Weed Week: Start of an Asian Spring?
Health & Biotech
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The legalisation of medical cannabis in southeast Asia is gathering steam with news that Thailand has officially started distributing cannabis oil to eligible patients over the past week.
Advocates hope that the move is a sign of things to come in the region — which still carries a heavy loaded stigma around the use of drugs.
In many countries in the region, many drug offences still result in life imprisonment or execution.
According to Reuters, 4500 5mml bottles of cannabis oil was delivered to hospitals in the country, with another 2000 to come this month alone.
The delivery and subsequent usage will mark the first official use of cannabis in medical treatment in the region.
The aim is to distribute 1 million bottles within five to six months, with the official health bureau to produce 200,000 bottles of cannabis extract per month from September.
Any liberalisation in medical cannabis laws in Asia could be welcome news to a swag of ASX-listed cannabis companies — with some predicting the continent could provide an $8.5 billion market.
Let’s hope the Thai experience is a sign of things to come in the region.
Here’s what a swag of ASX companies with exposure to the cannabis sector did over the past week:
Bod Australia (ASX:BOD), together with the University of Technology Sydney has found a “novel family of proteins found in human cells” that helps combat the skin aging process.
It’s hoping to use the proteins to help deliver cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabis compounds.
CropLogic Limited (ASX:CLI) has bagged a $US2 million ($A2.94 million) bridging loan to help the company get through to a sale of its product in November.
Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH) has clarified that a previously announced deal to distribute its CBD oil in New Zealand is unlikely to represent material revenue if the minimum purchasing amount is taken up.
It’s still excited by the potential of the NZ market, however.
Ecofibre (ASX:EOF) has welcomed David W Neu onto the team as the ecexcutive chairman of Ananda Health, its US nutraceuticals business.
It’s a big get, with Neu previously serving as president of NYSE-listed AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, and Good Neighbor Pharmacy — which is one of the world’s largest pharma distribution companies.
ECS Botanics Holdings (ASX:ECS) will take a 28.4 per cent stake in Tasmanian grain handler TapAgrico. The investment (around $700,000) will allow the latter to invest in a hemp seed dryer, storage, and handling equipment.
The ASX-listed company has also tied up a food distribution agreement with Eden Foods — aimed at getting its hemp-related food products into a swathe of Tasmanian shops.
Elixinol Global Limited (ASX:EXL) subsidiary Elixinol LLC has tied up an $US18 million deal to provide its products to pets through Pet Releaf (geddit?).
Pet Releaf provides hemp-derived CBD oils, topicals and treats for pets — with its products in 4000 stores in the US and internationally.
Impression Healthcare (ASX:IHL) has successfully registered a phase II trial to test the effect of its IHL-42X medical cannabis formulation on sufferers of sleep apnea.
While there are still a few steps before the trial becomes real, the trial will test the formulation against a placebo on 30 patients over a six week period.
There’s been a big milestone for MGC Pharma (ASX:MXC), with 100 patients in Australia already prescribed (or being processed ahead of receiving a prescription) its CannEpill or MXP100 CBD product.
Bulk shipments of both are en route to Australia to be prescribed under the Special Access Scheme.
RotoGro (ASX:RGI) is well on its way to getting in on the cannabis game, supplying $600,000 worth of its RotoGro Hydroponic Rotational Garden Systems to a Canadian outfit.
That’s about it for this week, but you can take a look at how ASX stocks with exposure to cannabis did on the table below:
Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.