Medical cannabis company Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) came out of a trading halt late this morning to unveil an initial order for cannabidiol (CBD) pressurised metered-dose inhalers (similar to an asthma puffer but containing CBD) from US pharmaceutical manufacturer Entourage Therapeutics.
The US company has granted Impression exclusivity over its products to be sold in Australia and to “facilitate further discussions”.
Today’s news could be significant for both Impression and the wider medical cannabis industry given there are currently no other suchlike suppliers in Australia.
According to medical professionals, CBD inhalers serve as the preferred delivery application for patients with certain conditions currently being treated with CBD oils.
On average, inhaled CBD is delivered to the blood almost immediately with maximum blood concentrations achieved in around 10 minutes compared to one-to-four hours for orally ingested CBD.
The proportion of CBD assimilated by patients, or the bioavailability rate of inhaled CBD, is around 45% compared to 15% for oral CBD. This means patients need lower dosages, improving the dose per unit volume for patients.
Another caveat adding support for inhalers is the reduced prevalence of side effects including digestive issues related to the ingestion of synthetic compounds over a prolonged period.
Moreover, Impression said it is working from an “existing preliminary but promising body of research” that suggests powerful anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may be deployed to treat lung inflammation, with inhalation devices delivering CBD to the affected area.
IHL also said it has found pre-clinical and in-human pilot studies that broadly support the potential for CBD to treat inflammation associated with pneumonia and acute lung injury, experienced by patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Impression also thinks its CBD therapies could be harnessed to assist in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is clear that some patients with COVID-19 will develop pneumonia and acute lung injury through inflammatory processes, so, Impression’s medical advisory board will investigate the potential of CBD inhalers to assist with the recovery of these conditions,” the company said.
More than 2.5 million Australians suffer mild to severe asthma and recently, a shortage of Ventolin has been reported in the country as a result of panic buying and hoarding.
“We predict that CBD inhalers will become the preferred delivery method for many patients and we’re excited at the prospect of opening new unregistered therapies for those suffering conditions associated with lung inflammation,” Impression managing director Joel Latham said.