RI Cannabis Oil Firm Strikes Research Partnership

Two Rhode Island companies – a cannabis oil manufacturer and a biotech farm – are collaborating on tests to see if cannabis oils can be used to treat respiratory diseases.

The collaborative effort teams Providence-based Nature’s Comfort Meds, the cannabis oil maker, with Beech Tree Labs, which is developing therapies to treat pulmonary disease, fibrosis, brain injuries and other illnesses, according to a press release from Nature’s Comfort Meds. Providence-based Beech Tree also produces an over-the-counter dietary supplement for respiratory health, Mucolyxir, which has been on the market for several years.

A Beech Tree spokesman said it’s too early to know if the partnership will yield any commercial applications.

But the effort has so far yielded some encouraging results in the lab, according to the news release.

Beech Tree and NC Meds are testing cannabis oil by itself and with two Beech Tree product candidates used for treating respiratory diseases. When tested on genes to see how they react, the researchers found that the oils by themselves caused intense reactions among certain genes, including genes associated with cancer inhibition and healing.

When used with one of Beech Tree’s possible treatments – ST-CF, a DNA-based product – the reactions were less intense but occurred in a greater number of genes.

The pre-clinical research lays the foundation for potential clinical studies on live subjects through trials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.