1. WHAT BUSINESS IS LEXARIA IN?
Lexaria started in 2005 as an oil & gas company. We made several small natural gas discoveries and one small oil field discovery. Although we enjoyed modest success as an O&G company, we never really caught our stride: we generated millions of dollars in revenues but not enough to grow our business.
We also had something of an awakening: the world really doesn’t need another small O&G company – what it DOES need are innovative companies that work to improve the quality of life of its customers. We believe we can make a difference delivering quality food products, and contribute to our community in doing so.
When the laws in Canada and the USA started to change to allow for medical marijuana or for some of the extracts from Agricultural Hemp to become more widely available, we did our research and learned of real need for these products. So we have applied for a license to grow and sell medical marijuana in Canada; and we have made available our first products in the USA with extracts from agricultural hemp.
MOST of what we do right now is research and formulate food products that contain cannabidiol using an innovative, proprietary technology upon which we have two patents. We are hopeful that future science and studies will prove our technology to be truly groundbreaking.
2. DOES LEXARIA SELL MARIJUANA?
NO So far, we have a license application in place in Canada that if granted, could allow us to grow and sell medical marijuana in Canada only. We have no similar application in place in the USA. In the USA our current business is in developing food products that taste good and contain hemp oil derived from agricultural hemp. We have also acquired patented technology for the infusion of cannabinoids into lipids.
We are actively pursuing methods of expanding our intellectual property in this field.
3. WHAT IS THE CORPORATE STRUCTURE?
Lexaria currently owns 51% of Poviva Tea, LLC, which in turn owns the brand name ViPovaTM. Lexaria has the option of purchasing another 24% of Poviva Tea, LLC to bring its potential ownership up to 75%. Both Lexaria and Poviva Tea, LLC are US companies. Lexaria intends to launch another wholly-owned food products brand in the USA during 2015.
Lexaria also owns 100% of Lexaria CanPharm Corp, a Canadian corporation that is a wholly owned subsidiary for the purposes of conducting business in Canada.
Lexaria is a publicly traded company on stock exchanges in Canada and the USA, and its largest known shareholders are its management team. As of April, 2015, there were approx 34.6 million shares outstanding.
4. WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD)?
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds found in several species of plants, like some Echinacea species, and more abundantly, in agricultural (or industrial) hemp where cannabidiol (CBD) can comprise 35% or more of the plant’s extracts. Cannabinoids can even be found in tiny quantities in Broccoli, Kale, and other common foods!
Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid; is not psychoactive; and, has anti-psychotic effects and other beneficial properties. Cannabidiol is a single compound and is one of many dozens of others that together make up the cannabinoid family. Cannabidiol (CBD) is NOT a cannbinol (CBN).
In comparison, “cannabis plants contain at least 489 distinct compounds distributed among 18 different chemical classes, and harbor more than 70 different phytocannabinoids.” (Information For Health Care Professionals, Health Canada, 2013)
5. WHAT ABOUT TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL (THC)?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principle psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces a psychoactive reaction. In the USA, our Lexaria Energy and ViPovaTM brand products DO NOT contain THC other than tiny trace amounts that have no measurable effects.
Lexaria prides itself in its testing process to ensure that our products are always within regulatory limits when it comes to THC content. Many countries around the world – and states within America – are using a range between 0.1% and 0.3% THC as the upper limit for compliance with regulations.
THC in much higher concentrations – roughly 100x stronger – is generally sought after by both medical marijuana patients, and by users of recreational marijuana in such jurisdictions around the world where it is legal to consume.
6. WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS OUTLOOKS IN THE SECTORS WHERE LEXARIA PARTICIPATES?
We participate in more than one sector.
In the field of legal marijuana, the present market size under the MMPR in Canada is estimated at roughly $100 million per year. Although medical marijuana is legal at the federal level, the outlook is somewhat stunted by current court battles and a lengthy, cloudy license application process.
In the US, legal marijuana was a $2.7 billion industry in 2014, reported by Arcview to have enjoyed growth of 74% compared to the previous year – making it the fastest growing industry of more than $1 billion in the country. It is difficult to ascertain whether growth in new customers and patients will outstrip growth in new supply, meaning the price per gram of marijuana may be subject to wide variation in the future, as supply and demand find equilibrium.
Some growers have reported revenues of roughly $1,000 per sq ft of production space, per year. Some medical marijuana patients have reported requiring 1 gram per day. If that gram were to cost $7.00, then 365 grams per year would cost $2,555.
We currently participate in a specialized part of the food industry, and the food supplement industry in the US last year was a $34.6 billion sector. The organic food industry is even larger, and depending on how calculations are derived, has been reported to be as large as $246 billion.
The organic food industry as a whole is growing at an estimated 3% – 5% per year, but segments within it are growing as quickly as 15% or more.
7. WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL EFFECTS OF CANNABINOIDS?
There are thousands of research papers that have been published by medical experts and others, detailing their findings when investigating cannabinoids and their possible interactions with a number of conditions. Over 1,200 are available at PubMed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.
Cannabidiol is known to be a strong antioxidant. An Israeli medical cannabis facility announced in 2012 that “the cannabis plant, enriched with CBD, “can be used for treating diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol, December 4 2014) Other research has shown reductions in seizures from people suffering from neurological disorders including Dravet syndrome, epilepsy; Alzheimers; Parkinsons and others.
Long term clinical research on the topic is at time contradictory and conclusions cannot be drawn from current information. Because we are in the food business, not the drug business, we are not permitted to make any medical claims regarding our products, but we strongly encourage you to search on the internet for cannabidiol, cannabinoids, or the endocannabinoid system.
8. IS IT TRUE THAT ALL CANNABINOIDS TAKEN TOGETHER (INCLUDING THC) MIGHT HAVE DIFFERENT EFFECTS THAN CANNABIDIOL BY ITSELF?
Quite likely: yes. This is a possibility which appears to depend on the specifics of conditions tested and on the individuals affected. At this time we cannot say definitively either way and nor can the experts: more clinical studies are needed.
One older small meta-study of 9 previous studies that administered THC and other cannabinoids together, tried to determine “whether cannabis is an effective and safe treatment option in the management of pain.” It concluded that “Cannabinoids are no more effective than codeine in controlling pain and have a depressant effect on the central nervous system that limit their use.” (Are cannabinoids an effective and safe treatment option in the management of pain? A qualitative systematic review. Fiona A Campbell, et al; bmj.com; July 7, 2001.) These studies did not comment on the use of cannabidiol by itself, without THC.
Lexaria supports the idea of ingesting cannabidiol without exposure to THC – or with only minimal exposure to THC – which we think opens the door to any benefits cannabidiol might have to offer without any negative aspects of THC.
9. WHAT IS THE “ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM”?
The medical world has only recently begun learning about the human endocannabinoid system. In 1990 the cannabinoid receptor CB1 was first cloned. Cannabinoid receptor CB2 was discovered subsequently “in an endocannabinoid system that extends far and wide within the body as a physiologic modulator not only of the central nervous system but also of the autonomic nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, and endocrine network.” (Blurred Boundaries: The Therapeutics and Politics of Medical Marijuana, J. Michael Bostwick, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, February, 2012.)
Some government agencies do not officially recognize that an endocannabinoid system even exists. Several European nations, as well as Israel, have conducted research on it. And the opening paragraph in a 158-page manual published by the Federal Government of Canada entitled “Information for Health Care Professionals; Cannabis and the cannabinoids” states:
“The endocannabinoid system (Figure 1) is an ancient, evolutionarily conserved, and ubiquitous lipid signaling system found in all vertebrates, and which appears to have important regulatory functions throughout the human body. The endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a very broad number of physiological as well as pathophysiological processes including neural development, immune function, inflammation, appetite, metabolism and energy homeostasis, cardiovascular function, digestion, bone development and bone density, synaptic plasticity and learning, pain, reproduction, psychiatric disease, psychomotor behaviour, memory, wake/sleep cycles, and the regulation of stress and emotional state.”
Figure 1. The Endocannabinoid System in the Nervous System
(1) Endocannabinoids are manufactured “on -demand” in the post-synaptic terminals: anandamide (AEA) is generated from phospholipase-D (PLD)-mediated hydrolysis of the membrane lipid N-arachidonoylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE); 2-AG from the diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL)-mediated hydrolysis of the membrane lipid diacylglycerol (DAG); (2) These endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG) diffuse retrogradely towards the pre-synaptic terminals and like exogenous cannabinoids such as THC (from cannabis), dronabinol, and nabilone, they bind and activate the pre-synaptic G-protein-coupled CB1 receptors; (3) Binding of phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids to the CB1 receptors triggers the activation and release of the Gi/Go proteins from the CB receptors and inhibits adenylyl cyclase, thus decreasing the formation of cyclic AMP and the activity of protein kinase A; (4) Release of the Gi/Go proteins also results in the opening of inwardly-rectifying K+ channels (depicted with a “+”) causing a hyperpolarization of the pre-synaptic terminals, and the closing of Ca2+ channels (depicted with a “-“), arresting the release of stored excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters (e.g. glutamate, GABA, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), acetylcholine, noradrenaline, dopamine, D-aspartate and cholecystokinin) which (5) once released, diffuse and bind to post-synaptic receptors; (6) Anandamide and 2-AG re-enter the post- or pre-synaptic nerve terminals (possibly through the actions of a specialized transporter depicted by a “dashed” line) where they are respectively catabolized by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) or monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) to yield either arachidonic acid (AA) and ethanolamine (ETA), or arachidonic acid and glycerol. See text for additional details. Figure adapted.
