Tag: Tilray

How Are Canadian Patients Using Medical Cannabis?

This article is sponsored by Tilray, one of the largest and most sophisticated producers of medical cannabis in the world. Tilray is dedicated to providing safe, consistent, and reliable products to patients and furthering clinical and observational research examining the therapeutic potential of cannabis.


It seems like every day brings a new study about the ways medical cannabis can be used in healthcare. But how are patients already accessing medical cannabis, and in what form? And more importantly, how is it impacting their quality of life? A new study led by Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access for Tilray, and Leafly’s own Nick Jikomes, PhD, provides some of the first answers to these questions.

Tilray’s Philippe Lucas presents data from the company’s latest patient research. (Courtesy of Tilray)

The Tilray Patient Survey 2017 saw the company partner with academics and researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria on the largest survey of Canadian medical cannabis patients ever conducted, tracking the responses of 2,032 patients across Canada.

Patient Preferences

Medical marijuana patients who responded to the survey were a median of 40 years old, and men outnumbered women almost two to one. About one in five respondents (22%) had private insurance, but just 3% got financial assistance to help defray the cost of their medical cannabis prescription.

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Respondents were more or less evenly split between their preferences for indica (25%), sativa (22%), and hybrid strains (21%)—just ahead of users who had no preference at 17.5%. High-CBD strains were favored by just 14.5% of respondents, but CBD-heavy varieties made a strong showing among respondents who used extracts and concentrates—50% looked for a high-CBD strain in those products.

Medical Cannabis Instead Of…

Nearly 70% of users reported that they substituted medical cannabis for a previously prescribed medication. The leading substance that medical cannabis replaced? Opioids (36%), with antidepressants (21%) and other pain medications following close behind.

“In 610 mentions of opioid medication, 59% of patients stopped using these painkillers completely, and another 18% cut their consumption to a quarter or less,” said Lucas, the lead author on the study. “This suggests that cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.”

Tilray cannabis oil capsules. (Courtesy of Tilray)

These findings are consistent with US-based research by Bachhuber et al. (2014) showing a nearly 25% reduction in opioid overdose deaths in medical cannabis states compared to neighboring states that did not allow the medical use of cannabis.

It wasn’t just prescription drugs that cannabis helped patients phase out, though. Nearly a third of participants (31%) reported that using medical cannabis had helped them cut their tobacco use, and half of those respondents had quit using tobacco altogether. In addition, 44% of those surveyed reported that medical cannabis helped them consume less alcohol, and 26% said that cannabis products served as a substitute for illicit drugs.

The study also found that the two main conditions that drive patients to seek medical cannabis were chronic pain (38%) and mental health issues (40%), including anxiety and insomnia.

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Although cannabis use for medical purposes is gaining acceptance as patients choose it for a variety of health challenges, it doesn’t fit the traditional “take two and call me in the morning” format of other prescriptions. With so many ways to work medical cannabis into a healthcare plan, researchers asked participants how they prefer to get their daily dose.

Flower Power

Despite the variety of delivery methods now available for medical cannabis, respondents tended to stick with a classic: flower was far and away the most popular choice for patients. Most patients (74%) used cannabis on a daily basis, and average consumption was about a gram and a half every day, translating to just over 19 ounces a year. A lot of that was consumed as joints, the most popular method of smoking medical cannabis. 

A package of medicinal flower. (Courtesy of Tilray)

But while traditional flower was the most popular form of cannabis among Canadian patients, new ways of ingesting it are growing in popularity. Almost half (47%) of participants reported that their main cannabis delivery method was non-smoking. Vaporizers, including gear like e-nails and vape pens, were the favored method for 31% of respondents.

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Bringing up the rear, juicing was the least popular method of consuming cannabis, with just 0.2% of survey takers calling it their primary method of use. Topicals like oils and salves just edged it out as the most popular forms of cannabis consumption among 0.3% of patients.

Cannabis may already be playing a harm-reduction role in the current opioid crisis.

Philippe Lucas, Vice-President of Patient Research & Access, Tilray

Takeaways

The data patients shared with researchers demonstrates that the long-held promise medical cannabis holds for treating a broad array of conditions is starting to be realized. In particular, the initial findings of this study highlight the potential of medical cannabis to help address North America’s opioid crisis by providing a safer substitute in the treatment of chronic pain. Now, authors of the study are drafting the data into a number of academic publications that will help to better understand and contextualize the results.

