Sales based on Israeli startup Lyotropic Delivery Systems (LDS) Biotech‘s nanotechnology have started in the US. The commercial launch of its cannabis-derived compound, which aims to relieve inflammation and pain, was announced earlier this month by LDS and US based company Ananda Scientific at a marijuana business conference held in Las Vegas.

LDS’s new cannabis-based technology increases the amount of cannabidiol compound (CBD) absorbed into the bloodstream and is more effective than other available solutions, without a narcotic effect, the company said.

LDS and Ananda Scientific, a privately held Delaware corporation that produces and markets cannabis based products, entered into a licensing agreement in 2015. As part of the accord Ananda gained rights to LDS’s cannabinoid drug delivery nanotechnology for the development of cannabidiol (CBD)-based oral products. Ananda Scientific said it expects the sales of the new product to reach millions of dollars in the US alone within the first year.

The products will be sold over the counter in the US as they are marketed as a nutraceutical product — derived from food sources with extra health benefits — and not as a medication. They are based on a technology developed by Professor Nissim Garti from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and licensed to LDS by Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University.

CBD is a non-psychoactive antioxidant extracted from the cannabis plant that is rapidly gaining importance due to its numerous benefits to humans’ overall well-being. Unlike THC, which is the part of the cannabis leaf that makes you high, CBD is a nontoxic, anti-inflammatory substance that is very well tolerated by the body with few side effects, researchers say.

Illustration of cannabis (Courtesy)

Illustration of cannabis (Courtesy)

“We have developed nano-droplets that absorb on their interface only the CBD compound from the cannabis, and not the THC,” said Garti in a phone interview. “Unlike other CBD formulations that are available on the market and are dispersed in oil, our product is better and more quickly absorbed by the body. Our CBD formulation is also protected from being transformed, after it is ingested, into THC which is a risk factor in other existing products.”

The company said its nano-formulations can remain stable on shelves for long periods of time without release or decomposition of the bioactive material. The product is sold in a variety of liquid forms and can be dissolved into water or taken in drops under the tongue, Garti said.

Over-the-counter cannabis products are not yet permitted for sale in Israel.

Lyotropic Delivery Systems (LDS) Biotech Prof Nissim Garti (Courtesy).

Lyotropic Delivery Systems (LDS) Biotech Prof Nissim Garti (Courtesy).

Israel’s reputation as a high-tech hub and a lax regulatory environment has allowed the startup nation to become a leader in cannabis technology, with dozens of local firms focusing on the medical, nutraceutical markets. The US market for both recreational and medicinal cannabis is projected to reach $7.1 billion in 2016, representing a 25% growth over the previous year. Nearly 60% of Americans now live in states that have legalized some form of marijuana use and sale.

Typically, when taken orally, the user does not generally benefit from the full effect of CBD: while in the gastrointestinal tract the compound transforms into THC, is destroyed during digestion, or fails to reach the bloodstream for other reasons. Thus, only a fraction of the ingested CBD yields any effect. In contrast, CBD coupled with LDS technology is not degraded in the gastrointestinal tract, and the nanotechnology enables swift absorption and greatly enhances the transport of CBD to the bloodstream and then to relevant sites in the body where it can take effect, Garti said.

LDS and Ananda Scientific's Hygia Bliss cannabidiol product (Courtesy)

LDS and Ananda Scientific’s Hygia Bliss cannabidiol product (Courtesy)

Founded in 2013, LDS is a developer of new architectures of self-assembled nanodroplets which function as carriers of bioactive substances. These liquid structures can serve as novel delivery vehicles for a variety of materials and drugs. LDS’s products are designed for oral, dermal and transdermal, as well other delivery routes. The startup has various products in various stages of preclinical and clinical stages as part of agreements with global companies. The company was set up by Yissum, Garti and Australian investors.