than MCT oils, which are widely used by many firms making and selling cannabis edibles throughout North America. Although the studies tested only for CBD delivery, the company has every reason to believe that virtually identical results would have been achieved if THC had been the cannabinoid under examination.
Application of the technology extends beyond nicotine to non-psychoactive cannabinoids, vitamins and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as nicotine. Lexaria licenses the technology to leading cannabis edibles companies across North America.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.LexariaBioscience.com
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to LXRP are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/LXRP