Canada-based MediPharm Labs has begun a clinical trial to research and analyse the effectiveness of its cannabis-derived medical products and formulations to treat end-stage renal disease or chronic kidney disease (CKD).

MediPharm signed a master clinical studies agreement with Canadian company OTT Healthcare.

CKD or end-stage renal disease reduces life expectancy and is a major cause of death globally.

The estimates from the US National Kidney Foundation show that 37 million adults are diagnosed with CKD in the country alone.

MediPharm and OTT will co-develop and evaluate the study drugs and select each principal investigator physician with proven leadership in the field of nephrology.

OTT, as principal investigator, will study the pharmacokinetic and safety profile of cannabinoid formulations for the CKD patient population and evaluate pain and quality of life (QOL) scores of patients treated with MediPharm’s products.

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The data from this trial will help in randomised, double-blind clinical trials to establish the products’ safety and efficacy.

MediPharm will own all intellectual property (IP) and inventions of products arising from the trials.

MediPharm Labs CEO Pat McCutcheon said: “Renal disease is the 11th leading and 6th fastest-growing cause of death globally and those with it suffer from pain, pruritus (severe skin itch), impaired sleep, depression and fatigue.

“We believe deep research into the use of medical cannabis to treat the effects of this devastating condition is long overdue.”

In July, Medipharm partnered with University Health Network (UHN) and Medical Cannabis by Shoppers to track medical cannabis products from seed to sale, using blockchain technology.

Last year, the company also received its Cannabis Research Licence under Health Canada’s Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations to conduct controlled human administration trials of dried cannabis, cannabis extracts and concentrates, distillates, oil, edibles, topicals and terpenes.