This Medical Marijuana Stock Is Not What You Think It Is

In the U.S., GW Pharmaceuticals isn’t even prioritizing approval for multiple sclerosis spasticity. Its lead indication is in cancer pain. A phase 3 trial with its U.S. partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical testing Sativex in cancer pain will read out toward the end of this year. It’s potentially a larger market — sales of Teva’s pain medication Actiq peaked at more than $600 million — but the sales potential will depend on how well Sativex reduces pain, its side effects, and the potential for abuse.

There are quite a few opioid pain medications that are available as cheap generics, but they can cause constipation as a side effect, which could give Sativex a leg up. For multiple sclerosis spasticity, GW plans to start a phase 3 trial in the second half of this year to get the drug approved in the U.S. A pot full of drug candidates Beyond Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals is developing Epidiolex, another marijuana-derived chemical called, cannabidiol, or CBD, for two types of childhood epilepsy: Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut.

Independent investigators are currently testing Epidiolex on their own, and GW plans to start a clinical trial in the second half of this year, which would put it on track to start pivotal trials in 2015. GW also has four other marijuana-derived drugs in its pipeline, for a variety of other diseases including diabetes, schizophrenia, and lucerative colitis. Source: GW Pharmaceuticals Risk and reward Investors need to forget that GW Pharmaceuticals is a medical marijuana stock and treat it like any other drug company.

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