Oak Park company designs oral, quick absorbing cannabis

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Oak Park-based PharmaCann, a vertically integrated cannabis company, designed PharmaCann Capsules to ensure medical cannabis is absorbed better and lasts longer, providing patients a first-of-its-kind delivery method beyond inhalation, edibles and tinctures.

The patent-pending oral form pharmaceutical-grade capsules are the first to use self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS) technology for cannabis, the company said.

PharmaCann Capsules are currently available in the state of New York and are expected to launch in Illinois by early fall. SEDDS technology has been widely used in the nutrition, nutraceutical, biotech and pharmaceutical industries and has been shown to significantly improve the absorption of everything from antivirals to immunosuppressant drugs.

PharmaCann chose to apply the SEDDS technology after extensive research to determine the best method for addressing the highly variable oral absorption rate of cannabis. Taken by mouth, PharmaCann Capsules are designed to provide convenient and longer lasting as well as more consistent, reliable and effective dosing and delivery of medical cannabis.

The two main compounds in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, are fat- and alcohol-soluble, making them nearly impossible to dissolve in water, decreasing the amount of compound absorbed. The SEDDS technology is designed to improve absorption of fatty compounds in the stomach and intestines and bypass the liver.

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This averts the "first pass effect," in which the liver metabolizes medication, preventing much of it from getting into the bloodstream. Instead, the goal is that cannabis in the capsules is absorbed partially by the lymphatic system, resulting in higher levels of cannabinoids circulating in the bloodstream and providing patients a more uniform and predictable experience.

"This product helps improve quality of life for patients and they report that it lasts longer and feels stronger than other oral delivery options, meaning they only need to take it twice a day instead of three or four times," said Chris Diorio, director of research and development at PharmaCann. "The capsules are especially convenient for those who find it difficult to use other forms of cannabis or prefer the discretion of taking medication in oral form."

The capsules can be taken with or without food and are available in two strengths and three different cannabinoid profiles, including high THC and high CBD. They have no odor or taste and use vitamins C and E derivatives as a preservative to ensure they remain potent.

"This breakthrough reflects PharmCann's commitment to innovation to ensure we provide patients the most effective and high-quality product," Diorio said. "By combining this established technology with our own unique production methods, we can provide patients the effectiveness of smoking cannabis in a convenient and often more preferable oral form."

He also notes that these capsules, like other oral dosage forms, provide patients a safer pain relief alternative to addictive and potentially dangerous opioids.

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