Idrasil: The First Medical Marijuana Pill, and Parallels in Opiate Market

California-based C3 International [the holding company of not-for-profit C3 Patients Association] has brought to market the first medical marijuana pill, known as Idrasil. Now, the company is looking to enter the pain market, pitching the pill as an all-natural pain relieving neutraceutical with the potential to accomplish in medical marijuana what morphine did to opium a century ago.

Idrasil is through regulatory: now, the next step is increasing awareness both for the product itself, and the potential for cannabinoid pills as a legitimate therapeutic opportunity.

Cannabis contains over 85 cannabinoids, a class of diverse chemical compounds which activate 2 cannabinoid receptors, believed to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, and pain relieving effects of cannabis. Marinol, which has been on the market for over two decades, is a synthetic form of just a single cannabinoid (THC). Idrasil, on the other hand, is an all natural cannabis plant extract containing the full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids.

OneMedRadio spoke with C3 International Chairman Steele Clarke Smith III about the unique delivery technology behind Idrasil, and trends in the sector related to market opportunity, necessity for non-inhaled delivery and dialogue in the medical community.

Click to listen to the audio, and view the transcript below.

Matthew Margolis:        OneMedRadio welcomes Steele Clarke Smith, Chairman of C3 International, the holding company for C3 Patients Association developing Idrasil, the first legal medical cannabis pill. C3 Patients Association is a not-for-profit entity operating legally in California to serve medical cannabis patients. Thank you from joining us, Steele.

Steele Clarke Smith:        Thank you, Matt.

Matthew Margolis:        I want to start with a snapshot of Idrasil. Give us an overview.

Steele Clarke Smith:        Idrasil is the first all-natural extracted cannabis pill. It contains all natural phytocannabinoids containing THC and CBD in a sterile, standardized and consistent pill. This pill is a form that physicians can feel comfortable writing on their prescription pad. That prescription can be reimbursed by most insurance companies except for Medicare and Medicaid in California. All private insurance is reimbursable.

Matthew Margolis:        Go into some detail about how cannabinoid receptors connect with pain relief.

Steele Clarke Smith:        Active THC in combination with CBD works to mitigate pain in the same way opioids work on opioid receptors to mitigate pain. We have endocannabinoid receptors naturally occurring in or bodies just like we have endo-opioid receptors naturally occurring. It’s the reason why opiates work so well for pain relief, particularly musculoskeletal pain. And cannabinoids work very well with neuropathic pain. It’s just part of our physiology as humans.

MM:        What is the difference between Idrasil and Marinol, which has been available for decades?

SCS:        Marinol is synthetic THC. It’s considered a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol molecule that replicates THC in its active form. Marinol contains no natural cannabinoids, no CBD, CBN, or CBG, or any of the other important phytocannabinoids that we recognize as having therapeutic benefits. Marinol is simply a single molecule, that after 25 years most physicians will tell you patients have reported that it does not work.

MM:       Why is important for THC to be available in the pill form?

SCS:        For many years, particularly in California for 20 years since cannabis has been legal [there], the medical community recognizes the anecdotal therapeutic benefit of cannabis. Too many patients for too many years have reported therapeutic benefits for a variety, a wide variety of ailments. As such, the medical community knows and is aware that cannabinoids are valuable in medicine. The problem is that cannabinoids are only available in dispensaries. Dispensaries only offer those cannabinoids typically in their raw or concentrated form, raw being the flower. These are concentrated forms that need to be smoked, and that’s the big problem with the medical community writing cannabinoid [scripts] is the lack of desire for cannabinoids to be readily ingested via the lungs. So a much safer form of ingestion already accepted by the medical community is the pill or oral ingestion, through the stomach and first pass metabolism.