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“I’ve had the privilege of working with medical cannabis patients for over 20 years, and it’s an honor to be able to share their experiences through studies like the Tilray Patient Survey 2017,” Lucas said.

Disclaimer: Tilray and Leafly are both subsidiaries of Privateer Holdings, Inc.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Tilray Secures Portugal License, Plans EU Expansion

Tilray, one of Canada’s largest licensed producers, has secured a license to produce medical cannabis in Portugal. Earlier this morning, the company announced that Government of Portugal has issued the Nanaimo, BC-based LP a license to import cannabis genetics and cultivate cannabis for medical purposes.

The company also said it would invest up to €20 million (C$29.2 million) in a European Union campus based in the BIOCANT Research Park in Cantanhede, Portugal, an agricultural and biosciences hub between Porto and Lisbon. The first phase of the project, expected to be completed by the spring of 2018, includes an indoor laboratory and genetics bank, outdoor cultivation sites, a 10,000-square-meter greenhouse, and a 1,500-square-meter processing facility.

Tilray is owned by Privateer Holdings, the Seattle-based private equity firm that also owns Leafly.

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“For the past two years we’ve been working hard to find the right location for cultivation, processing, and research facilities to serve rapidly growing demand for high-quality medical cannabis products in Europe,” Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy said in a statement released by the company. “Portugal has the ideal climate to cultivate cannabis, a highly-skilled health care workforce, and a vibrant research community. It’s more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective to supply European patients from Portugal than from northern climates.”

The Portuguese license and facility continues the Canadian company’s global expansion, which includes subsidiaries in Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Medical Marijuana Now Available at Pharmacies in Chile

SANTIAGO — Chilean pharmacies are now making medical cannabis products available to patients with a physician’s authorization.

The nation legalized the use and distribution of medical cannabis in 2015, and just recently began importing medicinal cannabis products from the Canadian provider Tilray. Chileans are not permitted under the law to cultivate their own cannabis.

In recent weeks, Tilray has also announced agreements to have its products exported to Australia and Cypress.

Several other South American countries are also moving forward to implement cannabis reforms. Colombian lawmakers approved regulations governing the production and use of medical cannabis in 2016, while Argentinian lawmakers signed off on legislation in March regulating the distribution of cannabidiol.

Pharmacies in Uruguay are anticipated to begin selling cannabis this July to residents age 18 or older who are willing to enroll in a government registry.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

How Canadian Licensed Producers Are Driving Medical Marijuana Research

This article is sponsored by Tilray, one of the largest and most sophisticated producers of premium medical cannabis in the world. Tilray is dedicated to providing safe, consistent, and reliable products to patients and furthering clinical research.


Cannabis research is at an important point in history: While a growing number of people have embraced the plant’s potential to produce therapeutic effects, many of its potential medical applications remain anecdotal, and its potential to treat or alleviate the symptoms of a variety of diseases remains untapped. Canada, poised to become the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for adult use, has already positioned itself as a global leader in medical cannabis research. Now, licensed producers (LPs) across Canada are working closely with renowned research institutions all over the world to conduct some of the first large-scale clinical trials investigating the potential medical benefits of cannabis.

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LP-Driven Medical Cannabis Studies on PTSD

How Canadian Licensed Producers Are Driving Global Medical Marijuana Research | Leafly

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have partnered with Canadian LP Tilray to conduct Canada’s first-ever clinical trial examining the potential of medical cannabis as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD, which can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a life-threatening event, is reported to affect over 9% of Canadian men and women. The study will examine the efficacy of medical cannabis in managing chronic PTSD symptoms that are resistant to other treatments. Patients, including veterans, first responders, police officers, and victims of assault, will be given various potencies of medical cannabis, including strains that have varying THC/CBD ratios, to determine how these potencies and ratios affect and treat their symptoms. “We know there continues to be significant unmet need in the treatment of PTSD in Canada and around the world,” says the study’s principal investigator, clinical psychologist Zach Walsh of UBC’s Okanagan campus. “This trial will allow us to build on the anecdotal evidence supporting the potential use of medical cannabis to treat PTSD and hopefully help those who struggle with this debilitating condition.”

