Dutch company Ofinext plans to produce cannabis oil in compliance with pharmaceutical regulations. This is the first time a safe alternative to illegal cannabis oil will be made available for medicinal use. Production is to start at the end of the year.
At the moment, cannabis oil is already being produced on a minor scale by local pharmacies, but the production process is rather expensive. There is also a flourishing illegal trade, with no guarantee of the quality and effectiveness of cannabis oil. Many patients therefore prefer to continue smoking cannabis instead of switching to the oil. Large-scale production of cannabis oil under pharmaceutical conditions did not exist up until now, but that is about to change.
Plant-identical cannabis oil
Ofinext is a partnership between Groningen-based Lab Ofichem and Phytonext from Wageningen.
The latter has developed plant-identical cannabis oil that will be produced by Lab Ofichem based on the strict regulations of the pharmaceutical industry. ‘Unlike other cannabinoids, this cannabis oil contains all the beneficial substances of the plant. Now, for the first time, patients have a decent alternative’, says Juriën Koster of Ofinext. So-called full-spectrum cannabis extracts produced according to pharmaceutical regulations (Good Manufacturing Practice) are not widely available yet. Ofinext- extracts are the first to meet this requirement.
Wider acceptance of cannabis
For years, cannabis was struggling due to its bad image. Slowly but surely, however, things seem to be changing. Worldwide, a lot of research is being done into the medicinal properties of the plant. In North America in particular, companies are investing billions of euros in this new industry. ‘The Netherlands has a lot of know-how and experience in the field of cannabis, but we now need to take things to the next level quickly. If not, others will catch up and we will lose our competitive advantage.’
Higher effectiveness, fewer side effects
Cannabis has the potential to replace many existing medications. It can provide relief for many conditions for which there is currently no good drug available. The problem, however, is that many patients still have to smoke the product. It can be administered in an isolated version (as CBD or THC), but many users do not want that.
‘Ofinext’s extracts contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. There is scientific evidence that these extracts are better than the isolated cannabinoids currently on the market. They increase effectiveness and reduce side effects. The extracts can be processed into different methods of administration so patients no longer have to smoke cannabis. It can be used to develop drugs for various diseases,’ says Koster.
Ofinext is a joint venture between Laboratorium Ofichem and Phytonext. Both have legal permission to engage in research and development of cannabis extracts for many years. This joint venture allows to link the pharmaceutical knowledge from Groningen to the botanical knowledge from Wageningen.
The Ofichem Group has been developing, producing and distributing active pharmaceutical ingredients for more than 40 years in accordance with strict international FDA and GMP pharmaceutical regulations. ‘This collaboration fits in perfectly with our mission to help improve human and animal health based on regulated production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs),’ says Weite Oldenziel, CEO of the Ofichem Group.
Phytonext is part of the Wageningen incubator BOX and has developed a unique patented extraction technology that enables the production of full-spectrum extracts at a low temperature, making sure all valuable substances are retained. ‘This joint venture allows us to put our invention into practice and make it available to society. It’s a major breakthrough in the field of food, health and pharma,’ says Eral Osmanoglou, Managing Director of Phytonext.