Syqe Medical has received approval from regulator Health Canada for a cannabis inhalation device to be used by patients for relief from chronic pain.
The Syqe Inhaler’s metered-dose delivery system allows patients to benefit from very low doses of medical cannabis, and its user-friendly design is easy to understand and use, the Tel-Aviv, Israel-based company said in a statement Tuesday.
The inhaler was issued a licence on March 4, according to Health Canada’s product listings. Three other cannabis inhalers have been approved by the regulator: the Volcano Medic, Volcano Medic 2 and the Mighty Medic — all of which are made by Canopy-owned Storz & Bickel.
The device disrupts the way medical cannabis is delivered, says Michael Milloy, general manager of Syqe Medical in Canada.
“It will allow physicians to medically authorize low doses of medical cannabis, but still achieve an optimal level of symptom control,” he says in an email. “And not have to worry about the psychoactivity of too much THC.”
Patients looking to remain functional and productive will see value in the device, according to Milloy.
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With each inhale, the device delivers a specific dose of cannabinoids, which relieves pain without adverse reactions, company founder and CEO Perry Davidson said in a statement.
“It is our hope that the Syqe Inhaler will help alleviate physician concerns about adverse reactions and psychoactivity when prescribing medical cannabis,” he added.
Medical director of CPM Centres for Pain Management — an organization that offers pain services in the Canadian healthcare system — Dr. Peter M. Blecher says cannabis for medical use has been hampered by unreliable dosing methods, like smoking, and physicians have been looking for an appropriate alternative.
Finding a dose that provides a consistent result has been problematic for health care professionals, but the device’s precision on micro-dosing THC will fix the issue, Blecher says.
Low-dose THC delivered by Syqe device effective for pain management, research shows
After eight years of research, the device got its first approval in 2019 by the Israeli Ministry of Health.
A study funded by Syqe Medical published in the European Journal of Pain shows that 500 micrograms of THC is an effective dose to produce medical properties without psychoactive effects.
“This feasibility trial demonstrated that a metered-dose cannabis inhaler delivered precise and low THC doses, produced a dose-dependent and safe analgesic effect in patients with neuropathic pain [or] complex-regional pain syndrome,” reads the study.
Another study by Israeli researchers published in the journal Palliat Support Care shows patients using the device had no adverse reactions after a year of use and beyond. The inhalers received positive feedback from medical staff and patients, according to the research.
The device takes two seconds to heat and aerosolize the medical product, which is then inhaled. It uses cartridges that contain “VaporChips” which are pre-loaded with a precise amount of THC.
“We have identified a specific strain that we feel can deliver the outcomes we are pursuing from a patient point of view,” Milloy explains.
Syqe Medical has proprietary technology that processes the flower so the plant integrity isn’t damaged, he says. At this point only THC-dominant strains are incorporated into the tamperproof cartridges.
“The organization continues to look at other [research and development] opportunities, but right now it’s THC dominant strains,” he adds.
For now, the device is approved for medical marijuana patients in Israel and Canada. Milloy says the device is in the pre-launch phase in Canada and hopes to be in market later this year.
In other studies, smokeless medical cannabis inhalation devices like CannaHALER have been shown to be effective for pain management.
Correction (2021-5-20 10:45 a.m.): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the Sqye device was the first cannabis inhaler to be approved by Health Canada. Three Storz & Bickel vaporizers were approved previously.
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