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Delivering Cannabis Over The Blood-Brain Barrier

By Jacqueline Havelka
Jul 10, 2018

Cannabis company Lexaria Biosciences’ (OTCQX:LXRP) DehydraTECH drug delivery platform delivers various drugs across the blood-brain barrier, including vitamins, testosterone, NSAIDs, and nicotine. Even more exciting, the company claims it can deliver cannabinoids, terpenoids, and terpenes.

Recently, the company demonstrated enhanced drug delivery to brain tissue using animal nicotine delivery studies. The research showed that 560 percent more nicotine was delivered to the brain tissue when the DehydraTECH platform was used.

Lexaria's DehydraTECH drug delivery platform

While Lexaria’s latest research was originally focused on nicotine delivery across the blood-brain barrier, the research shows promise for far-reaching applications. Lexaria’s is trying to develop an oral nicotine product that is just as effective as inhaled nicotine but without the cancerous side effects that come with a combustible product in cigarette form. But the research suggested much more—that DehydraTECH shows promise in transporting other substances across the barrier that could ultimately treat these debilitating nervous system disorders.

This could mean big news for Lexaria Biosciences because penetration of the blood-brain barrier has long been an obstacle in medicine. The blood-brain barrier does an amazing job of protecting the brain. Large molecules can’t pass through, while small molecules are usually sequestered by the liver. Diseases like epilepsy, other neurological diseases and brain trauma are associated with a “leaky” blood-brain barrier. This barrier protects the brain from pathogens circulating in the bloodstream, but at the same time, this protection makes it challenging to get anything across the barrier, making it difficult to treat conditions like nervous system disorders.

Currently, only a few pharmaceutical ingredients work in crossing the barrier, and there is no widely accepted technique to deliver any active ingredient directly to the brain. When treating central nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, bacterial and viral infections, and cancers of the brain, the traditional methods of crossing the barrier involve binding the drug to a carrier, but these methods have their problems.

Lexaria might be on the brink of changing that. The company originally developed DehydraTECH as a method of increasing cannabinoid bioavailability, but Lexaria quickly applied the technology to a broad group of areas outside of the cannabis industry. Lexaria currently has approximately 50 granted patents and patents pending as part of their tremendous progress of building and expanding the DehydraTECH platform. Lexaria filed a new U.S. patent after this latest research discovery.

The newest patent expands the DehydraTECH platform as “innovative treatment options for central nervous system diseases and disorders, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, neuropathic pain, and more.” Lexaria’s hope is that they can leverage this new patent to develop further products to use with the DehydraTECH™ platform to help with these diseases.

Researchers worldwide are on a quest for an effective technology to take active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) across the blood-brain barrier while maintaining the API’s effectiveness.

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