London-listed Kanabo launches first UK medical cannabis product

Kanabo CEO Avihu Tamir. Photo: Kanabo
Kanabo CEO Avihu Tamir. Photo: Kanabo

Kanabo (KNB.L), the first cannabis business to float on the London Stock Exchange, is ready to ship the UK’s first medical cannabis product in the form of vaping cartridges as it moves one step closer to establishing the country as Europe's medical marijuana hub.

The first formulation that will be available is for patients who use cannabis for pain management, and CEO Avihu Tamir told Yahoo Finance UK it's a great alternative for those who are trying to withdraw from opioids, which have got a bad rap for their addictive nature.

In the near future the company is hoping to launch a formula that can be used for mental health issues, especially for those using drugs such as Xanex and Valium.

The medicinal cannabis cartridges will be available soon for UK patients. The first order is expected to arrive to the UK next week and will be distributed under the brand name NOIDECS.

The cartridges can only be used with Kanabo's VapePod device, which costs about £50 ($69). The price of the cartridges will vary by clinic.

Kanabo has partnered with LYPHE Group, whose UK ecosystem includes The Medical Cannabis Clinic and Dispensary Green. For now only patients at these clinics can access the new products.

Kanabo is set to deliver the UK's first medical grade cannabis extract vape formulas. Photo: Kanabo
Kanabo is set to deliver the UK's first medical grade cannabis extract vape formulas. Photo: Kanabo

CEO Avihu Tamir told Yahoo Finance UK this is a major milestone not just for the company but for the European cannabis industry.

“This is the first time this type of technology is available in the medical market outside of North America,” he said.

He explained that currently patients in the UK can use cannabis in two forms: oral consumption or smoking marijuana flowers. While the first is preferred by physicians, patients don’t like it because there is no guarantee of how long it will take to have an effect, or how long the impact will last. There is also a risk of overdose, he said.

Patients prefer smoking, but physicians don’t recommend this. This is where VapePod comes in.

Read more: London's first cannabis IPO sees shares double on debut

"It’s the first device to have a metered dose so a physician can prescribe a specific dose just like they would for a pill,” said Tamir, adding that “for the patients it mimics all the benefits of inhalation.”

Vaping means a faster onset of the effects of the drug, as well as high bioavailability, which means the time it takes for the drug to reach a patient’s blood stream is five times more effective compared with pills

Avihu said that cartridges are the fastest-growing segment of the cannabis industry in North America, which is worth close to $20bn.

Cartridges "sell more than pills, tinctures, drinks and edibles. All of them together aren't close to the sale of vape cartridges," he said.

He is therefore expecting this category to be "significant in the UK."

He added that in countries like Germany, where the cannabis industry is reaching a €1bn (£850m, $1,2bn) valuation, some 1% of the population has been prescribed cannabis, while the UK lags far behind.

He believes the benefits to the healthcare system as well as the UK economy are huge.

Kanabo went public in February this year. It said the VapePod is an example of its "fully operational supply, production and distribution".

Watch: Am I wasting my money by renting?