ICCI is dedicated to providing research and development services to the cannabis industry in all facets, whether it be for medical cannabis product development, industrial hemp applications, or refining hemp seed nutrition.
Medical cannabis and health product support:
ICCI’s research and development (R&D) capabilities facilitate the creation of cannabis-based medicines and health products by following two distinct development models:
First is the formal pharmaceutical track for botanical products model (as previously pursued by GW Pharmaceuticals for Sativex® and Epidiolex®). This approach requires the most rigorous application of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) throughout the process, and entails the performance of Phase I-III clinical trials to demonstrate the safety, efficacy and consistency of novel preparations. ICCI and its partners have the personnel and experience to assist in every aspect of this process, whether it be consulting on chemovar selection to match target clinical indications, aiding with cultivation and extraction procedures, contract research organization (CRO) assistance in performance and management of clinical trials, or helping to negotiate the maze of international drug laws and regulations.
The laws of various countries allow for the development of cannabis-based natural health products as supplements and cosmetics, which is where the supplements and cosmetics model can be used. This approach still requires the rigorous application of quality and standardization practices, but is less stringent in the area of required levels of proof of efficacy, since such products cannot claim to cure or treat specific diseases. Many companies that are engaged in the development of products in this category would benefit from ICCI’s guidance to support their development programs. ICCI can assist you with exploring various study designs for observational trials of your products, and addressing quality monitoring of production and distribution processes that will distinguish you from others in the marketplace by producing safe and consistent products.
Despite many international prohibitions on cannabis, extensive R&D on the breeding of cannabis plants with very low THC content (commonly known as hemp), has continued. Hemp can be used for many different purposes. Seeds and their products (e.g. protein, oil etc.) have been introduced as superfoods and are also used in cosmetics. Hemp flowers are used in herbal teas, herbal spa extracts, and beer production, and cannabinoid extracts from flowers are used in food and dietary supplements. Hemp fiber has been used for decades for making clothing and paper products, and more recent applications include biodegradable plastics, and as a base material for the production of supercapacitors used in batteries. Hemp shiv (wooden part of stalk) is used for new building materials (e.g. HempCrete™).
Along with its many human and industrial uses, hemp has very deep and fast-growing roots which are capable of providing phytoremediation of soil contaminated with heavy metals and other pollutants. Thus, hemp could play a key role in improving the overall quality of soil worldwide or decontaminating soil after chemical or nuclear accidents. There is clearly immense potential in this sustainable crop that has a multitude of applications yet to be discovered.
Hemp Seed Nutrition:
Hemp seed is quite possibly the single most complete nutritional food source on the planet. It not only contains edestin, a high-quality, easily digestible protein unique to hemp, but contains exceptionally high quantities of two key essential fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3. Hemp seed and its husbandry may represent an attractive alternative crop for farming in both developing and developed countries. ICCI is committed to assisting our clients in R&D on hemp seed nutrition, as well as the developing dedicated cultivars that easily produce healthy and robust crops.
ICCI Innovations: In-House Research
Beyond providing R&D assistance to our clients and partners, ICCI is dedicated to the pursuit of its own original ideas. These include the following broad categories:
Clinical trials for established and novel indications.
Our areas of interest include investigating the use of cannabis-based medicines in specific chronic pain conditions, opioid-sparing, treatment of drug addiction, antimicrobial effects, and primary treatment of cancers.
Development of diagnostic testing for endocannabinoid system dysfunction.
ICCI is investigating how specific clinical conditions that may be associated with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) deficiencies might be more easily diagnosed and treated if there was a diagnostic tool available for testing ECS status.
Cannabis and gut/soil microbiomes.
The gut microbiome (i.e. the variety of bacteria in the human digestive tract) plays a vital role in mediating health and disease. Recent research points to an integral relationship between the ECS and the gut microbiome, but much more research is required. Similarly, understanding the microbiome in the soil, and how it affects cannabis health and husbandry, is a novel area of research that requires attention.
Cannabis genomics and landraces.
The genetic characteristics of a given cannabis plant are a key factor in determining whether it would be best used as a medicine, a fiber or a nutrient source. We are investigating how the plant’s genetics influence its cannabinoid and terpenoid biosynthetic pathways, and how this knowledge can be applied to optimizing selective breeding of cannabis chemovars. We are also interested in supporting research on cannabis landraces (i.e. original cannabis varieties from around the world that have grown naturally in particular environments for many generations). Cannabis landraces have the genetic attributes to thrive in challenging conditions, with innate resistance to diseases and pests, and may express novel biochemical properties that could be of great importance to future biomedical research.
Novel Industrial Applications of Cannabis.
Cannabis has immense potential for further development of a diverse array of products including antiseptics and biodegradable cleaning agents, among others.