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Cannabis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Large-scale studies that examine cannabis as a potential treatment for debilitating mental disorders like PTSD illustrate a shift in the public’s perception of cannabis. As quality, medical-grade cannabis becomes easier to access, scientists are finally able to study its potential applications on scales large and small. Led by Italian memory scientist Dr. Maria Morena, and in partnership with LP MedReleaf, the University of Calgary is also studying the potential of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD. In this particular study, Morena is focusing on whether cannabis can minimize the lasting impact of emotionally significant memories in the brain. While the study uses animal models and not humans, it has great potential to offer much-needed insight into cannabis’s potential to help combat the lasting effects of PTSD on the brain.

Medical Cannabis Studies on Pediatric Epilepsy and Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea

How Canadian Licensed Producers Are Driving Global Medical Marijuana Research | Leafly

Beyond PTSD, Tilray has supported The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (SickKids) as it studies cannabis’s role in alleviating some of the symptoms of Dravet syndrome, a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. Again the first of its kind, this clinical trial will use liquid cannabis extracts administered orally in order to identify and document a safe starting dose and titration schedule while uncovering any potential side effects, adverse drug interactions, or changes in brain activity for children suffering from Dravet syndrome. “We need to understand the safety of this novel formulation in order to proceed with larger clinical trials which will continue to advance the scientific research and understanding of the efficacy of cannabinoid treatment,” explains Dr. Catherine Jacobson, Director of Clinical Research at Tilray. Parents have been using cannabis to help their children with Dravet syndrome for some time, and this study marks an important step towards the eventual goal of minimizing the frequent and prolonged seizures that characterize this disease.

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A clinical trial will begin in Australia this year to determine whether cannabis is a safe and tolerable form of treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). For this study, Tilray will partner with the Government of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in hopes of finding a promising form of relief for CINV, which affects up to 80% of patients undergoing chemotherapy. “Australia has some of the most forward-thinking investigators in the field of clinical research on cannabinoids,” says Brendan Kennedy, President of Tilray Global. “We are impressed with [New South Wales’s] promotion of research to inform treatment with cannabis-derived medications in a number of diseases for which these medications are thought to be helpful.” Tilray has created a proprietary capsule containing active THC and CBD to be used in the study.

Medical Cannabis Studies on Pain from Osteoarthritis and Other Sources

How Canadian Licensed Producers Are Driving Global Medical Marijuana Research | Leafly

There are several clinical trials that have been performed in the past few years that investigate cannabis’s ability to help patients manage pain. Recently, McGill University, Dalhousie University, and Canadian LP CanniMed have partnered to study the safety and efficacy of vaporized cannabis in helping adults over 50 manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. The trial used a variety of cannabis strains, with varying concentrations of THC and CBD. Another clinical trial aimed at studying the long-term safety of medical cannabis in patients suffering from chronic, non-cancer pain found that those who used cannabis daily for one year saw no increase in serious adverse effects compared to those patients who didn’t use cannabis. The trial, which used flower containing 12% THC from CanniMed, was the first and largest study of its kind.

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There are unique benefits to studying the effects of cannabis in different forms, and particularly with raw flower, since it contains an array of cannabinoids and terpenes which are believed to work together in what’s known as an entourage effect. While whole-plant medicine can be beneficial, its efficacy is largely dependent on the quality of the plant. The United States government has recently fallen under scrutiny for providing subpar cannabis to researchers in the US in its first-ever clinical trial of cannabis as a potential treatment for PTSD; the incident led Johns Hopkins University to pull out of the study, a major setback. In order to fully study cannabis and its potential medical applications, scientists need to access high-quality cannabis—and that’s where Canada is leading the charge.

By providing quality medical cannabis in a variety of forms, strains, and concentrations and partnering with research institutions to drive groundbreaking studies, Canadian LPs like Tilray are uniquely positioned to help Canada lead the way in global medical cannabis research. Working closely with governments and esteemed university research centers around the world, LPs are actively driving the push to make medical cannabis accessible to those who need it most, in concentrations and doses that are formulated to advance the clinical applications of cannabinoids.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

The Legal International Cannabis Trade Already Exists. We Mapped It.

While the U.S. continues to squabble state-by-state over medical and adult use legalization, over the past year cannabis has quietly grown into a truly international industry.

International trade began with the Netherlands and Canada, but is expected to expand rapidly.

A number of companies are now moving medical cannabis around the globe for medical purposes and studies, with major markets and producers in the Americas and Europe. That legal international trade began with two source countries—the Netherlands and Canada—but it’s expected to grow at an ever-increasing rate in coming years.

“It’s really about time,” said Eric Klein of Canada’s Cronos Group. “It takes time to build. The industry is moving so quickly.”

