One of the biggest stories of 2017
has been the rise of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin
and Ethereum, and the technologies backing them up, including blockchain, a digital ledger system. As society gets more comfortable with blockchain, it appears poised to up-end various industries, including cannabis.
India Globalization Capital
(IGC) has announced that it will utilize blockchain, as well as its team of technology and healthcare experts for product identification assurance in the cannabis industry. By doing this, it hopes to solve issues such as improper product labeling, where the product is coming from and other issues that may impede sales.
“We understand the unique challenges facing the cannabis industry and believe that our team has the expertise to be the first to create meaningful solutions to address these issues using distributed ledgers inherent in blockchain technology,” IGC CEO Ram Mukunda said in a statement
Mukunda added that the NYSE-listed company would it would use blockchain for the rollout of one of its medical-trial ready products, Hyalolex, which is “aimed at reducing the buildup of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease,” according to the company.
According to a 2016 Fortune article
, blockchain appears poised to disrupt many industries, making transactions simpler and more cost-effective. It’s described as “a way to structure data” and allows “competitors to share a digital ledger across a network of computers without the need for a central authority.”
Citing data from a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, IGC claims nearly 70% of all cannabidiol products sold on the internet have problems with their labels. Some are over-labeled, while others are under-labeled, creating confusion.
IGC aims to provide blockchain-enabled solutions for both dispensaries and consumers, looking at both the consumer and enterprise portions of the market, something that has been an issue as legal cannabis consumption has increased.
IGC is the latest public company to catch the attention of bitcoin and blockchain-enthusiasts. After making the announcement yesterday, the Maryland-based company saw its stock jump more than 100%, giving it a market cap of just over $35 million.
In recent days, companies from all industries
have attached themselves to the cryptocurrency craze in hopes of garnering investor attention to themselves.
Importance of Hyalolex
Used for patients with Alzheimer’s, Hyalolex is IGC’s leading product and it aims to use a two-part strategy to commercialize it.
Starting next year, the company hopes Hyalolex will move through FDA registered pre-clinical and clinical trials. In addition to these trials, IGC said it expects to license its formulation technology to licensed cannabis dispensaries around the country, including dispensaries in Washington D.C. and Maryland, with more states to come.
Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people every year and has shown no sign of slowing down. According to data compiled
by the Texas Department of State Health Services, more than 5.5 million Americans had Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, including 200,000 under the age of 65.
In 2016, Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases are expected to cost
the U.S. $259 billion in related costs, potentially rising to as much as $1.1 trillion by 2050.
In addition to Hyalolex, IGC has three other products ready for medical-trial: Natrinol, a natural substitute for Marinol used to relieve nausea, vomiting and appetite stimulation in patients who have AIDS and cancer; Caesafin, used to help alleviate seizures in dogs and cats; and Serosapse, used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease.