Beyond Medical Marijuana: Investment Opportunities in Cannabis-Based Biotechs

- January 25th, 2017

From serums and masks to oral sprays and enriched waters, we’re counting down the novel ways in which some cannabis-based biotechs are entering this space.

Readers of our 2017 biotech outlook will know that cannabis-based products could have a big market impact in the years ahead. But what exactly do those products look like? We’ll give you a hint: they encompass far more than just medical marijuana.
From serums and masks to oral sprays and enriched waters, we’re counting down the novel ways in which some cannabis-based biotechs are entering this space—plus the plethora of opportunities coming available to investors.


In 2010, Sativex became the world’s first prescription medication made, in part, from cannabis. Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH, LON:GWP), this oral spray treats spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.
It’s not the only drug to be developed from cannabinoids. Dronabinol, for example, treats nausea associated with chemotherapy and also contains cannabis extracts. A large number of medications, including Valeant’s (TSX:VRX) Nabilone or Abbott’s (NYSE:ABT) Dexanabinol, contain synthetic cannabinoids—that is, chemical compounds developed to mimic the effects of cannabis.
The legalization of marijuana may drive further research and development in this area, with companies focusing on natural cannabinoids rather than synthetic ones.

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Cannabis holds cosmetic promise as well—that’s why it’s part of many skincare products newly on the market. Laguna Blends (OTC:LAGBF, TSX:LAG ), for example, just launched its Cannaceuticals CBD7 skincare line. Containing cannabidiol (CBD), a compound extracted from hemp, these products are clinically proven to reduce signs of aging.
Elsewhere, MGC Derma (ASX:MXC) develops CBD-infused products like toners, cleansers and sunscreens. Apothecanna sells sprays and creams that promise to do everything from increase your libido to improve blood circulation. And The Body Shop sells a whole line of hemp products, intended for “heavy-duty hydration.” Clearly, CBD cosmetics are having a moment.


You can drink your CBD too. A variety of companies have come out with hemp-infused beverages, ranging from coffee substitutes and sports drinks to enriched waters.
The Tinley Beverage Company (CNSX:TNY, TSX:QIA), for example, makes Hemplify, a vegan and gluten-free supplement infused with vitamins, electrolytes and, of course, hemp extract.
What’s the advantage of drinking hemp-enriched beverages? Proponents say these sorts of products offer superior hydration, as well as a number of other health benefits—like better muscle control and mental function.

Pet care

Let’s not forget Fido—cannabis-based biotechs haven’t! Take the PawsitiveFX line from Naturally Splendid (TSX:NSP). Products include balms and salves meant to soothe cracked paws and noses—and they’re all enriched with hydrating hemp seed oil.
Or there’s True Leaf Pet, a division of True Leaf Medicine (CNSX:MJ). They sell hemp-based soft chews and treats. According to the company, these treats can help dogs suffering from joint pain, or have a calming effect on an anxious, high-strung canine.
Manufacturers say that the health benefits of hemp shouldn’t belong to humans alone. And pet owners seem to agree!

In sum

So when it comes to cannabis, biotechs are investing in more than just medical marijuana. These companies are partnering with pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop new drugs, or launching cosmetic lines imbued with the healing powers of hemp. They’re making food and drinks that offer therapeutic benefits, making big waves in the nutraceutical market. And they’re doing it for humans and animals alike!
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates.
Securities Disclosure: I, Chelsea Pratt, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Naturally Splendid and Laguna Blends are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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