Cronos Group owns Peace Naturals, one Canada’s 38 licensed medical facilities and the nation’s first licensed medical cannabis producer. Peace Naturals began making exports of cannabis flower to German pharmacies on Oct. 5, 2016. German health officials approved a medical marijuana program for severe illnesses on May 4, 2016, and passed the necessary legislation in January 2017. Until the country establishes its own cannabis growing facilities, it will import the product.

Klein said his company sees more of a future with medical cannabis.

“Our projections indicate that the global international medical cannabis market will develop faster than the recreational market,” Klein wrote, “and that the size of the opportunity will be dictated by market specific regulations.”

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Exporters and importers

Over the past year, federally licensed medical cannabis producers like Peace Naturals, Tilray, and Tweed in Canada have exported to Germany, Croatia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Chile. In the Netherlands, the longtime cannabis company Bedrocan has shipped product to Canada, Australia, and European Union nations. Meanwhile, the Dutch government’s Office of Medicinal Cannabis sends shipments of medical marijuana to Italy, Germany, and Finland.

More countries are opening up to the legal and heavily regulated trade. Tilray has plans to export cannabis to Brazil and has orders with several other undisclosed European Union nations. Earlier this week the company announced it had reached an agreement with the Australian state of Victoria to deliver medicinal cannabis to 29 children with epilepsy. (Editor’s note: Tilray is owned by Privateer Holdings, the private equity firm that also owns Leafly.)

Here’s what that trade looks like so far:

InternationalCannabisTrade-edit2Two exporting nations dominate the trade in early 2017. By next year Israel may join them. The United States? Who knows. (Click on image to enlarge. Graphic by Amy Phung/Leafly.)

Israel — one of the United States’ leading pharmaceutical suppliers — is also one of the world’s leaders in medical cannabis research. After conservative religious leaders said Judaism does not forbid cannabis consumption, the nation has taken strides towards decriminalizing marijuana possession in recent months, expanding medical access, and allowing medical cannabis exports with an eye toward the U.S. market. One of Israel’s leading cannabis companies, Tikun Olam, has established a U.S. subsidiary, Tikun Olam USA, with an office in New York City. But Israel has yet to actually begin shipping product outside its borders.

Conspicuously missing from this global market, of course, is the United States.

Conspicuously missing from this global market, of course, is the United States. Federal and state laws still forbid any state from accepting medical cannabis imports. Federal law still lists cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no medical use—so it’s all but impossible to move it legally through customs. And state legalization laws have all—so far—established ironclad rules against cannabis moving cross state lines.

“In the US market, it’s a state by state regulation process,” Klein explained. “There are limits on what you can do.”

Even with rigid export rules, more than pure product makes its way across borders. Companies can export technical knowledge, brand-building opportunities, and horticultural expertise where federal enforcement would stop a shipment of kush.

Licensing agreements and science swapping are one of the ways U.S. cannabis companies can interact across state lines without breaking residency requirements or transport laws. International relationships are similar.

Tikun Olam USA’s operation is a triad between Israel, Canada, and the U.S. Rather than export one of its highly engineered cannabis flower blends to the U.S., Tikun Olam partnered with Canada’s MedReleaf Corp. to lend the Compassionate Care Center of New York a helping hand. CCCNY has the genetic rights to several of Tikun Olam’s strains, and Israeli and Canadian partner experts will help the company grow them to spec on U.S. soil at a Newark greenhouse.

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Here’s how it works

The legal international cannabis trade is currently limited to medical distribution, clinical research, and compassionate access. Adult-use cannabis does not, as of yet, legally cross national borders. Typically, the importing nation issues a permit that adheres to the regulatory structure of its medical laws. The exporting company gets approval from its own respective national health department and export authority. Each nation must report how much it produces and consumes domestically, as well as exports or imports internationally, to the International Narcotics Control Board, which is the United Nations’s independent control body for international drug conventions.

Companies entering the import-export market see their efforts as long-term investments, not one-off projects. In interviews with Leafly, officials with Tilray and Peace Naturals both emphasized a desire to develop continued relationships with their market destinations.

As the first G7 nation with a national medical cannabis system, Canada has quickly become the worldwide leader in medical exports.

“Cronos has already announced a partnership with (German cannabis import and distribution company) Pedanios, which will enable us to extend into the EU and Switzerland,” Klein wrote. “We are focused on developing an international distribution network, and continue to canvas the horticultural and regulatory landscape while aggressively pursuing strategic interests in multiple markets.”

