CANNAINVESTOR Magazine September / October 2016 - Page 54

Nasdaq-listed and Connecticut-based, Cara Therapeutics (CARA) is in preclinical development with its CR701 formulation. The company describes CR701 as a novel therapeutic approach for neuropathic pain. The company’s stock market capitalization is $145 million.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) is also traded on Nasdaq. The company has developed a cannabidiol or CBD gel, CR701, which the company describes as the first and only synthetic CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced gel. It is currently being studied for use in treating refractory epilepsy, Fragile X syndrome, and osteoarthritis. Zynerba indicates that CR701 will provide consistent, controlled drug delivery transdermally with convenient once or twice-daily dosing. Zynerba’s stock market capitalization is $77 million.

In addition to these Nasdaq-listed cannabis stocks, there are nearly 200 over-the-counter traded companies whose business is exclusively tied to the cannabis industry, and approximately 150 other over-the-counter stocks that have some business involvement in the industry.

Many of these over-the-counter stocks have limited liquidity, low stock market capitalizations, and low daily trading volumes. Most are considered to be “penny stocks,” which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission considers to be risky investments. But, despite the over-the-counter status of these companies, and their startup or early-stage status, many have intriguing business models worthy of investor consideration.

Investments in Cannabis Research in Israel

Widely acknowledged as the “cannabis superpower,” Israel is the world leader in advanced medical cannabis policy, medical cannabis research, cannabis breeding, plant sciences and medical cannabis delivery systems.

Medical cannabis was first approved for use by the Israel’s Ministry of Health in 1992, and an expanded protocol for its use was established in 2007. All major Israeli hospitals and research universites are currently involved in some aspect of cannabis research.

The country’s proactive regulatory system facilitates patient access to cannabis for medical use and enables major medical institutions to conduct clinical studies. In contrast to the United States, where cannabis is illegal federally, the cannabis industry in Israel has the full support of the Israeli government. Some Israeli companies are focusing on plant sciences including genetics and breeding. Others are researching specific cannabis-derived formulations for specific medical conditions and disorders. Others are designing intriguing delivery systems for cannabis-based medicine.

The history of cannabis research in Israel goes back to 1963 when Professor Mechoulam of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem isolated cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound that is a key to many of the medical properties of cannabis.

A year later, Mechoulam and his team were the first scientists to isolate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main physiologically active compound in cannabis, which is responsible for the plant’s consciousness-altering effects and many of its medical benefits.