The endocannabinoid system is believed to regulate neurotransmitter release at the synapse. Their locations within the human body, and their effects on human health are far too broad to be answered fully within the confines of this FAQ.
10. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT MAKES LEXARIA AND VIPOVATM PRODUCTS DIFFERENT FROM COMPETITORS?
YES! The founders of ViPovaTM developed a patented process to infuse the active hemp oil ingredients within lipids. Lipids are often fatty acids or fats. In doing so, a couple of important benefits are realized. One is that the strong taste of raw cannabidiol is masked because it is bound within another substance.
Bioavailability of lipids processed by the human body is high, and we believe our process may lead to a more efficient or effective absorption of the hemp oil into the body. We have not done clinical studies to determine whether that is the case.
However, a series of studies concluded in 2011 found “that CBD can increase the amount of Anandamide and other important lipids.” (Scientists Uncover How CBD Treats MS, Alters Cholesterol Metabolism, FreedomIsGreen.com, Jahan Marcu, May 25, 2011) Research is increasingly finding a link between CBD and lipids, which are not fully understood today. ViPovaTM thinks that its patented process of infusing hemp oil ingredients within lipids may prove to be revolutionary.
Other studies have indicated that CBD not infused within lipids may pass through the human digestive system nearly without absorption (ie, absorption rates of 3% – 6%), raising the valid question of whether it makes sense to ingest CBD unless some method has been used to infuse the CBD into an easily digestible form.
11. IS CANNABIDIOL LEGAL?
Hemp oil extracted from agricultural or industrial hemp, containing high concentrations of cannabidiol, is legal in the United States provided the THC level is below regulatory limits. Hemp oil is the source ViPovaTM uses for its products. Cannabidiol extracted from a marijuana plant containing more than regulatory limits of THC is not legal in the United States.
Different countries have different rules but agricultural hemp is legal in more than 30 countries around the world.
In Canada, it is legal to grow agricultural hemp under license. Cannabidiol is a Schedule 2 drug in Canada and available only under tightly regulated conditions. Lexaria Energy and ViPovaTM products are not available in Canada today. A Provincial Supreme Court has found a section of federal legislation that limits medical marijuana availability to no form other than by smoking or eating the dried bud, to be unconstitutional. But no law is currently in place in Canada that permits for hemp oil-infused products.
12. ARE THERE SPECIAL METHODS FOR USING OR PREPARING LEXARIA ENERGY OR VIPOVATM PRODUCTS?
No, generally speaking. It’s important to you and to us that our products are easy to use. If you can make a cup of tea, you can make a cup of delicious, ViPovaTM cannabidiol infused tea. You will be able to enjoy Lexaria Energy products anytime and anywhere, without breaking any rules. And because none of our products are combusted, you will never break any local ordinances against smoking. If any of our future products have special instructions, they will be printed on the label.
13. IS IT SAFE?
No harmful side effects from and of our products have ever been reported nor are they expected. However, should anyone ever experience anything unexpected, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.
Remember: Cannabidiol (CBD) is NOT Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is both not psychoactive and is anti-psychotic. No study we are aware of has ever suggested that CBD is unsafe even in quantities that far exceed those available in ViPovaTM products.
As well, even the combination of THC and CBD are generally considered safe, “Of note, due to the near absence of brainstem CB1 receptors, the drug spares the autonomic nervous system, no matter how much is ingested, with the result that a lethal overdose in humans has never been reported.” (Blurred Boundaries: The Therapeutics and Politics of Medical Marijuana, J. Michael Bostwick, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, February, 2012.)
14. ARE INTERACTIONS POSSIBLE BETWEEN CBD AND DRUGS I MAY ALREADY BE TAKING?
You should speak to your doctor or health care practitioner about any possible drug or substance interactions, or any other medical questions you may have. We are not aware of any, but that does not mean they might not exist.
15. DOES HEATING CANNABIDIOL DAMAGE IT?
At extreme temperatures experiencing during burning it or even higher temperatures, some studies suggest that cannabidiol becomes less active. Other articles suggest that mildly heating it, such as would be achieved through steeping a cup of tea, might make cannabidiol more active than at room temperatures. No studies that we have seen suggest cannabidiol is damaged by heating it to 250 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
16. IS IT TRUE THAT THE US GOVERNMENT HOLDS SOME KIND OF PATENT ON CANNABINOIDS?
YES it is true! That patent makes certain claims. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Patent number 6,630,507, “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”
In fact the US government has filed a series of patents on CBD going all the way back to the 1940’s, and has sparked interest among independent researchers. Hundreds of research papers published since then have both validated many claims, and made additional new discoveries.
