The term synthetic CBD may have some purists shaking their heads, but the purported advantages behind this alternative and the race to develop it are hard to ignore.
Synthetic means to imitate a natural product, material, or chemical. To better understand why a synthetic CBD is inevitable, one only need to look at the example of Aspirin emerging as the alternative to the “natural” product version – the leaves and bark of willow trees, used for centuries in various forms to treat pain and fever.
A synthetic CBD could cut out the high costs associated with growing and harvesting the plants and could make CBD easier to mass produce as demand continues to grow. Synthetic CBD is also said to be free from impurities associated with plants such as mold, residual pesticides, harsh extraction solvents, and heavy metals. These impurities could pose a risk to users and are more prevalent in the existing CBD market than consumers likely realize, particularly as quality and safety regulations, as well as the tools to support them, are still being designed and implemented. This makes the high-purity, chemically synthesized CBD a potentially more appealing alternative for the market.
Helping the race to develop a synthetic cannabinoid is the fact that CBD is a natural growing compound with a simple molecular structure. Pharma companies interested in this market are presumably working to combine CBD with proprietary compounds. These same companies understand the regulatory environment as well as anyone and would presumably be looking at an easier regulatory route to approval and market.
The market opportunity, if the industry can manufacture a consistent product that doctors are comfortable prescribing to their patients, is potentially in the billions of dollars. But it’s not going to be easy. Even in markets where medical cannabis has been legalized, the percentage of doctors who are prescribing it for patients remains low. A fully approved, easy-to-monitor dosage delivery system in the form of a patented CBD pill may help change those numbers.
“CBD was isolated in 1940, and for decades nobody cared,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and an early proponent of researching CBD’s medical utility.
Fast forward to today and there is no less than “sixty short-term and long-term research studies currently underway worldwide, looking at 23 different diseases or conditions,” reports Dr. Linda Inkpen, registrar at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland.
With what some call the “second generation of medical cannabis” quickly approaching, there is an increased opportunity to better market synthetic and natural CBD to both potential patients, and as importantly, the doctors and other healthcare professionals who influence them.