Two Israeli pharmaceutical companies are collaborating with a medical cannabis company to develop what’s being touted as the first medical cannabis rectal suppositories specifically targeted to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries and Rafa have signed a partnership pact with PlantEXT, an Israeli-Canadian medical cannabis company, to co-develop the products. Aimed at decreasing inflammation in the intestine, the treatment contains a proprietary formula derived from cannabis plant ingredients.
The therapy would be available in Israel to IBD patients authorized to be treated with medical cannabis. Panaxia sells rectal THC suppositories in the United States for pain and nausea relief, to alleviate spastic conditions, and to increase appetite.
The company’s website said suppositories, which can have both local and systemic effects, are generally recommended for patients who find it difficult to ingest tablets orally because of nausea, trouble swallowing, dietary restrictions, or when a rapid response is required.
“The agreement that was signed … is an additional milestone in revolutionizing accessibility of medical cannabis also in Israel, which we are leading together with Rafa,” Dadi Segal, PhD, Panaxia chief executive officer, said in a press release.
”By enabling cannabis accessibility via traditional pharmaceutical delivery systems, and which are not based on smoking, we are striving to enable patients who are eligible for medical cannabis treatment for a wide range of diseases to be able to benefit from its unique attributes, subject at all times to the advice of a qualified medical specialist.”
For IBD, top PlantEXT researcher Hinanit Koltai said the aim is to discover which active cannabis ingredients markedly reduce colon inflammation.
Unlike oral medications, which are first metabolized by the liver, suppositories’ active ingredients are swiftly absorbed through blood vessels.
IBD is made up of a group of autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, that cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, patients experience bouts of abdominal pain and diarrhea, frequently accompanied by weight loss and rectal bleeding.
A 2012 study on colitis showed that mice receiving rectal cannabidiol experienced greater relief than with oral dosage.
In related news, new surveys on medical cannabis use for IBD symptoms — one each for patients and specialists — have been launched in Australia.
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