In Australia, weed edibles can get government patents.
Food biosciences company Lexaria received a “Notice of Acceptance” this week from the Australian Patent Office to infuse non-psychotropic cannabis molecules, such as CBD (cannabidiol), into edibles in such a way that the body can absorb 500 percent more of the active components than via traditional methods. Lexaria’s particular technology is also meant to improve upon the taste and odor palate of infused edibles, compared to what’s already on the market.
This is Lexaria’s first successful acceptance for patent issuance outside the United States; the company is hoping there will be more international patent awards to come. They’re expecting Australia to issue the actual patent in June 2017.
“Lexaria’s technology is needed not just in the US, but throughout the global cannabis sector, which is why we have patent applications in place in 42 countries around the world,” says CEO Chris Bunka. “Our international applications offer the safety of unparalleled diversification to our supporters that even individual national market leaders cannot offer.”
Lexaria’s Australian patent application was accepted on the company’s claims that they could combine cannabinoid lipophilic active agents — meaning they can dissolve in lipids or fats — with a particular edible, along with taste-enhancing oil. To do this, the company would use dehydration or lyophilization (freeze drying) techniques. In contact with food material, the chemicals would substrate, or act on it via enzymes.
“I personally believe that the next biggest wave in healthcare management will be growth in the functional food and consumer goods sector, and this is where Lexaria Bioscience is poised to make its most significant commercial impacts,” company president John Docherty told Civilized. “Our technology is designed to make it possible to deliver bioactive substances including, but not limited to, cannabinoids in foods and other consumer product formats with faster action and greater potency than ever before.”
Lexaria still has various other patent applications undergoing review by the US Patent and Trademark Office with regard to psychoactive cannabinoids, vitamins, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories), and nicotine. However, currently, because cannabis is federally illegal, CBD products derived from marijuana (which as a whole plant contains more than .03 percent THC — as opposed to THC-less hemp products) are also Schedule I substances. Currently, there are no patents for cannabinoid products derived from plant material.
Unlike in the United States, Australia’s medical cannabis program is federally legal. The Australian parliament passed a measure last year that legalized medical marijuana, allowing it to be grown for medical and scientific purposes.
Although medical marijuana in Australia is strictly controlled by the government, the program is expected to bring in a lot of money to the country. And already, as seen with companies like Lexaria, medical marijuana’s straightforward legal status there encourages innovation.