Chronic pain is a widespread condition affecting about one-third of the American population and billions of other people around the world. Despite their widely known dangers, opioids quickly became one of the most prescribed and profitable classes of drugs in the world. The ensuing opioid crisis has made overdoses a leading cause of non-disease deaths in the United States, as well as an emerging health crisis worldwide.

FSD Pharma Inc. (CSE: HUGE) (OTCQB: FSDDF) (FRA: 0K9) has already staked out its plans to address this crisis through endocannabinoid-based treatment options. After partnering with SciCann Therapeutics, the company recently announced the planned acquisition of a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the space.

Opioids vs. Cannabinoids

Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans at an annual cost of $600 billion, according to the Institute of Medicine. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, between 20 and 30 percent of chronic pain patients misuse opioid drugs and up to 12 percent go on to develop an addiction. More than 60 Americans ultimately die from opioid doses every day, making it a leading cause of non-disease death after suicide.

Cannabinoids, like opioids, are known for their analgesic and pain relieving effects. Rather than binding to opioid receptors, cannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors to block pain signals. These parallel mechanisms of action mean that cannabinoids and opioids could be used together to combat pain. Early research suggests that cannabinoids could be especially helpful for neuropathic and centralized pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

FSD Pharma has taken an active approach to targeting the endocannabinoid system as a way toward reducing pain without—or with fewer—opioids. In partnership with SciCann, a Canadian-Israeli specialty pharmaceutical company, it’s already helping develop and commercialize cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals. A pilot study in Pittsburgh, PA is testing the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

FSD Pharma’s Acquisition

FSD Pharma more recently announced the $17.5 million acquisition of Prismic Pharmaceuticals Inc., a U.S.-based specialty pharmaceutical company developing non-addictive prescription drugs with unique safety profiles with the goal of addressing the opioid crisis, pending various closing conditions. Prismic’s drug formulations are focused on the ‘entourage effect’ that micro-palmitoylethanolamide has on certain drugs impacting the endocannabinoid system.

“This transaction symbolizes FSD Pharma’s vision of acquiring a platform company to advance research and development of FDA-approved applications of synthetic cannabinoids and other synergistic molecules,” said FSD Pharma Executive Co-Chairman & CEO Dr. Raza Bokhari. “Led by Peter Moriarty, one of the founders of Shire Pharmaceuticals, Prismic’s management team has built a solid foundation for a specialty pharmaceutical company.”

Prismic has exclusive worldwide licensing rights (except for Italy and Spain) to a patented form of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) that has an ‘entourage effect’ on certain drugs impacting the endocannabinoid system. For example, the company’s lead drug candidate, PP-101, is a 600mg tablet form of micro-PEA that is used in conjunction with pregabalin (Lyrica®) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Future drugs will focus on cannabinoids and opioids.  

Looking Ahead

FSD Pharma Inc. (CSE: HUGE) (OTCQB: FSDDF) (FRA: 0K9) has been increasingly positioning itself as a leader in the research and development of pain management solutions targeting the endocannabinoid system. In conjunction with its 3.8 million sq. ft. former Kraft facility, the company is uniquely positioned to become a leading producer of specialty cannabis products—including potential pharmaceutical combinations.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.fsdpharma.com.

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