Up close shot of cannabis leaf

MediPharm commences research into chronic kidney disease

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Medical cannabis giant MediPharm is about to commence a study into Chronic Kidney Failure (CKD) in partnership with Canadian company OTT Healthcare.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in 10 Australian adults has signs of CKD, while 90% of people with CKD not even knowing they have it. Sufferers of CKD live with pain, severe skin itching, depression, fatigue, and impaired sleep, among other severe symptoms. 

Between 2017 and 2018, CKD caused 1.8 million hospitalizations in Australia, with people aged 65 and over accounting for 70% of these hospitalizations. There were 16,800 CKD-related deaths in 2018. 

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (source)

According to the Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease, CKD is a painful disease to live with. Sufferers aged 40 to 64 only have an estimated life span of 4.5 – 8 years after beginning dialysis, while younger sufferers live with debilitating psychological symptoms. 

Medipharm and OTT Healthcare will be commencing the study in the coming months. MediPharm’s drugs will be tested on CKD patients, with OTT Healthcare assessing the dosing and safety profile of the drugs. Medical cannabis’s effectiveness will be tested through participants’ pain profiles and quality of life scores.

Pat McCutcheon, CEO of MediPharm Labs, has told the public that research into medical cannabis and CKD is vital to address the kidney disease crisis globally. According to McCutcheon, renal disease is the 6th fastest and 11th leading cause of death worldwide. McCutcheon was quoted as saying:

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

For CKD experts, medical cannabis is the next natural step for CKD treatment, as cannabis is currently used as a treatment for many of the symptoms faced by CKD sufferers, including nausea, chronic pain, vomiting, and insomnia. 

If the results of the study favour the use of medical cannabis in treating CKD symptoms, it could become standard practice globally. 

MediPharm previously owned an 80% stake in Victoria-based MediPharm Labs Australia. MediPharm bought out the remainder of this stake (owned by ASX-listed MMJ Group) earlier this month.

The study will be overseen by regulatory authority Health Canada.

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