Looking through the Telescope onto the Horizon: InMed Pharmaceuticals
Nearly every week, there is another cannabis-themed headline such as “New Study Says 97% of Elderly Patients Say Cannabis Makes Them Feel Better, Decrease Prescription Meds”.  While multitudes of people are turning to cannabis to treat everything from anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, or other all-to-common ailments like pain, there are sufferers of conditions so debilitating, that they are in need of anything that works. Available treatments may include a litany of prescription drugs, often with deleterious side effects of their own, which might help one problem, while creating another. And while scores of people will tout that indicas will help you sleep, or that sativas will help you energize, who’s out there looking farther onto the horizon, and deeper into cannabis’s full potential using proven science through pharmaceutical-grade R&D efforts
InMed Pharmaceuticals represents one company in search of something deeper and certainly more impactful than what will or will not give you couch-lock. Rather, InMed strives to mine the most out of cannabinoid-based therapeutics without actually having to cultivate anything. And they are creating novel cannabinoid formulations meant to treat extremely painful, incapacitating medical conditions.
I spoke with Eric A. Adams, the Chief Executive Officer of InMed Pharmaceuticals, a bio-pharmaceutical company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The four-year old company specializes in generating therapeutic products designed from cannabinoids. That’s not to say the company is actively growing cannabis plants, however. “We don’t work with the plant,” Adams explained. “And there’s no THC in any of our products. We believe that there are more active cannabinoids than THC in the cannabis plant.”
And this is exactly why InMed cannot simply grow cannabis. Since they are not working with THC, the levels of the cannabinoids they seek are just too low in the natural plant. So, InMed prepares their formulations from biosynthesized cannabinoid compounds. Thus, they are developing a technology to make all the cannabinoids they need at a fairly low cost. “We never need to grow a single plant. Essentially, we’re borrowing from other medical areas, such as insulin production,” Adams explained. To do this, the genes for cannabinoid production are inserted into Escherichia coli, a bacterium which in turn produces the cannabinoid of interest. This is a similar process to inserting the gene into yeast; however, InMed has found it more cost effective to use the bacteria.
InMed, to date, has been a company that has thrived in creating topical cannabinoid formulations. Like other companies, capitalizing on the increasingly lessened restrictions on cannabis R&D, InMed has been focused on designing products meant to go through governmental organizations like the US Food and Drug Administration, or HealthCanada. “We’ve been preparing products containing two cannabinoids. We’ve also been evaluating different mechanisms of action, and are looking at a host of other receptors throughout the body,” Adams added.