Getting Onboard with the Coming Cannabinoid Caravan

By William Sumner, Hemp Content Manager, New Frontier Data

Though popular demand for cannabidiol (CBD) proceeds apace, there will necessarily come a point of market saturation. Among those producers and marketers already seeking to carve their niche for the Next Big Thing, they expect to find that among the expanding potential to be derived from more than 10 dozen minor cannabinoids.

In the final segment of New Frontier Data’s free three-part cannabinoid webinar series, Chief Knowledge Officer John Kagia discussed “The Future of Minor Cannabinoids Beyond CBD” with Dr. Jonathan Vaught, co-founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences, and Stephen Groff, founder of Groff North America.

The program began with breaking news that Groff North America had been approved by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as an authorized Schedule I researcher permitted to conduct trials on the antimicrobial properties of cannabis. Given the established regulatory obstacles associated with obtaining U.S. federal approval for cannabis-related research, the news was welcomed as a major milestone by both the legal cannabis industry and research communities.

“I think this represents at least the first crack in what has been a major dam to advancing U.S.-based cannabis research,” Kagia noted.

As with the CBD marketing craze, it is believed that minor cannabinoids hold the potential to address any number of chronic medical conditions ranging from anxiety and nausea to joint inflammation or some types of cancer. Groff took care to note that some evidence exists at least anecdotally to support such claims, it remains too soon and the research too preliminary to confirm which and to what degrees that minor cannabinoids provide treatment or relief to medical patients.

“We’re developing a pretty strong understanding of the biochemical pathways [minor cannabinoids] but it is still very early — not only on the clinical side, but also on the plant side as well,” Vaught added.

The panelists’ conversation turned toward the regulatory status of minor cannabinoids, and the challenges which researchers face in advancing cannabinoid science. According to Groff, barriers remain toward gaining regulatory approval to clinically study or produce consumer-facing products.

While Groff insists that “we see significant opportunity here, the challenge to get anything approved at the FDA level is that it takes 11-15 years and millions of dollars. That’s a long pipeline and a very expensive one.”

Echoing Groff’s sentiment, Vaught added that it is incumbent on entrepreneurs and researchers to help bring the cannabinoid market out of the legally gray shadows by generating the research and safety data themselves.

“No one likes rules,” Vaught said. “But the reality is we still have to follow the rules that came before us.”

Click here for the full recorded conversation.