NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- CBD, the more commonly known name for cannabidiol, is one of more than a hundred compounds found in the cannabis plant. And while there are several perceptions within the public around the benefits of CBD consumption, the most widely known fact about CBD is that it is non-psychoactive. For most consumers, CBD products provide a variety of health-related benefits, brought on by pharmacological or psychological influencers. CBD oil is used in several medical applications such as for the treatment of anxiety and depression, stress relief, diabetes prevention, mitigation of pain, alleviation of cancer symptoms, and acne reduction. Overall, the increasing awareness about the medical applications of cannabidiol have caused several mainstream retailers to adapt and start selling CBD-based products. Among the retailers are CVS Health, Rite Aid, and Walgreens Boots Alliance. In addition, many countries began to adopt CBD-based products for medicinal purposes. And the global cannabidiol market is expected to increase from USD 303 Million in 2018 to USD 2.28 Billion by 2025 while registering a CAGR of 33.5%, according to data compiled by QY Research. Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc. (OTC: AMBS), Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTC: LHSIF), Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE), The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTC: SPRWF), KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTC: KSHB).
Much of the growth estimated is a result of CBD's recently acquired status as a health and wellness product. According to an article published Forbes, until recently, cannabis was looked at as medicinal- or adult-use. With CBD, a third cannabis category - wellness - is emerging. Supporters of CBD in a wide variety of products claim the compound works on everything from headaches to aching joints, relieves anxiety and skin conditions, as well as relaxes and rejuvenates all parts of the body. Yet, despite all the positive buzz around CBD products, obstacles remain and the regulatory infrastructure around such products remains complex. Currently, most of the regulations surrounding hemp-derived CBD–especially as it relates to the consumer package goods (CPG) marketplace–are the domain of the FDA, which states that it is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement. The FDA also claims that some CBD products are being marketed with unproven medical claims and are of unknown quality. Yet, earlier in 2018, the FDA has approved one CBD product, Epidiolex, oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. "This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc. (OTC: AMBS) announced yesterday that, it has acquired a controlling interest in Hempori, Inc., a CBD wellness retailer in Dallas, TX with 2 stores and a growing physical and online presence. Concurrent with this announcement, Hempori has placed an initial purchase order for hemp smokes from Emerald Organic Products, Inc. (OTCPK: EMOR), an Amarantus partner. Amarantus intends to evaluate a smoking cessation program, with an initial focus of getting feedback on the hemp smokable products from customers who are actively seeking to reduce, or cease, chronic use of cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes
"We are very pleased to have come to an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Hempori after over a year of due diligence," said Gerald Commissiong, President & CEO of Amarantus. "We began following Hempori right before they opened their first retail store in December 2018, and have been thoroughly impressed with the attention to detail and care with which Hempori manages its customers. We believe much of the value in the CBD space resides in consumer-facing operations, and that the majority of CBD users have some medical condition for which they are seeking wellness solutions. As such, we believe the concept of health-focused CBD wellness centers fits squarely into the emerging health and wellness landscape. We intend to work closely with partners to optimize the Hempori experience and expand its footprint regionally and across the United States. Amarantus will work closely with Hempori to put Amarantus' clinical trial and FDA-related experience to work in order to position Hempori as a brand distribution leader in the CBD wellness solutions space for customers with medical problems."
Under the terms of the agreement, Amarantus is issuing 25 million shares to Hempori in exchange for 51% of the outstanding shares of Hempori, and was granted an option to acquire the remaining shares from the existing shareholders until December 31, 2020 for additional common stock of Amarantus, or of a successor entity in the event Amarantus is acquired prior to year-end 2020. Hempori generated over $350,000 from its 2 storefronts in fiscal year 2019.
"We are excited to partner with Amarantus who shares a similar vision for helping customers from diverse medical backgrounds find solutions, and capturing the data in a way that may potentially ultimately allow us to make claims that will provide our products with a marketing advantage," said Grant Magers, MBA, CEO of Hempori. "The time to bring CBD to the masses is now, and we have been focused on providing a top notch customer experience that has led to very high repeat customer rate, with the focus being on education on how to use the our products based upon consumer feedback. This iterative process is the only way to gain a true understanding of how CBD can potentially benefit people, allowing us to establish real-world evidence on which to base future clinical trials that show potential benefit of our products in specific medical conditions. The initial focus on smoking cessation is due to significant inbound demand from customers."
