Weed Week: There’s a wave of THC-related vaping illnesses sweeping the US
Health & Biotech
This week, the 33 cannabis (and cannabis-adjacent) stocks tracked by Stockhead posted an average weekly return of 3 per cent.
That’s against a broader downtrend for the sector, with the BI Global Cannabis Competitive Peers index down 40 per cent since its March 21 high.
Meanwhile, data released by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late last week showed there have been 380 cases of lung illness in America linked to use of e-cigarettes, six of which resulted in deaths.
And out of the hundreds of cases, “most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC”, the CDC said. (Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis).
THC products have been legalised at the federal level in Canada and in some US states, including California. They remain illegal in Australia, where even non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) products still need to be prescribed by a doctor.
In those US and Canadian jurisdictions, cannabis entrepreneurs have taken advantage of a growing market for legal vape brands.
But multiple news agencies this week cited fears about the rise of illegal imitation products in the market, using untested THC oil which could be harmful.
And the black-market operators have proven adept and are using replica packaging made in China to sell fake brand-name products to unsuspecting consumers.
On Monday, US authorities seized 31,200 vape cartridges filled with THC and arrested two brothers in Connecticut, accusing them of running an illegal underground vaping operation.
The CDC has now commenced an emergency operation to investigate the outbreak of lung diseases linked to vaping products.
So, on that slightly morbid note:
Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH) got some good news out of Canada on Monday, where its wholly owned subsidiary Mernova Medical received a licence to process cannabis.
The regulatory approval means Mernova can now expand its product offering beyond dried flower to include cannabis oils and other derivative products. Creso then went into a trading halt ahead of its pending takeover by Canada-listed PharmaCielo.
Hemp stock CropLogic (ASX:CLI) said cannabis plants had begun to flower at its farm in Oregon — the fourth stage in an eight-stage process scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
The company also got into a bit of a kerfuffle with the ASX regarding Stephen Silver, who sits on CropLogic’s board as a non-executive director.
The ASX asked CropLogic if it knew that Silver had previously faced disciplinary proceedings from US finance regulators, resulting in a $40,000 fine in 2016. The company said it was already aware of the violations when it accepted Silver as a board member.
And Europe-based MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) says it’s building momentum in Australia and the UK, edging past the 200 prescription-mark for its medicinal cannabis products — around 100 of which have been prescribed in the past month.
Below is Stockhead’s latest summary of weekly and annual price performance for ASX-listed cannabis stocks.
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