Canntab Therapeutics (PILL.C): The Canadian weed sector is struggling, but new consumer products have room to scale

01/21/2021

If we’re honest about it – if we’re REALLY honest about it – Canada has fumbled its advantage in the cannabis sector. First to market, first to raise hundreds of millions in financing, first to legalize, first to recreationalize (not a word but I’m on a roll), and it’s all really been for naught.

In a sector where the law says you’re not allowed to market yourself, low prices offer one of the few ways to grow market share while also kicking off a race to the bottom. Premium suppliers would suggest they have an advantage, but since they can’t advertise that premium status in a meaningful way, they have to rely on word of mouth and organic growth which, with hundreds of competitors vying for space, isn’t a path to riches.

The cannabis products available in Canada are hemmed in by hand wringing legislators and regulators, the black market continues to thrive, and quality standards are a long way from the old days of ‘BC Bud’ being world renowned as the cream of the crop.

And even if all of the above doesn’t put you off the Canadian weed market, purchase limits and potency restrictions force heavier users to either make daily purchases to keep their cupboards filled, or stick with the guy behind the dumpster who they used to buy from in the 90’s. Meanwhile, retail is hamstrung and bottlenecked by government distribution models and retail rules that force you to lock your product in plastic bubbles and wrap it in adult-proof, waste-heavy packaging.

  • What we wanted: High quality, inexpensive, adult products for adults, sold at suburban retail stores and online by a burgeoning industry leading the world.
  • What we got: Low quality, low impact products that cost too much, frequently run out at the government dispensary, and have to be signed for at the post office, while LPs continue to struggle to make profits and the US market skyrockets.

So if everything is awful on the Canadian scene, why am I writing a story about a Canadian cannabis company?

Because PRODUCTS, man.

Look, anyone in Canada who wants to smoke weed has now done so. The scalability of that market only exists in as much as you can convince people who have never smoked week to start doing so now. That’s tough going. The folks I know who aren’t traditional marijuana enthusiasts but wouldn’t mind a buzz or a health boost, want gummies, chocolates, beverages at a push, drops, and capsules. We don’t take wine to a BBQ anymore, we take edibles.

But all of the above have a major problem in that those products are notoriously unreliable. Drop a gummy, notice no effect, drop another and your face melts off. Share chocolates with your friend, watch her roll around giggling while you’re thinking about your taxes.

Just last night, as I was prepping this story, I took a little edible before bed to get some smooth sleep, and the next morning I was still tripping balls.

ENOUGH. I want a measured dose of the good stuff with a time release, from a trustworthy supplier, so I can microdose and not disappear into my couch. But there’s no real option for me in Canada.

The existing capsules out there are, to say the least, janky.

The capsules to the right are Dosecann’s product, and they’re fine I guess, but they’re mostly a CBD hit. The gelcaps put out by Daily Special, Redecan, Tweed and others are also either CBD hits, or 5mg of more of THC – good to get you high, not so great as a microdose option.

The problem is, these options aren’t slow release. You hit ’em, and they hit you back. If they have a consistent and accurate dose, that’s a win, but they don’t always. And because getting them to you in Canada is an expensive and annoying exercise, a 1mg THC option doesn’t make financial sense.

If only there were someone, somewhere, that could provide a slow release, pressed pill option, with total accuracy and consistency such as you’d find in a big pharma medical product?

Hell, if a company like that existed, and had defendable IP related to that product, well that could be a monster.

WHAT’S UP CANNTAB THERAPEUTICS (PILL.C).

Canntab Therapeutics is the industry leader in solid oral dose formulations of cannabis with a product line of cannabinoid (THC & CBD) and terpenoid blends in exacting dosages. With one US Patent granted on September 17th of this year, and 13 more patents pending in Canada and the United States, we are well positioned to dominate the medical cannabis market with a range of hard pill cannabinoid formulations that provide doctors and patients with a medical grade solution not currently available.

Normally, I’m way against companies claiming to be the ‘industry leader’ in anything cannabis related because, frankly, fuck off. Everyone says they’re an industry leader and nobody is giving out actual industry leading awards. My ass is an industry leader.

But when you have the patent on solid oral dose formulations of cannabis, yeah – you’re the industry leader in that.

