Medicinal cannabis update: Here’s what you missed

It has been a busy month for Australia’s leading medicinal cannabis companies with a significant amount of news flow.

Here are a few things that have caught my eye in March:

Cann Group Ltd (ASX: CAN)

Last week this medicinal cannabis company became the first of its kind to be added to a major Australian index when it was added to the All Ordinaries at the March rebalance. This could potentially bring Cann Group onto the radar of some fund managers which are restricted from buying shares outside the index.

Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX: CPH)

This morning Creso Pharma announced that it has entered into the sports and osteoarthritis market with the introduction of cannabidiol-based oral nutraceuticals and functional cosmetics addressing the need for organic and efficient relief from muscle and joint pain. According to the release, Creso has partnered with the largest independent Swiss manufacturing group FRIKE Technologies to produce the range under the cannaDOL brand.

Hydroponics Company Ltd (ASX: THC)

After the market closed on Wednesday Hydroponic Company advised that its CEO, David Radford, had resigned just a day after the resignation of its chief commercial officer, Debbie Ormsby. I find the sudden resignation of two executives to be quite worrying. Hydroponics Company’s shares are now in a trading halt.

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX: MXC)

Earlier this week this cannabis company announced the launch of MGC Nutraceuticals through its e-commerce platform. This new product line of cannabinoids and hemp-enhanced nutraceutical products is targeting a global nutraceutical market that was valued at approximately US$383 billion in 2016. Whilst this is a potentially very lucrative opportunity for MGC Pharmaceuticals, it is worth remembering that it is a highly competitive industry with low barriers to entry.

Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD)

At the start of the month this cannabis-focused biotech company announced that it had expanded its pancreatic cancer research collaboration agreement with Curtin University. According to the release, the expansion will focus on in vivo animal studies to investigate the effect of Zelda’s formulations in combination with existing chemotherapy agents Abraxane and Gemcitabine. Management has advised that there is growing evidence that whole plant cannabinoid extracts can impede cancer growth and potentially render the tumour more responsive to chemotherapeutic agents.

The medicinal cannabis industry certainly is exciting, but I'm betting these growth shares outperform cannabis shares over the next 12 months.

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