About Tobacco, Smoking Cessation and E-Cigarettes: The global tobacco market is expected to grow from USD 689.4 Billion in 2018 to USD 934.5 Billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 3.9% during the forecast period from 2019-2026. Rising use of automated techniques in manufacturing tobacco products and online retailing is further propelling the growth are the two factors affecting the demand of the market.
Smoking cessation (also known as quitting smoking or simply quitting) is the process of discontinuing tobacco smoking. Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, which is addictive and can cause dependence. Nicotine withdrawal makes the process of quitting often difficult. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths, and more than $300 billion in healthcare costs. Seventy percent of smokers would like to quit smoking, and 50 percent report attempting to quit within the past year. Tobacco cessation significantly reduces the risk of dying from tobacco-related diseases such as coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer. Due to its link to many chronic diseases, cigarette smoking has been restricted in many public areas. In nicotine-dependent smokers, quitting smoking can lead to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal such as nicotine cravings, anxiety, irritability, depression, and weight gain. Professional smoking cessation support methods generally attempt to address nicotine withdrawal symptoms to help the client break free of nicotine addiction.
E-cigarettes containing nicotine aren't considered safe for adolescents, young adults or pregnant women. Nicotine can harm brain development in children and young adults into their early 20s and is toxic to developing fetuses. Children and adults have also been poisoned by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In youth and adult nonsmokers, e-cigarette use also poses the risk of a nicotine addiction. This could lead to long-term use of e-cigarettes, the effects of which aren't known, or to the use of traditional cigarettes. Research has shown that teen use of e-cigarettes is on the rise and associated with increased future use of traditional cigarettes. Rarely, e-cigarettes can cause severe harm. Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, mostly while the batteries are being charged.
About Hempori: The Hempori brand is active in the Hemp industry and has over 75 products that are sold in its own stores in Dallas, Texas and online via Hempori.com. Hempori has developed unique proprietary products in the Hemp industry and is actively engaged with researchers to gather data regarding the utility of its products.
About Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc.: Amarantus Bioscience Holdings (AMBS) is a JLABS alumnus biotechnology company developing treatments and diagnostics for diseases in the areas of neurology, regenerative medicine and orphan diseases through its subsidiaries.
Diagnostics: The Company's 80.01%-owned subsidiary Breakthrough Diagnostics, Inc., currently a joint venture with Todos Medical, Ltd. has licensed intellectual property rights to the Alzheimer's blood diagnostic LymPro Test® from Leipzig University that was originally developed by Dr. Thomas Arendt, as well as certain rights to multiple sclerosis diagnostic MSPrecise™ and Parkinson's diagnostic NuroPro. Amarantus entered into a joint venture agreement with Todos Medical, Ltd. (OTCQB: TOMDF) to advance the diagnostic assets, and Todos has exercised its exclusive option to acquire Amarantus' remaining ownership in Breakthrough in exchange for approximately 49% ownership of Todos. The transaction is expected to close in the frist half of 2020. Amarantus also owns approximately 30% of the common shares of Avant Diagnostics, Inc, a tumor analysis company developing Theralink®, the proprietary phosphoprotein tumor analysis platform run using reverse phase protein array (RPPA) platform.