Here’s why a hard-pressed pill beats the soft gel or cap:

  1. Timed release: Instead of hitting you all at once, a solid pill can hold multiple layers of medication. Let’s say of the 5mg in your pill, the first layer is 1mg, the next is CBD, the next is another milligram, etc etc. The only way to truly microdose is to be able to control your dose, even after it’s inside you. 5mg in one hit? I’m out. 5mg over four hours? We can work with that.
  2. Multi-layered pills: Imagine if you will, a pill that serves THC, CBD, and psilocybin. Or THC and viagra. I’m just rolling off my wishlist here, those products aren’t in development, but they could be – and that sure as hell isn’t happening with Redecan softgels.
  3. Medical use: As much as most Canadian cannabis companies tossed medical use out as a trojan horse to get the industry legalized, and quickly abandoned the doctor route once they could sell you face-melting shatter, there remains a massive market out there for medical needs that isn’t currently being serviced because doctors can’t point to a product they know is consistent, accurately dosed, properly produced, and medically necessary. Hard-pressed pills change that.
  4. Serving the rest of us: Early on in the legal cannabis industry, there was talk of clinical trials, of serving products that seniors could use to replace their existing meds, of having insurance company-approved products that could reduce costs and increase positive outcomes… but where are they? Hard-pressed pills get us there because they sit next to the other meds, in the medicine cabinet and the drug store aisle, and don’t leave grandma having to have serious talks with the kids about her weed stash.

Canntab hasn’t really told its story in a big way just yet, going public in 2018 but having to wait for licensing before it could really get going. When that licensing landed, in early 2020, we had a pandemic to deal with, so the stock has largely being tossed about by the tide rather than propelled by its own excellence.

But now that’s starting to change. The rubber is hitting the road.

Canntab Therapeutics Ltd. has completed its first delivery of two of a total of five stock-keeping units ordered by MediPharm Labs Corp. Further to Canntab’s press release dated June 2, 2020, the company confirms that the total purchase order is approximately $1.3-million. Canntab intends to complete and deliver the entire order by the end of 2020.

This is big news. Medipharm Labs isn’t small potatoes, it’s a $100m company, and a $1.3m order over the coming year gets product out without the Canntab folks having to do the heavy lifting of sales, marketing, and distribution. It also demonstrates the science and product work well enough for another player to want to rep it.

SLOW RELEASE WEED, boys, in a format acceptable for national drug store chains.

You wanna replace opioids? This is how you get it done. And by owning the patent, they don’t even need to develop their own products; Canntab can license the tech to others, penetrating other countries without the capital spend.

The Medipharm deal isn’t exclusive, so one would expect more to follow. In fact, they did a deal to supply an Australian company in October, which will lead to a large medical research trial in that country.

In addition, Canntab just did a $1.5m debenture financing at 10% p/a, which isn’t horrible and gets them some breathing room and marketing dollars – both good things for investors.

Lastly, folks are starting to notice. Look at that trading volume lifting..

I asked management recently what I see as a very important question; that being, can their tech be used for psilocybin (big 10-4, good buddy) and can the multi-layer tech be used to integrate psilocybin with cannabis in one pill, to create a more intense shroom high with the calming aspects of the weed element.

Confirmed, however the company isn’t actively working in that direction right now for three reasons;

  1. It’s not legal, though certain states in the US are close
  2. The timeline to make it happen is relatively short, so there’s no need to accelerate it until regulations allow
  3. Canntab doesn’t want to appear to be a hot sector chaser’ by dropping a shroom news release out there before its time

I can respect all of that.

Let’s be very honest about this – I haven’t given a moment’s thought to Canntab until they walked into our office a few weeks back and announced it was go time, and what I’m seeing makes a lot of sense to me. You can criticize the company for being slow to market, though I’d argue much of that was outside their hands, and you can argue that exposing consumers to a brand new SKU will take some time to penetrate, which is fair.

But my doctor, who is as progressive as they come, won’t prescribe cannabis to his patients because there haven’t been the required clinical trials, he doesn’t trust the existing products, and he wants to be sure the dosing is accurate.

Canntab gets us closer to that than any other company has. Time to take them seriously.

— Chris Parry

FULL DISCLOSURE: Canntab is an Equity.Guru marketing client

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