In an early show from the tobacco industry that it is embracing the rising popularity of cannabis and less demand for cigarettes, one of the world's largest tobacco companies is getting into marijuana.

Imperial Brands, makers of Kool, Salem, Winston, and the vapour device myblu, has a venture arm that participated in a Series A fundraising round for Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT); it's a start-up researching medical uses of cannabis, of which actor Sir Patrick Stewart is an adviser. Snoop Dogg's cannabis-focused venture firm, Casa Verde Capital, contributed $10 million to the round.

The UK-based OCT is researching cannabinoid compounds to test which can be turned into effective drugs or treatments. Like other research-stage biotech companies, it's working on developing intellectual property around these compounds. The investment from Imperial would allow the tobacco brand to diversify outside of their controversial products and to support OCT's research on pain, oncology treatment, inflammation, and gastrointestinal diseases. The startup is concurrently seeking a research partnership, a laboratory in Europe, and scientists as well as policymakers for its advisory board.

While recreational weed might seem like the hot talk of North America, the market for cannabis-based drugs is a global affair. In just two years, multiple countries have created new cannabis markets—Germany, Australia, Brazil, and Bulgaria, to name only a few. Unfortunately, funding cannabinoid research is still a challenge.

We just saw the first marijuana-derived epilepsy drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration last week. The FDA's approval of GW Pharmaceuticals' drug, Epidiolex, presents a massive opportunity for biotech and pharmaceutical companies and could allow more research to take place on the medicinal properties of the marijuana plant.

  Posted: Monday, July 2nd, 7:42pm 5 months ago
Profile PictureWritten By: Parker Wallace

Parker is a cannabis enthusiast to the core who shares a keen interest in listening to what others have to say and understanding what’s important to them. Those who know Parker know that his passion for health and wellness runs deep, and his love of Canada even deeper!

Roottie keeps me up to date on all things cannabis. From new uses for CBD to opportunities that affect my business, Roottie is my source. Roottie provides informative and entertaining information that is up to date and accessible. -Karla Watson - Tact HR Services

Break It Up