The Rotation: Vol. 16
Debate on Psychedelic Patents, The Future of Sustainability in Cannabis and Delta-8 as an Industry Disruptor
Recently Issued Patents Raising Concerns for Psychedelic Industry
The debate around psychedelic patents has picked up steam with Compass Pathways successfully winning a court challenge and MindMed being granted its patent for combining two psychedelic substances in a single dosage form, reports Psychedelic Spotlight.
- Compass Pathways won a court challenge against their patent for Comp 360 by successfully arguing that their psilocybin molecule was in fact novel.
- MindMed has been granted a patent on a “composition comprising an empathogen/entactogen and a psychedelic in the same single oral dosage form”. Essentially the combination of substances such as MDMA and LSD in a single dose.
- These two developments have led to backlash from segments of the psychedelic community that argue it will restrict competition and future innovation in the space.
- Supporters of these patents argue that patents are necessary to protect innovation and ensure a return on investment for companies that have spent millions of dollars in research and development.
Patents on psychedelics have several ethical, legal, and social implications and raise unique concerns within segments of the psychedelic community, and we echo these sentiments. Due to psychedelics being criminalized for decades, expertise related to patenting is severely limited and this lack of experience brings into question the quality of the evaluation taking place by patent examiners. Moreover, we cannot forget that Indigenous communities have pioneered many aspects of modern psychedelic therapies, and patenting can lead to biopiracy and the exploitation of Indigenous knowledge by large corporations.
Will Delta-8 Disrupt the Cannabis U.S Cannabis Industry
An opinion piece on Cannabis.net asks whether delta-8 THC will replace delta-9 THC in most cannabis products.
- The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, which eventually led to the development of lab-derived Delta-8 THC.
- A Federal court panel recently ruled that Delta-8 THC is legal, providing further clarification on its legal status.
- Delta-8 THC is considered less potent as a psychotropic compared to delta-9 THC but recent advancement in research may be closing the gap between the two cannabinoids, making the effects harder to distinguish.
- Keep in mind, since delta-8 is created in a lab, its application is in drinks, edibles and tinctures and cannot replace dried flower products meant for inhalation.
It’s interesting to consider whether delta-8 THC will become the industry disruptor described in the article. Initially considered a legal loophole that companies can exploit to operate in states where cannabis is still illegal, delta-8 has increasingly become part of the conversation in cannabis industry circles, particularly in the U.S. Whether cannabis products in the future are more likely to contain delta-8 THC as opposed to delta-9 THC is difficult to say, we certainly haven’t seen this happen in Canada where cannabis is federally legal, but it’s certainly worth paying attention to. Unfortunately, it’s worth remembering also that delta-8 THC is largely unregulated, untested and lacks significant scientific research.
Do Consumers Want Cannabis That’s Grown Sustainably?
A recent article by mg Magazine investigates whether cannabis grown sustainably will gain traction amongst cannabis producers and consumers.
- Despite some reports that tend to exaggerate the environmental impact, cannabis cultivation leaves a significant carbon footprint.
- Organically grown cannabis has been slow to catch-on with consumers, due to its higher price tag.
- Some industry stakeholders are hopeful that Federal regulation will level the playing field between organic and non-organic farms by requiring cultivators across the board to adopt more rigorous environmental-impact controls and establishing more stringent lab-testing standards.
- A growing body of market research suggests that sustainability is becoming more important to consumers, particularly amongst millennials.
Mitigating the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation and processing is a significant issue and it’s refreshing to see a deep dive on the topic. As the article points out, “no matter how commendable sustainability may be, if practices aren’t economically beneficial, they’re difficult to justify”. This is why people like Mika Unterman, who was recently interviewed on High Fidelity, has taken a unique approach by focusing on how sustainability can actually save companies money in the long term.