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These ASX cannabis shares have smoked the market in 2019

I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a very positive year for Australian investors. Since the turn of the year the All Ordinaries index has pushed a sizeable 20% higher.

Whilst this means that the majority of local shares are recording strong gains, some have done better than others.

Here’s why these cannabis companies are smoking the market this year:

The Althea Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AGH) share price has rocketed a massive 292% higher since the start of the year. Investors have been fighting to get hold of the cannabis company’s shares due to a series of positive developments. This includes the receipt of key licences late last year, its expansion into the UK market, and the solid growth in patient numbers. In respect to the latter, in the middle of last month the company advised that it has reached its 1,000-patient milestone in Australia. This was five months ahead of schedule and thanks largely to 227 additional patients in May being prescribed Althea medicinal cannabis.

Another positive was news late last month that its UK-based business has furthered its relationship with independent scientific committee Drug Science with the goal of increasing the number of patients that can be prescribed medical cannabis in the UK market. Drug Science is about to launch Project TWENTY21, which is the UK’s first national pilot for medical cannabis and aims to enrol 20,000 patients before the end of 2021. Althea looks set to benefit from the pilot as it has been selected to supply, on commercial terms, its range of products to Project TWENTY21.

The Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX: BOT) share price has stormed 200% higher in 2019. The bulk of the clinical stage cannabinoid company’s impressive share price gain has been caused by a couple of recent study results. The first was an interim study which confirmed that its BTX 1308 product has significant anti-inflammatory and immune modulating activity in skin disease. This was the first time in global research that cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to have multiple beneficial effects in skin disease in a randomised clinical study.

The second study result that caught the eye of investors was related to its BTX 1801 antimicrobial product. This has shown that BTX 1801 is a broad-spectrum Gram-Positive antibiotic which is effective against a range of problematic human and animal bacteria. This includes clinical isolates of staphylococcus aureus (staph) and methicillin resistance staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers found that cannabidiol kills bacteria very quickly and disrupts the biofilms that bacteria use to protect themselves. This bodes well for its acne and atopic dermatitis products which are also under development.

The cannabis industry certainly is heating up. But which cannabis share should you buy? This one has just been rated as a buy.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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