An Israeli pharma-tech company has come up with the world’s first metered-dose cannabis inhaler and it could vastly change the way medical patients ingest the plant. It took eight years and $83 million dollars for Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical to develop the new product, which will allow cannabis consumption to be more effective and precise for medical marijuana patients.
The Syqe Inhaler received the world’s first ever regulatory approval from the Israeli Ministry of Health as a medical device combined with cannabis, and will be available for purchase by licensed patients in Israel.
The unique devices will be distributed and marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:TEVA).
Could the technology reduce the need for edible products?
The new technology will allow doctors to give precise cannabis doses to patients for the first time, which is crucial to get the desired results.
Cannabis edible products have been a popular option for new and experienced patients, because when smoking the drug it’s hard to gauge how much THC and CBD a patient is receiving. It’s much easier to keep track of how much cannabinoids you’re ingesting by counting a number of gummy bears than by consuming cannabis by inhaling a joint.
And while edibles offer a better dosing solution, the gummy bears, candy, chocolate, or other forms of pot-infused foods, still pose the risk of being consumed by a child or even an unassuming adult by mistake. This is one of the main reasons why Canadian regulators have heavily restricted the appearance, ingredients and marketing of edibles, which will become legal for sale at the end of the year.
The danger is real and has resulted in people of all ages ending up emergency rooms with issues such as nausea, vomiting and even psychosis.
But giving medical marijuana patients a way to consume cannabis without the need for edibles could help minimize this risk.
Inhalers may take years to reach mainstream
As promising as the new cannabis inhaler is for patients, it doesn’t come cheap. At the steep price of about CAD$700, it’s hardly affordable for medical marijuana patients. On top of medical bills and aging patients being on fixed incomes, the inhaler would be hard to fit into most budgets.
But the technology does create a new possibility for the industry:
[Eighty per cent] of cannabis patients inhale the plant.
For too long, physicians who wish to treat these patients have been without the most basic clinical knowledge on dosing, efficacy and adverse events of cannabis.
For 8 years Syqe has been developing proprietary technologies for the administration of raw plants, and through our clinical trials we were able to determine the recommended dosage of inhaled cannabis down to the microgram
Currently, the product is only available for licensed patients to purchase it in Israel, but Syqe is looking to get product approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which could open major growth opportunities in the world’s leading pot market. However, no timeline was given on expansion into the U.S. or elsewhere.
Israel has continued to be at the forefront of many advancements in the cannabis industry and a world leader in marijuana research compared to other liberal democracies. Numerous breakthrough studies are coming from Israel, including recent ones showing cannabis can potentially treat brain injuries, and autism.