With more states willing to accept medical cannabis as a treatment for certain chronic conditions, pharmaceutical companies are continuing their push into one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.

Based in the Netherlands, Echo Pharmaceuticals, a privately-owned company focusing on cannabinoid-based compounds and drug delivery technologies, this week publicly released initial clinical trial results.

The clinical trials, according to Echo, revealed that Alitra, the company’s patented drug delivery technology, enhances bioavailability by 30% in its Arvisol tablet, which contains pure cannabidiol (CBD) in fixed dosages. The trials are now in phase 2/3.

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“We have compared the uptake of the pure compounds with the compounds formulated with Alitra in a test panel of healthy individuals,” Echo Pharmaceuticals Communication Manager Melanie Wijnands told Clinical Pain Advisor. “Results show a significant improved uptake of the active ingredients.”

Using medical cannabis to treat chronic pain has been the center of discussion for many studies, but some experts believe there are still too many questions that remain unanswered. For example, should physicians prescribe the drug to treat children

A recent study revealed that inhaling cannabis relieves pain resulting from neuropathy. Researchers, however, found that there’s a dose-dependant reduction in pain. Higher doses caused more sedation and euphoria in patients suffering from diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain.

For Echo, reducing the therapeutic dose is key to improving compliance and providing both patients and healthcare providers with a more cost-effective therapy. “In addition, it decreases the side effects for patients, increasing a safe and comfortable use,” she said.

“At the moment there are no other drugs available on the market that offers a 100% pure CBD or THC product,” Wijnands said. “We develop unique CBD and THC based medicine with a long shelf life, stable at room temperature, applicable in an oral tablet, optimized dosage control with high predictable bioavailability.”

“In addition, we have been able to enhance the uptake in the blood,” Wijnands added.