MedPharm in Denver manages a 15,000-plant cultivation operation. It operates a complex research and development laboratory with USP 797 Cleanroom equipment in-house. The company also has its own collection of cannabis products that retail in Denver.
And now, holding the key to establishing a new level of quality and authority in researching cannabis, MedPharm is looking for research partners to expand the knowledge of cannabis, cannabinoids and their pharmaceuticals properties.
“MedPharm is focused on understanding a few things,” said MedPharm CEO Albert Gutierrez. “What kind of cannabinoids are helping people in what ways, what terpenes combined with the cannabinoids and other distribuends come together to create packable dosage forms.” The phytopharmaceutical company was awarded Colorado’s first cannabis research license in October, a new title facilitated by a bill that not only allows MedPharm to cultivate, create and distribute a finished cannabis product, but also create specific cannabis products for research purposes and conduct the sampling of cannabis in-house.
“Since we’re first, we get to set the blueprint. We get to set the standards for others to follow,” said Scott Karolchyk, compound pharmacist and director of formulation development at MedPharm. “We can do everything in house—we grow, we harvest, we extract, we analyze, we can pull apart the cannabinoids, put them back, we can form the conditions the researchers want and we can formulate those products quickly.”
“We can do everything in house—we grow, we harvest, we extract, we analyze, we can pull apart the cannabinoids, put them back, we can form the conditions the researchers want and we can formulate those products quickly.”
“One of the key things it really allows us to do is to actually create placebos, which is something we weren’t able to do before.” said Director of Chemistry and Extraction Dr. Tyrell Towle. He stated that the licensing allowed MedPharm to send out other components aside from those containing cannabis for the research work, and they can send products to other locations besides dispensaries.
“This research license allows us to . . . do actual randomized control trials where some people are given the dosage for, and we’re able to compare and really see and say definitively what is going on,” said Towle.
The company is already considering four different research projects and is waiting on state approval to begin, but acknowledges that other entities like consumer groups, patients and clinicians may have their own ideas but don’t know where to go to get the research done. The company would facilitate the entire process, from creating research study doses and controls to applying the new knowledge to formulate and market medicines.
And, it has the potential to put out a product for research in weeks instead of months or years like pharmaceuticals companies, since it has the entire process within arm’s reach, in house.
“Studies that are being done right now are purely observatory because of the federal regulations that are being put in front of universities,” said Gutierrez. “For example, when they have someone consume a product they actually have to go somewhere else, consume it, and then come back. Having participants leave and come back risks outside interference on the research. We can do all that in-house. That’s a big, big deal when you’re running a research study. You need good data and that’s how you’re going to get that data. “
MedPharm already produces three brands of cannabis products that are available at dispensaries. Alivar which has a focus on medical cannabis consumers, Become which are blends that are aligned to women and Batch which is intended for the cannasseur.
With the research license, MedPharm is now fixed on the idea of creating patented, unique dosing options and with their efficacy making the company a trusted household name as cannabis medicines become more mainstream.
“We are raising that bar whatever product you want, whether it’s a tincture, transdermal cream, oral pill; you are going to get the effect every single time,” said Karolchyk.