Smoking and edibles may be the two most popular ways to consume cannabis, but there are a host of problems associated with these delivery mechanisms. Studies have shown that marijuana smoke can be harmful to the lungs, while edibles have extremely variable bioavailability that makes dosing difficult. This has left the door wide open for innovators to develop new delivery systems to improve upon these metrics.
Conventional Delivery Methods
There are many different ways that cannabinoid-based medications are delivered, but smoking and eating are the two most common methods.
Smoke from marijuana combustion shares some of the same problems associated with tobacco smoke. For example, UC San Francisco researchers found that blood vessel function in lab rats dropped by 70% after a half-hour of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke, which is similar to results found with secondhand tobacco smoke. Reduced blood vessel function can increase a person's risk of developing hardened arteries, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Edibles avoid many of the problems associated with smoking, but they have their own set of issues when it comes to bioavailability. According to a 2005 study published in the Pain Research & Management Journal, smoked cannabis had the highest THC bioavailability with an average of 30%, whereas cannabis edibles had lower THC bioavailability of between 4% and 12% -- a high variation that can make dosing extremely difficult.
Chewing Gum Advantages
AXIM Biotech has spent the past 14 years developing an oral, trans-mucosal, controlled-release delivery system that exhibits similar-to-improved bioavailability relative to smoked cannabis without the drawbacks of edible cannabis. The chewing gum delivery system avoids the first-pass metabolism that is responsible for reducing the bioavailability of edibles, and hepatic metabolism that is responsible for many side-effects of cannabis consumption.
In a recent study, the company found that the CanChew+ delivery system exhibited greater than 80% bioavailability in just 30 minutes of chewing. This makes it more than twice as effective as smoked cannabis and more than eight times as effective as edibles, while ensuring steady delivery of cannabinoids without the side-effects. The gum is also both socially-acceptable and better tasting than many alternative forms of cannabis consumption.
The act of chewing -- or mastication -- also has many other beneficial effects, including improved cerebral circulation, stimulation of the basal ganglia, CV-stimulation, de-stressing, shortened hypothalamic-hypophyseal-adrenal axis, short and long term memory improvement, neuroprotection, analgesic effects, and a physical exercise effect. These attributes make the gum a far superior delivery mechanism when considering the ancillary benefits. This is the first delivery system for cannabinoids which besides the predictable delivery of the API' have additional neurophysiological benefits.
Upcoming Clinical Trials
AXIM Biotech recently announced the start of Phase II clinical trial that will evaluate CanChew+ CBD chewing gum for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In the trial, 40 patients will be subject to a randomized, double-blind, cross-over trial over a period of eight weeks. Participants will receive a maximum of six chewing gums per day, containing either 50mg of CBD or a placebo, with final results expected in June 2017.
IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder with a global prevalence ranging from 9-25% and results in around 12% of all physician visits in the United States. While the condition is not life threatening, it's extremely detrimental to quality of life and there is no cure or effective treatment options.