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Trial Underway to Provide Scientific Validity of the Analgesic Efficacy and Safety of Medical Cannabis in an Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)-Induced Neuropathic Pain

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan & WINNIPEG, Manitoba–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

As one of the major symptoms experienced by patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), neuropathic pain can be extremely debilitating. A leading neuro-immunology team lead by Dr. Michael Namaka at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is looking to determine the analgesic efficacy of two of CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: CMED) cannabinoid plant derived oil extracts using a rodent model of MS-induced neuropathic pain.

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The study entitled “Identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in supressing multiple sclerosis induced neuropathic pain following cannabinoid treatment in an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS)” will address the scientific merit of using medical cannabis in alleviating neuropathic pain.

Study Specifics: Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a well-known animal model of MS. Dr. Namaka has several recent publications that demonstrate that EAE animals develop neuropathic pain following an immune system mediated insult such as an MS attack. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 In his publications, Dr. Namaka and others have shown that key biological targets such as TNFα and CX3CL1 increase during EAE-induced neuropathic pain. As such, EAE animals will receive analgesic treatment intervention with one of two cannabinoid oil extract products at a comparable oral dose that is used in humans to see if this medication can reduce the expression of these pathological molecules that drive chronic pain.

“This research endeavour will be the first pre-clinical scientific validation to identifying the direct molecular mechanisms of action of herbal medical cannabis oils and their direct potential impact on neuropathic pain for MS patients,” said Dr. Namaka, B.Sc. Pharm, M.Sc. Pharm, PhD; EPP, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. “With CanniMed’s ability to supply consistent, quality controlled and pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis oils for this trial, we are confident that our outcomes will be standardized and provide us with direction on how cannabis oil will also respond in the patient population.”

This trial involves the investigation of two CanniMed® Oil products (CanniMed® 10:10; CanniMed® 1:20) to identify whether THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) together, or CBD alone, has an impact on MS-related neuropathic pain. The future goal of this pre-clinical study is to use these validated scientific findings to identify the lead cannabinoid oil extract that will move forward to a clinical trial involving human subjects with chronic pain.

“CanniMed is committed to working with leading physicians and researchers across Canada and around the world in the effort of identifying the potential impact of medical cannabis in supporting symptom management of a number of medical conditions,” said Brent Zettl, President and CEO, CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. “Research endeavours like this one will build upon the expanding library of pre-clinical and clinical research in order to demonstrate to patients, physicians, regulatory groups and governments that medical cannabis is an important therapeutic option.”

This study is currently underway and Dr. Namaka has indicated that the early preliminary results provide compelling scientific evidence to support the specific molecular mechanisms by which they exert their beneficial effects to suppress pain. These exciting results are expected to be submitted for publication within the next eight months.

CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. has invested $80,000 CDN in pre-clinical research funding to the University of Manitoba under the direction of Dr. Namaka to explore the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the beneficial effects of cannabinoids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis-induced neuropathic pain.

About CanniMed Therapeutics Inc.

The Company is a Canadian-based, international plant biopharmaceutical company and a leader in the Canadian medical cannabis industry, with 15 years of pharmaceutical cannabis cultivation experience, state-of-the-art, GMP-compliant plant production processes and world class research and development platforms with a wide range of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products. In addition, the Company has an active plant biotechnology research and product development program focused on the production of plant-based materials for pharmaceutical, agricultural and environmental applications.

CanniMed Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, was the first producer to be licensed under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, the predecessor to the current Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Prairie Plant Systems Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, was the sole supplier to Health Canada under the former medical marijuana system for 13 years, and has been producing safe and consistent medical marijuana for thousands of Canadian patients, with no incident of diversion.

Notice Regarding Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation, the pre-clinical scientific validation of molecular mechanisms of action and statements regarding future estimates, plans, programs, forecasts, projections, objectives, assumptions, expectations or beliefs of future performance, are “forward-looking statements”. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including the risk that the results of the study will not be conclusive and the risks described in CanniMed Therapeutics Inc.’s documents filed with applicable Canadian securities regulatory authorities which may be viewed at sedar.com. The forward-looking statements included in this news release are made as of the date of this news release. CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. does not undertake to publicly update such forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities legislation.

1 Acosta, C., Cortes, C., Altaweel, K., MacPhee, H., Hoogervorst, B., Bhullar, H., MacNeil, B., Mahmoud Torabi, Burczynski, F., Namaka, M. (2015). Immune System Induction of Nerve Growth Factor in an Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis: Implications in Re-myelination and Myelin repair. CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets, 14 (8), 1069 – 78.
2 Khorshid Ahmad, T., Acosta, C., Cortes, C., Lakowski, T.M., Namaka, M. (2015). Transcriptional Regulation of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) by Methyl CpG Binding Protein 2 (MeCP2): A Novel Mechanism for Re-myelination and/or Myelin Repair Involved in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Molecular Neurobiology, 53 (2), 1092 – 1107.
3 Turcotte, D. A., Doupe, M., Torabi, M., Gomori, A. J., Ethans, K., Esfahani, F., Galloway, K., Namaka, M. (2015). Nabilone as an Adjunctive to Gabapentin for Multiple Sclerosis – Induced Neuropathic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, 16 (1), 149 – 59.
4 Zhu, W., Acosta, C., MacNeil, B.J., Cortes, C., Intrater, H., Gong, Y., Namaka, M. (2013). Elevated Expression of Fractalkine (CX3CL1) and Fractalkine receptor (CX3CR1) in the Dorsal Root Ganglia (DRG) and Spinal Cord (SC) in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE): Implications in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – Induced Neuropathic Pain (NPP). BioMed Research International, 2013 (September), doi: 10.1155/2013/480702.
5 Begum, F., Zhu, W., Cortes, C., MacNeil, B. J., Namaka, M. P. (2013). Elevation of Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha in Dorsal Root Ganglia and Spinal Cord is Associated with Neuroimmune Modulation of Pain in an Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 8 (3), 677 – 90.
6 Zhu, W., Frost, E. E., Begum, F., Vora, P., Au, K., Gong, Y., MacNeil, B., Pillai, P., Namaka, M. (2012). The Role of Dorsal Root Ganglia Activation and Brain – Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 16 (8), 1856 – 65.
7 Turcotte, D., Le Dorze, J.A., Esfahani, F., Frost, E., Gomori, A., Namaka, M. (2010). Examining the Roles of Cannabinoids in Pain and Other Therapeutic Indications. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 11 (1), 17 – 31.

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