17. ARE THERE ANY LINKS BETWEEN CBD AND CANCER?
YES there are many. A 2006 study by Alessia Ligresti et.al published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics said that “Results obtained in a panel of tumor cell lines clearly indicate that, of the five natural compounds tested, cannabidiol is the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth with significantly lower potency in noncancer cells. In particular, for a highly malignant human breast carcinoma cell line, we have shown here that cannabidiol and a cannabinoid-rich extract counteract cell growth both in vivo and in vitro as well as tumor metastasis in vivo.”
Studies in 2010 and 2013 by Ramer R, et.al. found among other things that “Cannabidiol inhibits lung cancer cell invasion and metastasis.” And studies in 2011 by Shrivastava A, et al, and McAllister RD, et al, found links between cannabidiol and reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, or death in breast cancer cells.
A 2013 study by Barbara Romano et al, published in Phytomedicine, concluded that “CBD botanical drug substance attenuates colon carcinogenisis and inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation via CB1 and CB2 receptor activation. The results may have some clinical relevance for the use of Cannabis-based medicines in cancer patients.”
There are many, many more studies and relationships noticed between cannabinoids and various forms
18. ARE THERE ANY LINKS BETWEEN CBD AND GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT INFLAMMATION?
YES. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are known to exist in many areas of the gastrointestinal system. It is also well known that chronic intestinal inflammation can lead some patients to having an increased risk of developing bowel cancers. Research in 2006 by Di Marzo and Izzo found that CB1 activation reduced GI inflammation in animal models.
According to research by KL Wright et al, “based on what we know so far, it is clear that CB2 receptors represent a braking system and a pathophysiological mechanism for the resolution of inflammation and its many symptoms. CB2 receptor activation therefore represents a very promising therapeutic target in GI inflammatory states where there is immune activation and motility dysfunction.”
19. ARE THERE ANY LINKS BETWEEN CBD AND THE BRAIN, OR THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM?
YES. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are also known to be widespread in many areas of the human central nervous system. “The CB1 receptor is one of the most abundant G-protein coupled receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems.” (Information For Health Care Professionals, Health Canada, 2013) In fact some researchers have been curious as to why they are so prevalent even though we know so little about them.
One study written in November, 2013 by Slave Rom et al, mentioned that “Previous studies have demonstrated increased expression of CB2 in human brain tissues affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.” Their paper concluded that within their own study, “results demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects of selective CB2 agonists in monocytes and suggest treatment opportunities for chronic inflammatory disorders within and outside of the central nervous system.”
A research team led by Kozela has shown that “CBD can effectively treat the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis in mice”. Then, in 2011, this same team “may have discovered the specific genes responsible for some of CBD’s therapeutic effects.” Appearing in a summarizing article at FreedomIsGreen.com, it continued that “the collective body of research demonstrates that CBD that is isolated from the plant…. have been shown to ameliorate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in animal models and clinical trials. The effects of CBD on disease progression include decreased inflammation, neuronal protection, and decreased immune cell activity.
20. ARE THERE ANY LINKS BETWEEN CBD AND GLAUCOMA?
YES. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world today. According to a 2011 study originally published in Archivos de la Sociedad Espanola de Oftalmologia, “Some cannabinoid agonists (WIN 55212-2, anandamide) have demonstrated, in experimental studies, to act as «ideal drugs» in the management of glaucoma, as they have been shown to have good tolerability after topical application, efficiently reduce intraocular pressure, and behave as neuroprotectors on retinal ganglion cells.”
21. ARE LEXARIA ENERGY OR VIPOVATM PRODUCTS EXPENSIVE?
Our products are produced as efficiently as possible, and anytime we make a technological or production breakthrough, we immediately pass our savings on to you. Remember that you need to compare the prices of our products to a combination of other products. For example, if you enjoy VipovaTM Tea, then you should compare the price per serving to the price of your favorite gourmet tea PLUS a serving of hemp oil from another company. You will find that our products compare favorably.
PLUS we just do not know today if that hemp oil that you purchase from another company is digested/absorbed/accepted by the human body nearly as well as our lipid-infused hemp oil is. Our company exists partly because we think it is silly to use other hemp oil products that may not deliver much bioavailability at all.
And when you compare the price of the Lexaria Energy protein bar to your current favorite protein bar PLUS a serving of rich hemp oil, once again we are confident you will find that our product compares favorably.
We put our ingredients through our patented “manufacturing” process in order to infuse the CBD within the lipids. We think our process may result in higher bio-availability of the hemp oil than simply ingesting it without the lipid-infusion process. That means we just might have the LEAST expensive hemp oil-product on the market today, when you consider how much hemp oil can actually be put to work within your body.