Photo by Elsa Olofsson

Australia’s New Found Delivery Method for Medicinal Marijuana Leaves Researchers Hopeful

It seems almost crazy that amidst the 38 states and territories that have legalized medical marijuana, there are still parts of this country where one cannot consume cannabis in any form. Yet, for other nations, the illegal title placed upon the green plant is not strange nor noteworthy. In Australia, the medicinal use was formally legalized at the federal level in 2016 yet a lot of restrictions still remain, basically keeping marijuana in the illegal category. In the small situations of legality, Australians have dived right in, revealing and pushing the scientific value of marijuana. And recently its proven worthwhile, with new research coming out of Curtin University in Western Australia showing a promising new delivery method for CBD treatments.

As interest in treating neurological diseases with CBD has grown, a few limitations to the treatment process have emerged. The CBD compound is lipophilic meaning the body cannot absorb it easily. Additionally, cannabinoids are sensitive to light and temperature making its storage more complicated than it seems. These limitations led the Australian researchers to investigate how to decrease the demise and make marijuana a stronger medical property.

Encapsulation of CBD was found to increase the efficiency rate by 40 times in animal models than when it was delivered in liquid form. The capsules were white, tiny and of a round-shape, and, when consumed, were absorbed faster and penetrated the brain quicker. The study does highlight further tests are required to understand the stability of the capsules, but for now the different form gives another avenue to strengthen the administration of medicinal marijuana — particularly in regards to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries.

“Taken together, the outcomes of this study indicate the encapsulation may protect CBD from oxidation, degradation by light, and acidic digestion within the stomach, enhancing the absorption through the GI tract and cumulative plasma bioavailability,” the researchers write.

The different form gives another avenue to strengthen the administration of medicinal marijuana — particularly in regards to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries.

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The study utilized a lower than typical dosage to allow for short-term detectability and to address the difference in metabolic rates between mice and humans. While short-term studies such as these are not overly common, other recent research focusing on the brain has also taken the short-term approach.

“At 0.3 hours post oral administration, the plasma levels of the CBD capsule group were over 2-fold higher than the naked CBD oil group,” the study stated. “Whilst in the brain, the CBD concentrations of the CBD capsule and the naked oil groups were low, but comparable.”

While this research was conducted in Australia, it’s funding came from Zelira Therapeutics Ltd. — a global biopharmaceutical company with a focus on developing CBD based medicines for a variety of conditions for use across the world.

Enhancing the delivery of CBD through these capsules holds promise and hope for future therapies and treatments with increased safety, reduced cost and improved effectiveness.

Photo credit: Elsa Olofsson

Helen is print reporter, broadcaster and a senior in college working on a BA and an MA in broadcasting and media. Her full bio is here.

Helen is print reporter, broadcaster and a senior in college working on a BA and an MA in broadcasting and media. Her full bio is here.

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