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Mergers Could Signal Big Year for Pharmaceutical Cannabis

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Pharmaceutical cannabis has been legal in many US states since the late 90s and early 00s. However, when recreational adult-use cannabis started to achieve legality across the nation, it seemed to push medical marijuana to the back burner, with many believing that the legalization of recreational cannabis would cause pharmaceutical cannabis to become obsolete.

But if we’ve learned anything from the numerous mergers that have happened around the world in the last few years, it’s that not only is the medical marijuana industry not obsolete, but it’s starting to make quite the comeback.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Though there have been quite a few mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical cannabis industry over the past few years, the largest ones came in 2021. 

When the United Nations passed a vote to reclassify marijuana in 2020, it opened the door for medical marijuana to enter the global stage. 

According to MJBizDaily, some of the most notable mergers and acquisitions in the medical marijuana space in the last two years include:

  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired GW Pharmaceuticals for $7.2 billion
  • Pfizer acquired Arena Pharmaceuticals for $6.7 billion
  • Germany’s Dermapharm Holding SE acquired C3, Canopy Growth’s cannabinoid subsidiary, for $16 million CAD
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals doing a distribution deal with Cannbit-Tikun Olam from Israel

One of the best things that will come out of pharmaceutical cannabis entering the international space and causing these mergers and acquisitions to happen is that it will lead to a massive increase in research into and development of medical marijuana.

Current And Future Research Into Pharmaceutical Cannabis

There has been a lot of research over the last decades into the potential medical uses for cannabis, and this research is only slated to snowball with the onslaught of new mergers and acquisitions of medical marijuana companies around the world.

As it stands, doctors cannot “prescribe” medical marijuana to patients, however, they can “recommend” it, which is almost, but not exactly the same thing. In California, currently, doctors can recommend pharmaceutical cannabis for treatment or relief from such things as, “cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief,” according to Proposition 215.

Research into the uses of medical marijuana and CBD is ongoing, says Dr. Jennifer Cassarella for WebMD, in the following areas:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Appetite Loss
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diseases that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and MS
  • Anorexia and other eating disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Mental health disorders like Schizophrenia and PTSD
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)

[Related Reading: Veterans Get an Update From the VA Concerning Medical Cannabis]

Further research into its uses is much needed, however, it’s important to note that some reality-based skepticism is healthy in this space. One hopes that these companies conducting research and development will be using their findings to further the greater good rather than just making decisions based on profits. However, as with many companies in a capitalistic society, there are bound to be those whose decisions come from a place backed by the almighty dollar, rather than philanthropy. 

It will be an interesting thing to keep an eye out for in the future of pharmaceutical cannabis research and development, at the very least. 

Great strides have been made in the pharmaceutical cannabis industry, and with news coming out on a regular basis of mergers and acquisitions, it’s safe to say that the medical cannabis space is the one to watch in the coming years. 

Medical marijuana is an exciting industry in regards to the ways it can give some much-needed relief to a lot of people. And it’s one that’s only going to continue to grow and improve as time passes and more research is done. 

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