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What are the relationships between Big Pharma and CBD?

The cannabis industry, as we know, is growing strongly. More and more countries are choosing the path of legalization. Even in Europe, which is cautiously taking its first steps in that direction. The cannabis market is also growing good in Asia. Where there is a high potential for large pharmaceutical companies that can also exploit a huge and growing population. The numbers of pharmaceutical companies are growing to invest increasing sums in research and development. The therapeutic uses of CBD is a strong attraction for countries that are beginning to increasingly consider the path of legalization of the substance.

Pharmaceutical companies in the USA

A bit of history

The history of marijuana used with therapeutic effects goes back a long, long time. In ancient China, people used it as an anaesthetic and it was part of the five plants used in India to relieve anxiety. However, the scenario from the 1900s has begun to change. From 1915 to 1931 cannabis began to be banned in 29 states of the Federal Government of the United States. And after many other states started imitated this prohibitionist position and began to make cannabis use illegal.

What is happening now?

At this moment GW Pharmaceutical and Sanofi in the US lead clinical trials on cannabis. These stems from recent findings on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and the increasingly widespread tendency of U.S. residents to replace medicines and opioids with cannabis. The largest patent holders on CBD-containing products are large pharmaceutical multinationals. Cannabis for therapeutic purposes is legal now in 36 US states. Most of them in Europe and part of South America. Cannabis is mostly used for its therapeutic effects on multiple sclerosis, insomnia and as a dietary supplement.

Since Big Pharma began to invest heavily in the cannabis market, this industry has started to change constantly. At this moment we have not even remotely reached the peak of this phenomenon. On the contrary, in the future, we will see really significant changes and formulations that will transform the hemp industry. The involvement of Big Pharma in the CBD industry will cause exponential growth in the sector dedicated to the production of medical cannabis. As the favour for growing cannabis increases, doctors will also be increasingly supportive of advising marijuana use for an increasing variety of pathologies or conditions.

Furthermore, with the involvement of Big Pharma in the CBD industry as expected that in the future there will be more and more pharmaceutical products containing cannabis.

The current “Top Players” on the market

In the United States, there is already talk of multinationals belonging to the “Big Pharma”. Which is slowly taking control of the marijuana industry, between investments and research in the medical field.

Who are they?

Cara Therapeutics, a biotechnology company founded in 2004, has focused on discovering drugs to treat inflammation and pain. At the moment, Cara Therapeutics has a cannabis-derived drug named Korsuva.  In a word, Korsuva is vying for clinical trials with the hope that it can be approved for medical purposes. If it were, it could eventually replace opium-based drugs currently widely used for pain treatment.

Corbus Pharmaceuticals

The company founded in 2009, aims to offer new treatments for inflammatory or fibrous conditions. The company has shown great interest in entering the cannabis industry, and currently, has tested a drug (anabasum). As a result, this drug could be used to treat serious diseases such as lupus and cystic fibrosis, among others.

The 22nd Century Group

This company founded in 1998, focuses on the development and research of nicotine synthesis within tobacco plants. The company has recently expanded its interests in the CBD industry. The 22nd Century Group would like to create new cannabis varieties more suitable for medical use, with genetically modified ingredients to obtain cannabinoids optimized for medical and therapeutic applications.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals

They focuse on offering cannabinoid-based drugs (CBD) to treat serious neuropsychiatric diseases. Zynerba currently produces a topical product used to treat autism spectrum disorders and epileptic encephalopathies.

GW Pharmaceuticals

This company founded in 1998, recently developed the drug Sativex. The cannabinoid used to relieve pain and spasms. Those symptoms commonly found in those suffering from multiple sclerosis. Finally, another drug that produces GW Pharmaceuticals is Epidiolex. It is highly appreciated and used in the treatment of schizophrenia and epilepsy.


This one of the companies of the Big Pharma which connected to the CBD is In 2018, it was the first to deal with the cannabis industry.

Pfizer and Sanofi

These two companies are well-known in the Big Pharma business. They continue their development in the cannabis industry.

What is the future?

However, just the changes in the laws of the various countries have led to the legal use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, mainly in the United States but also in Europe. CBD products – including dietary supplements, personal care products and many others – have seen an increase in worldwide sales. Finally, more than 700 clinical trials have supported the thesis of the validity of cannabis used for medical purposes. Pharmaceutical multinationals are starting their own clinical trials to obtain patents in the US and Canada. The results of previous clinical trials have been promising. We expect that in the future pharmaceutical companies will begin to make greater use of cannabis in medical products. However, there are clearly various types of obstacles to overcome. Such as challenges dictated by competition, copyright, and medical research.

To conclude, the involvement of Big Pharma will also lead to an increase in CBD-based products and formulations, to meet the needs of patients and consumers with new flavours or technologies to develop them.

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