Exported products vary according to demand and purpose. Peace Naturals exports whole flower, while Tilray exports flower, oil, and cannabinoid-based liquid capsules. The type of product depends on the destination’s need, not any legal strictures — whether clinical trial or direct consumer distribution, medical weed is medical weed, from a legal standpoint.

“It all depends on the market and the use,” wrote Tilray representative Zack Hutson.

“We have exported oil, capsules, and flower to different markets.”

Canada’s position as the first G7 nation with a national medical cannabis system has allowed it to quickly become the worldwide leader in medical exports. Germany, whose parliament legalized medical marijuana in January 2017, is the second, making it Canada’s largest export destination and the largest medical market outside the United States.

“The biggest opportunity is in Germany,” said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Seattle-based private equity firm Privateer Holdings, which owns Tilray. “We’re focusing a lot on the EU.”

These global markets aren’t easy to crack. It takes a lot of painstaking legal work to establish a legal import-export relationship with just one partner company in one foreign nation. Cannabis laws vary radically, country to country. And, as in the United States, they’re often changing—a situation to which company must constantly adapt.

Enormous global potential

For all that work, though, the ultimate payoff could be substantial.

The United Nations estimated that in 2014, 183 million people worldwide used cannabis at least once in the past year. The heaviest-consuming countries are in North America and Europe, with large increases in Africa.

Does the global medical market have more potential than the adult-use market?

The first laws outlawing cannabis were passed in the 1930s, but the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the international agreement that regulates global trade in  all drugs including cannabis, was created in 1961. The treaty categorizes cannabis as a Schedule IV drug, which under the treaty’s terms is the highest level of control alongside synthetic opioids.

The treaty recognizes and encourages scientific and medical use of controlled substances, but not recreational uses. This explains in part how India’s poppy producers stay in business for medical opioid production, and how companies like Peace Naturals, Tweed, Bedrocan, and Tilray export medical cannabis while shipments meant for the adult-use market remain illegal.

Does the medical market really have more potential than the adult-use market? That’s the Cronos Group’s theory, and some independent projections seem to bear it out. Estimates vary for how much money the international medical cannabis trade is worth. Privateer CEO Kennedy said it could climb as high as $100 billion in annual retail value in the next five to 10 years. If the current global retail demand for cannabis in the black, gray, and illegal markets is roughly $200 billion—as Kennedy estimates—that would mean the legal international medical market could equal half the current total demand.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Canadian Cannabis Producer to Begin Exports to Chile

Tilray, one of 38 licensed producers serving Canada’s medical cannabis market, will begin exporting medical marijuana to Chile, the company announced this week. It’s the latest of the company’s initiatives to expand into overseas markets as more countries legalize the plant’s medical use.

The Nanaimo, British Columbia-based company will team with Alef Biotechnology SpA, which is licensed by the Chilean government to produce medical cannabis commercially, to import and distribute products into the country, according to a company press release. The first shipment is expected to arrive by late February and will be available at certain pharmacies and hospitals in Santiago. As part of the deal, Alef will secure exclusive rights to distribute Tilray’s product line in Brazil.

“Today’s announcement marks Tilray’s entry into Latin America and expands our international reach to a fourth continent,” Tilray President Brendan Kennedy said in a statement Wednesday. “We are proud to be able to offer patients in need access to high quality, pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products.”

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(Full disclosure: Tilray is a subsidiary of Privateer Holdings, which also owns Leafly.)

Expanding to other territories is a chief focus for Tilray in 2017, the release said. The company last year become the first to legally export medical cannabis from North America to Australia and the European Union. It’s also working on a number of clinical trials, including Canadian studies looking into cannabis as a treatment for a severe form of childhood epilepsy as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The company is also involved in an Australian study exploring the safety and efficacy of cannabis to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Tilray isn’t the only company setting its sights on global expansion. Bedrocan, originally a Dutch company, now operates as a licensed producer in Canada. Bedrocan has exported cannabis products from the Netherlands to Canada, Australia, and a number of European countries. Peace Naturals, another Canadian licensed producer, has exported to Germany. Currently, no company based in the United States exports cannabis beyond the nation’s borders.

In recent decades, views in Chile regarding cannabis have changed dramatically. Once among the country’s most tightly regulated substances, cannabis for private, personal use was decriminalized in 2005. The sale of cannabis-derived prescription medicines has been permitted by pharmacies since 2015.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.