More than a century ago, Felix Hoffman’s father suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.
At the time there just wasn’t much anyone could do about it, too.
You just had to live with the pain and were confined to a limited life.
It was a truly debilitating condition back then.
Hoffman, a medical researcher, made it his mission to find a successful treatment. And he did.
Hoffman’s arthritis treatment has since been found effective in reducing fevers, relieving soreness, reducing pain and even preventing heart attacks.
It was a true “wonder drug” of its time.
Hoffman’s discovery today is found in 50 million American households, generates over $1 billion a year in annual sales, and was the launch pad for a $90 billion pharmaceutical giant.
The drug is acetylsalicylic acid, more commonly known as aspirin.
Fortunes have been made from that one discovery 118 years ago.
Today a group of biotech companies are working away on the next “wonder drug.” It has so many extensive and historically proven uses. And its potential market is estimated as much as $50 billion a year.
The next “wonder drug” is already effectively used for treating epilepsy, pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and many more common ailments.
It’s been doing it for centuries, too.
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The Next Biotech Gold Rush Has Begun
The new “wonder drug” I’m talking about is marijuana.
Specifically, the tiny active parts of the marijuana plant. Hear me out on this . . .
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking medical marijuana is a bit of a joke.
In a lot of ways it is.
“Medical marijuana” always seemed like kind of a wink-wink deal between the government and marijuana users.
Marijuana users go see one of the handful of pro-marijuana doctors, claim anxiety or some other disorder, cut a check for $200, and get handed a medical marijuana prescription.
That’s the process in the more than two dozen states that authorize medical marijuana use.
However, there are very real benefits to be found in marijuana and they’re making fortunes for early investors.
You see, the active parts of the marijuana plant are called cannabinoids.
Have you heard of THC?
That’s the part that gives users a “high” when ingested.
Well, it’s also one of the most common cannabinoids found in marijuana.
There are more than 90 known cannabinoids within the marijuana plant. Many of the cannabinoids have proven medicinal effectiveness, and biotech companies around the world are actively researching how to identify the cannabinoids and turn them into pharmaceutical drugs.
In fact, there are already a number of government-approved drugs already on the market that utilize cannabinoids.
For example, GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) is a biotech company currently valued at about $3 billion.
One of its drugs is Sativex, which is approved for use in 25 countries. It’s a proven and effective treatment for pain, bladder ailments and conditions resulting from Multiple Sclerosis.
Savitex is created by combining small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and putting them into an oral spray.
This drug is basically created from isolating two active cannabinoids, separating them from the rest of the marijuana plant, and putting them in a prescription drug.
That’s about it and it’s just one example of the medicinal value of marijuana that’s going to be hitting the market in the next few years.
There are many more just like it on the way and they’re combining to create two specific and little-understood opportunities for marijuana investors.
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Huge Opportunities in Medical Marijuana
When you combine the potential medicinal marijuana market and the market for marijuana-derived drugs like Sativex, you end up with a market worth as much as $50 billion per year, according to some analysts.
It’s a big market and it’s going to create big opportunities for early investors.
One of the most direct opportunities is in the marijuana growth and cultivation sector.
In order to produce the cannabinoids used in all the marijuana-derived prescription drugs, you have to produce “pharmaceutical grade” marijuana.
Now, pharmaceutical-grade marijuana can’t be grown in someone’s basement or in their backyard.
The cost of setting up runs well into the tens of millions of dollars.
On top of that, the process to produce pharmaceutical-grade marijuana starts with organic marijuana production. That is tough enough on its own, and then adds requirements including the same consistency of size and quality of the plant for each growth cycle.
In order to produce the same strain of marijuana over and over again, the most advanced agricultural methods and technology must be employed to manage everything the plants are exposed to, including fertilizer, sunlight, temperature and even humidity levels.
Again, this process is expensive and takes years to truly perfect. But it’s worth it.
Pharmaceutical-grade marijuana can fetch between two and ten times more than the marijuana consumed by recreational users. That’s due to the stringent criteria involved in its production.
And it’s all for those valuable cannabinoids which will be the foundation for many blockbuster drugs in the future.
In the end, the medicinal marijuana market — made up of both pharmaceutical-grade marijuana and drugs derived from the cannabinoids found in marijuana — is set to explode in the years to come.
There will be massive opportunities for the companies chasing it.
I’m particularly bullish on the advanced marijuana growers that have the capital, science and experience to provide the pharmaceutical-grade marijuana that the industry will desperately need (and pay top dollar to get).
If you can find those companies, your portfolio will have years of growth ahead.
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