As such, Idrasil is the first form of all the natural cannabinoids with active THC in a pill that’s standardized and consistent. The next point would be that consistency. When a patient goes to a dispensary and buys a bud from that dispensary ,they only know the name of that bud. They don’t know where it came from, how it was manufactured, and they certainly don’t know batch to batch, lot to lot, if that medicine is consistent. Idrasil’s production is derived from mother genetics that are cloned, and those clones maintain the genetic integrity batch to batch, lot to lot. With our proprietary extraction and conversion process, we’re able to maintain that consistency and standardization through the physician to the patient.

MM:        You touched on it earlier, but go into some more detail about reimbursement.

SCS:        We use a set of codes known as ABC codes or alternative billing codes. We have successfully acquired and registered for a set of codes that cover the various strengths of Idrasil. We have submitted through our third party billing provider a claim for reimbursement and have had that claim successfully adjudicated. We are replicating that process. The only gap between us and that process now is the world knowing about Idrasil. Our stage 2 funding is wholly for advertising and sales and marketing, TV ads and our new website. We are very proud of what we feel is a world-class portal for science and cannabinoid therapeutic information.

MM:        So while we’re on the subject, can you give us some history of the company’s financial structure?

SCS:        We’re in our second round of funding. Our first round was completed the end of 2012. We raised $2M plus a $0.5M contribution from myself personally. $2.5M got us to proof of concept, build out of our manufacturing facilities, our website, our marketing, plan, and currently we have a sales rep team.

MM:        I want to shift gears and talk about market opportunity. Firstly, what are the initial consumer therapeutic markets you’re going to enter?

SCS:        The primary markets we’re going after are pain, nausea, [and] nausea in oncology markets related to chemotherapy. Third would be insomnia, and fourth would be the psychological issues markets, depression and anxiety patients.

MM:        What data can you highlight from these indications?

SCS:        At our website under the doctors information section at www.idrasilrx.com we feel we have world-class information, both anecdotal and links to recent studies for a variety of ailments in which cannabis can be beneficial.

MM:        How is the consumer market here growing?

SCS:        In California, the [cannabis] market is currently $2B. We have a large baby boomer population that is realizing that cannabis actually has value, and if their doctor is willing to write it in a form that they can get it reimbursed by their insurance most baby boomers are comfortable with cannabis in a pill.

MM:        In the medical community, there’s obviously some significant debate over this therapeutic option.

SCS:        There’s a new debate about cannabis. There is a new indication called clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, CECD. Now what that basically says is that since cannabinoids were removed from the human condition in about the 1920s, prior to the ‘20s humans used cannabis, primarily hemp in many forms, in oils, food, the seed, rope, paper, medicine. Cannabis was integral to the human condition. Now the clinical endocannabinoid deficiency theory further goes on to state that cannabinoids are the fuel to the immunodeficiency system.

Now if cannabinoids are removed from the human condition in the ‘20s and we have now 2, 3, 4 generations of humans who are clinically endocannabinoid deficient, one can now see how potentially these ailments that are effectively a ghost in the system. Like fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, these are diseases that the medical community is putting labels on conditions that could potentially be clinical endocannabinoid deficiencies first. Many of the ailments that I just named are at least maintained, if not helped in some way by cannabis. This is too exciting. This is too revolutionary to ignore and this is where I believe the future frontier for cannabis discussion truly resides.

MM:        So lastly, what are your opinions about recent legislation making medical marijuana more accessible?

SCS:        These are exciting times. Our President Obama, I am convinced, is not going to leave office in his second term without having freed and liberated the cannabis plant. He will have worked with congress to successfully reschedule cannabis for one to a three ideally for purposes for a pill that can be distributed to patients in need. The science is there. Cannabis is good medicine. I believe that medicine, the investment community, and the political world all understand this. It’s just going to take some fleshing out of the issues in order for all of the entities to find that sought after common ground.

MM:        That was a company snapshot of C3 International with Chairman Steele Clarke Smith. To learn more, visit www.idrasilrx.com or call 855-Idrasil to receive patient, doctor, and investor information. With OneMedRadio, this is Matt Margolis signing off.

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