Therapeutics: AMBS' 50.1%-owned subsidiary Elto Pharma, Inc. has development rights to eltoprazine, a Phase 2b-ready small molecule indicated for Parkinson's disease levodopa-induced dyskinesia, Alzheimer's aggression and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. AMBS acquired Cutanogen Corporation from Lonza Group in 2015 and currently owns 90.1% of that subsidiary. Cutanogen is preparing for pivotal studies with Engineered Skin Substitute (ESS) for the treatment of pediatric life-threatening severe burns. ESS is a regenerative medicine-based, autologous full-thickness skin graft technology originally developed by the Shriner's Hospital that can be used to treat severe burns, as well as several other catastrophic and cosmetic dermatological indications. AMBS' wholly-owned subsidiary, MANF Therapeutics Inc. owns key intellectual property rights and licenses from a number of prominent universities related to the development of the therapeutic protein known as mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor ("MANF"). MANF Therapeutics is developing MANF-based products as treatments for ophthalmological disorders such as Wolfram Syndrome, Retinitis Pigmentosa and Glaucoma, as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease. MANF was discovered by the Company's Chief Scientific Officer John Commissiong, PhD. Dr. Commissiong discovered MANF from AMBS' proprietary discovery engine PhenoGuard, and believes several other neurotrophic factors remain to be discovered. MANF and ESS have been licensed to Emerald Organic Products, Inc.
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Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTCQX: LHSIF) announced earlier in December that it will open its 22nd Florida location in Orlando, serving a population in excess of 2.5 million, subject to approval from the Florida Department of Health. "We continue to be laser focused on expanding our footprint throughout the state and this magnificent location in the heart of Orlando will help us attract a large population of patients in the central region of Florida," said Victor Mancebo, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. "We have been hearing from patients for quite a while their desire to have a full-service Liberty dispensary in the state's largest inland city and we're pleased to deliver the convenience and services they have grown to expect from us." The company offers a wide array of precision dosed, CBD and THC formulations across its entire portfolio of cannabis offerings, as well as hosts informational workshops on an ongoing basis that addresses the basics of cannabis, resources available for veterans, cooking with cannabis, use of concentrates and more.
Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE) announced last year that it had established a new business unit to focus on the market potential for its innovative water-soluble cannabidiol (CBD) formulation technology. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been under consideration within the pharmaceutical side of Sorrento for its interesting pharmacological properties and potential clinical benefits in multiple central nervous system, autoimmune or inflammatory disease and pain related indications. "Without distracting from our pharmaceutical business, we have the ability to leverage another Sorrento innovative technology – this time from our formulation experts – and make it available to the broader consumer market," stated Dr. Henry Ji, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Sorrento Therapeutics. "Longer-term, we may consider spinning off our CBD consumer business into an independently operated company if appropriate, while our research and clinical development team continues to explore the potential pharmaceutical applications of cannabidiol (CBD) for the medical markets."
The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQX: SPRWF) announced back in December the launch of Sugarleaf by 7AC ("Sugarleaf"). Sugarleaf is Supreme Cannabis' newest introduction of high-quality cannabis experiences to the Canadian marketplace. Sugarleaf products are created using the sugary-looking, trichome-dense, dry-cured sugar leaves from 7ACRES' coveted strains.
"We are very excited to introduce consumers to Sugarleaf by 7AC. Following on the success of our Blissco brand pre-rolls and our research into consumer preferences, we determined a premium, ready-to-smoke joint would be the perfect product to launch the Sugarleaf line," said Navdeep Dhaliwal, CEO of Supreme Cannabis. "With the addition of Sugarleaf to the Supreme Cannabis brand portfolio, we are reaching a new consumer who might be experiencing high-end cannabis for the first time and desires a convenient product format." The Supreme Cannabis Company portfolio also includes Supreme Heights, an investment platform focused on CBD brands in the UK and Europe and a brand partnership and licensing deal with Khalifa Kush Enterprises Canada.
KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: KSHB) announced last year that it has expanded its CBD footprint with the launch of a new hemp trading business focused on facilitating legally compliant hemp transactions for in-network, pre-qualified farmers and a pre-qualified buyer network. The Company has also entered into a partnership with a leader in U.S. industrial hemp farming, who will serve as a supplier for verified buyers. With the addition of the new hemp trading business, KushCo's ecosystem now services farmers, operators, extractors, brands, and distributors of legally compliant hemp-derived CBD across the entire value chain (see figure 1). With a network of more than 6,000 brands, producers, and suppliers, KushCo is able to provide end-to-end services with the ability to deliver and market hemp biomass from the farmer all the way to retail markets.
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