Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jul 2005
Source: Duncan News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Duncan News Leader
Author: Bev Dunfield
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Sativex)


Duncan's Eric Nash and Wendy Little are taking medicinal marijuana to 
the next level with Health Canada's approval to research 
cannabis-based medicines.

Phytocan is the first company in Canada to develop a cannabis-based 
product," said operations manager Wendy Little.
With the help of a local PhD specialist in plant extracts, whose 
identity cannot be revealed due to security issues, Phytocan will 
begin a 12- to 18-month initial phase to create a standardized product.

Geared toward specific conditions such as HIV, AIDS, multiple 
sclerosis, cancer and epilepsy, and pain management, the project will 
research different forms - specifically powder and liquid.

Whatever the body can absorb as quickly as possible," said Phytocan 
president Eric Nash.

There's a resurgence in plant-based medicines and people tending to 
shy away from synthetic (medications)," said Nash.

American's Bayer and GW have released a liquid cannabis-based oral 
spray called Sativex into Canadian pharmacies, which will provide 
market competition once Phytocan releases a product.

Ours will be certified organic - different in that regard," said 
Nash, adding the marijuana source for Phytocan's research is Island 
Harvest, Nash and Little's organic facility for marijuana.

While the pair was previously legally allowed to sell to multiple 
clients for medicinal purposes, they have once again been restricted 
to two clients. During a consultation in Ottawa, Nash was advised by 
Health Canada to move into cannabis-based products to give people 
more access to medicinal marijuana.

Nash and Little have received support from many people, said Nash, 
including MP Jean Crowder, former MP Reed Elley, MLA Doug Routley and 
former MLA Graham Bruce, as well Duncan council.

In a letter to Health Canada minister Ujjal Dosanjh, chief medical 
health officer of B.C., Dr. F. J. Blatherwick advises that the 
medical health officers will release an updated report in the fall on 
the need to legalize cannabis and treat it as a medical product. 
Crowder, Bruce and Duncan council expressed approval of the research 
project in letters, especially with the economic benefits for the community.

Nash said the research will be completed locally, and that during 
production stages, all packaging, labeling and manufacturing will 
create jobs in the community.

With the support of local businesses as stakeholders and Health 
Canada's conditional approval, Phytocan is ready to get the ball 
rolling on marijuana safety and efficacy research.

Patients want the Island Harvest product and Phytocan is a way of 
getting it to more people," said Little.
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