Veritas Pharma Inc. (OTC: VRTHF) (CSE: VRT), (“Veritas” or the “Company”) announces its research arm, Cannevert Therapeutics Ltd. (“CTL”) filed a provisional patent application to US Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) on September 13, 2017 for use of a specific cannabis strain to enhance the actions of opioid analgesics. An acknowledgement letter from the USPTO was received recently which provided a filing number of US 62/558,021 for this application.
Opioids are substances that are derived from the opium poppy plant. They bind to the human body’s own opioid receptors to provide pain relief or ‘analgesia’ for patients with acute or chronic pain when prescribed legally; morphine is an example opioid analgesic. Use of these drugs for a brief time is considered safe for pain management. However, when they are overprescribed and/or frequently misused, they produce a sense of euphoria along with relieving pain. Hence, drug dependence can occur despite using them as prescribed over prolonged periods with the potential of fatal overdose. Opioid overdose contributed to more than 33,000 deaths in 2015 according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heroin and fentanyl are the most widely known opioids for their illegal, recreational use, abuse potential and fatal overdoses. Cannabis contains substances called cannabinoids that appear to bind to human body’s own cannabinoid receptors to also produce similar effects to those of the body’s opioids in mediating analgesia and behavioral effects. However, they do not have the same drug dependence or overdose potential. When cannabinoids and opioids are combined, they appear to augment each other’s effects synergistically. Therefore, the combination may allow for opioids to be used at lower doses with fewer side effects for the treatment of pain and related addiction. According Coherent Market Insights*, the global opioids market was approximately USD $17b in 2015 and is forecasted to moderately increase to near USD $26b in 2024. It indicates that legal cannabis is expected to impact the opioids market growth as it gets adopted as a safe alternative pain relieving therapy to opioids and it is increasingly being used to address related addiction. According to the World Drug Report 2016, approximately 17 million people suffered from opioid drug abuse.
Veritas CEO, Dr. Lui Franciosi stated, “We are pleased with Cannevert’s latest submission to protect its discovery of a cannabis strain that could potentially reduce the dose and side effects of clinically used opioids while maintaining a good pain relieving effect for patients.” Dr. Franciosi goes on to say, “This strain could be also potentially useful in addressing the current fentanyl crisis throughout North America. If we’re targeting pain or opioid addiction, we want to deliver a scientifically tested, standardized product that clinicians can rely upon.”
Also of note, Veritas Pharma has granted options to purchase 1.1 million shares to consultants of the Company under the stock option plan at an exercise price of 81 cents for a period of one year from the date of being granted.
*Global Opioids Agonist Drugs Market, By Product Type (Codeine, Fentanyl, Meperidine, Methadone, Morphine, Hydrocodone), Therapeutic Application (Pain Management, Cough Treatment, Diarrhea Treatment), and Geography – Trends, Analysis and Forecast till 2024 (Market Report – March 2017)
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