Every day there seems to be a new article about the medical benefits associated with marijuana. These benefits create an opportunity that cannabis cultivators are trying to capitalize on. Once these growers find a strain that combats a certain illness, they try and patent it. From 1989 to 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted 17,591 plant patents. Unfortunately, growers are having a difficult time getting their patents approved. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been rejecting marijuana patents because it violates federal drug law.
Companies and growers are concerned that their time and effort to create unique strains will be jeopardized due to the lack of ownership rights. “We don’t want to waste a bunch of time and a bunch of money and a bunch of effort only to have someone take all our work,” he said. “Everyone in this industry is sitting and waiting on the federal level to see what they will allow.”
The University of Colorado is studying the benefits associated with specific marijuana strains
Nolan Kane, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, is leading the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative. Nolan is attempting to map DNA sequences of marijuana and hemp by identifying the genomes that deliver certain characteristics to particular strains. This genetic mapping of marijuana is comparable to how botanists created and protected thousands of strains of crops like corn, wheat, soy and rice.
Ben Holmes, is a cannabis seed engineer working with the Cannabis Genomic Research Initiative. He wants to apply for patent protection on a strain of cannabis called Otto II. This would be the first step in creating an environment where plant breeders have certain rights for their innovations. The strain that Holmes is attempting to patent is low in THC and high in CBD. The Otto II strain is just 1 out 400 strains that Holmes has created but is his most valuable strain.
Which companies are focused on developing new strains of marijuana?
- GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)
- Obtained a patent for the use of a specified CBD/THC combination that treats glioblastoma
- GWPH is currently conducting a number of clinical trials for various treatments.
- The company developed the first prescribed cannabis based medicine, Sativex, which is approved in over 20 countries.
- Insys Therapeutics (INSY)
- Initiating phase 3 trial of their cannabidiol drug in Lennox-Gestaut and Dravet patients
- Dronabinol is another drug in their pipeline that contains a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that will be used to stimulate the appetite of people suffering weight loss from AIDS
- United Cannabis Corp (CNAB)
- Filed a patent for a strain of cannabis that treats cancer and nervous and immune system disorders
- Licenses its trademarks but is pushing for wider patent protection
- BreedIt (BRDT)
- Submitted first two proprietary medical cannabis strains for registration with Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture
- Cannabics Pharmaceuticals (CNBX)
- The company’s lead drug is Cannabics SR, which contains 2 oil based compounds that give the drug an instant and extended release
- The capsules contain 10mg of active cannabinoids which is 99% THC and less than 1% CBD.
- One World Cannabis (OWCP)
- Israeli company focused on the research and development of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals and treatments focused on a wide variety of medical issues