Tech that converts liquid cannabis to a gel could change the way Canadians consume cannabis

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Licensed to a Vancouver company, the goal is to employ technology that converts liquid solution to a gel to commercialize products in the form of a nasal spray.

Australia’s University of Queensland (U.Q.) and Canada’s PreveCeutical Medical Inc. have teamed up for what is being called a revolutionary change in how patients will take medical cannabis: a liquid that converts to a gel.

The Sol-Gel technology is thanks to the work of a team of researchers, led by Dr. Harendra Parekh, at the U.Q.’s School of Pharmacy, which explains the liquid solution converts to a gel upon contacting “internal membranes of the human body, such as the nose.”

Vancouver-headquartered PreveCeutical — which, along with its partners, researches and develops solutions that give consumers options for preventive and curative therapies — will have a chance to check out exactly what the technology can do.

There are plenty of types of membranes, which the National Cancer Institute defines as “think sheets of tissue that cover the body, line body cavities and cover organs within the cavities in hollow organs.” Some specific types include epithelial, serous, connective tissue, synovial, meninges and muscous.

It is the last option that seems of the greatest immediate interest when it comes to the Sol-Gel technology.

“We have been developing the cannabinoid Sol-Gel delivery system with U.Q. through UniQuest since 2017, with a focus on nasal delivery,” PreveCeutical chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer says in the U.Q. statement.

“Having this licence agreement in place, we can now work with partners to commercialize products for the cannabinoid Sol-Gel formulation products in the form of a nasal spray,” Van Deventer reports.

“This deal is a great testament to the strength and willingness of U.Q. researchers to engage with industry and work together to create impact through the development of potential new treatments,” UniQuest CEO Dr. Dean Moss says in the statement.

Van Deventer reports that his company also intends to look at other product formats to deliver cannabinoids using the technology, including via the skin.

In a study published a decade ago, researchers explored treating rats with CBD to combat chronic and breakthrough pain. Their results indicated that CBD could be successfully delivered through the intranasal and transdermal routes.

Authors of an Italian study, released this year and focused on pain treatment, say “many remarkable formulations involving cannabinoids are now evolving and are being validated in several clinical trials.” They cautioned, however, that an urgent need exists “for further research to investigate the optimal route and composition of cannabinoids in pain treatment.”

And a 2018 study suggests “the low oral bioavailability of cannabinoids has led to feasible methods of administration, such as the transdermal route, intranasal administration and transmucosal adsorption, being proposed.”

Cannabinoids, the authors note, “are seen as suitable candidates for advanced nanosized drug delivery systems, which can be applied via a range of routes.”

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