Friday, April 14, 2017

Big Data And The Cannabis Industry


-by Prateek Dwivedi

The legalization of medical marijuana in Canada, jurisdictions within the U.S., and abroad has returned a once-taboo, illegal recreational product back to its role as a medicinal agent, which can be traced back to ancient China. While the current market is generally delineated as “Recreational” or “Medicinal” users, in many jurisdictions and use cases, medical cannabis is an access point for the recreational user.

In Canada, where cannabis is legal on a nationwide basis, only 5% of clinicians prescribe its use for patients. Among the factors that would give pause to the remaining 95% of clinicians is a dearth of actionable data, evidence-based guidelines and training in prescribing practices. In general, clinicians require the same degree of comfort in prescribing medical cannabis as they would a traditional pharmaceutical, perhaps moreso due to the stigma that persists in light of legalization.

Regarding the relief of medical conditions, cannabis does appear to have many parallels with incumbent pharmaceutical products and may have the necessary therapeutic effect that clinicians and patients are seeking. However, the support necessary to make an educated therapeutic prescription is lacking. To do so, clinicians need a basis of data consistent with what they are accustomed to with traditional pharmaceuticals. The delineation of products for the relief of symptoms or illnesses is directly related to the following factors:
Risk of adverse effects
Specificity of use
Dosage control
As such, for traditional pharmaceuticals, significant R&D and data has been gathered to determine the impact of these factors, the costs and benefits of which have a direct effect on the underlying pricing and profit margins for prescription drugs. Due to long-standing recreational use of cannabis, the apparent mitigation of risk has been a significant factor in the ascent of medical marijuana– providing affordable relief at reasonable costs to the patient. For clinicians, however, specificity of use and dosage control are equally important.

Clinicians prescribe drugs to their patients based on the diagnosis of illness and are trained to weigh the alternative options of prescription on a basis of evidence and disclosure. The National Academy of Sciences January 2017 paper, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, went on to conclude that “cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks” and that there is a need for significant additional research data to be acquired to “a) address research gaps b) improve research quality c) improve surveillance capacity d) address research barriers.”

Once specificity, side effects and dosage control are determined, clinicians will be able to decide if medical cannabis is the right treatment for their patients. Medical cannabis producers are realizing that as the recreational market gains support legislatively, there is a need for differentiation to retain market share and profitability. Identifying strains and concentrations that have therapeutic effects of significance, obtaining relevant high quality data, and presenting conclusions in a clinically consistent capacity to pharmaceutical products are the critical success factors that need to be addressed by the medical cannabis industry.

Prateek Dwivedi is the CEO of Ehave, a data-driven medical innovation company empowering the mental healthcare community with a next-generation of data-rich tools designed to improve patient management, diagnosis, and treatment.



At 10:43 AM, Blogger Nastarana said...

Clearly, pharmaceutical companies are not going to fund research into the medical uses of cannabis if they cannot hope to patent the resulting products.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger JamesE Lutz said...

I believe the content matter here is rattling magnificent. I genuinely enjoyed reading this article. Thank you!medical marijuana doctors.


Post a Comment

<< Home