Stanford Researchers Open Medical Cannabis Company with Oral Therapy for MS Pain, Spasticity as Initial Goal

Stanford Researchers Open Medical Cannabis Company with Oral Therapy for MS Pain, Spasticity as Initial Goal

A new medical cannabis company called Katexco Pharmaceuticals aims to develop oral therapies that harness the brain’s endocannabinoid and nicotine receptors to treat inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Co-founded by two Stanford University researchers — Jonathan Rothbard, PhD, and Lawrence Steinman, MD — Katexco will leverage their expertise in immunological therapy and use a synergistic approach to use the body’s natural system to curb inflammation.

In addition to multiple sclerosis, Katexco will work to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, and gout.

“Katexco is confident that we will be successful since we are stimulating a naturally occurring neuro-immunological pathway that will allow our treatment to be safe, widely effective and significantly more cost-effective, compared with current therapies for inflammatory diseases,” Steinman, director and chairman at Katexco, said in a press release.

Endocannabinoid receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system present in the brain and elsewhere. Binding the receptors to cannabinoids can regulate such functions as pain, memory, mood, and the immune system. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring molecules that interact with the receptors to release neurotransmitters; they are also the active ingredients of medical marijuana.

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Similarly, nicotine receptors present in the nervous system and muscles work to regulate the neuromuscular system. These receptors respond to drugs like nicotine that serve as muscle relaxants to ease inflammation and pain.

Katexco is developing an oral cannabis-based therapeutic that will stimulate these naturally occurring neuro-immunological pathways, and serve as an agonist to help ease the pain and spasticity experienced by MS patients. It plans for this therapy to benefit both relapsing and progressive disease forms.

“Katexco has shown in animal models that their patented molecules engage key receptors on immune cells that reduced inflammatory diseases,” the company’s website states.

According to Rothbard, CEO and chief scientific officer at Katexco, “the link between the cannabinoid pathway and anti-inflammatory effects is unprecedented, and we are beginning to understand more fully just how the body regulates itself. The goal is to ultimately develop a whole new class of compounds that target several disorders with anti-inflammatory indications.”

The company obtained an exclusive license for the technology used to manufacture the proprietary therapeutic from Stanford University. Its founders also plan on developing therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis.


  1. Roy Katz says:

    My daughter was very recently diagnosed with MS. No brain lesions, just in the C3 to C4 regions. She has just finished her second half dose of OCREVUS. Is she a candidate for your product? When will it be available?

  2. Jordan Rene Noble says:

    I would love to be a candidate. Severe spasms but I am not looking for a baclofen pump. Any info would be appreciated.

  3. Robert Kauai says:

    In Hawaii, MS is one of the Department of Health’s qualifying medical conditions to get a medical marijuana card. Ivy Lou Hibbitt, a Nurse Practitioner with certification service Certicann told me that she recently had a patient with MS and that patient got her medical marijuana card for the first time. Once the patient was certified she was able to meet with a patient advocate at the local dispensary and found a strain of marijuana that finally gave her some relief from the ‘restless leg syndrome’ caused by MS. If anyone else is considering using medical marijuana for their MS please do your research and give this amazing plant some consideration!

  4. Rob T. says:

    I BEGAN my MS Journey swallowing “29 PILLS” throughout each & EVERY DAY! Sure, just like EVERYBODY, I did it in “HIGH SCHOOL”, but had entered the workforce, a place that it WASN’T ALLOWED!
    Fast forward from my initial “BLINDNESS” in 2012, to TODAY. HERE & NOW. Unfortunately, I live in Alabama, and we ALL KNOW, it ain’t NOWHERE NEAR “LEGAL” here. However, I came upon it in early 2015, and decided to give it a try again! WHY NOT? We’ve basically ALL DONE IT, AT LEAST once, and we know it’s not gonna KILL US!
    I’ve not looked back since. I now take 4 to 6 pills per day, based on my ENERGY levels (Adderall), and simply to go to SLEEP (Xanax) are have too’s. I personally feel that I’d MUCH RATHER ingest a “NATURAL” substance into my body, given to us by and grown from God’s “EARTH”, rather than putting “MAN-MADE CHEMICALLY ALTERED” substances into my body ANY DAY! The “BLOOD” which once ran throughout my body, has been replaced with 66 STRAIGHT months of Tysabri infusions. My GOAL; not to take ANOTHER “PILL” for the REST OF MY LIFE! Prolly ain’t gonna happen, but I’ve done quite well beginning with 29 and only take 4 to 6 pills per day now. SIMPLY BY incorporating marijuana into my daily activities. I really DO NOT THINK I could make it each day WITHOUT IT! I’ve stretched so far bending downward, I can ALMOST kiss my own @$$!! HAHAHA! It just doesn’t “PULL” anymore. That “STRETCH” good tingly feeling you get, I’ve STRETCHED IT AWAY. 6-1/2 YEARS relapse free. Gut Bacteria- COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than that I had before. For the last 3 years, I’ve eaten spinach & Arugula salads, with anything I going to put into it. Mixed nuts, apples, pineapples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, chicken, cheese, bacon pieces, croutons, onions (regular chopped & fried onions salad toppers), basically EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink! And ALL THIS, only “ONCE” per day. I “FAST” on a DAILY BASIS. ALL DAY LONG actually. It’s 10:30pm, and I’m eating my salad now. I haven’t been what anyone without MS would refer to as being “HUNGRY” and/or experienced “HUNGER” in almost 7 YEARS! That is, UNLESS I happen to get ahold of the right “STRAIN” of pot, in which case it’ll make me hungry. That’s the problem I encounter living where I live, in Alabama. I hafta TAKE what I can GET! Or go WITHOUT! If given the opportunity, I have absolutely NO DOUBT that the EXACT STRAIN I would need to treat EVERY “SYMPTOM” I currently experiencing having MS, could be found, and would ELIMINATE COMPLETELY the dwindling few “PILLS” that I must still take. HOPEFULLY, that day will come to my state. I won’t leave it even if it doesn’t. My MAIN CONCERN is that of my wife & boys lives, SHOULD I get “CAUGHT” and/or “BUSTED”, although I never have more than a FEW GRAMS anyways. I have FULL SUPPORT from all my own family members, as well as my wife’s family members, even being a stay at home Dad to 4 & 2 year old boys. I HAVE ALWAYS & WILL CONTINUE “DOING” anything that I HAVE TO DO, and anybody that KNOWS “ME”, knows I will. If I “SAY” I’m gonna do something, you can bet your bottom dollar that I WILL DO IT, or I’ll break BOTH MY DAMN LEGS TRYING!! And that’s me. I still believe all a man has is his word. Oddly, while not REALLY, considering my personality, folks know “ME” all over this country, and I rarely leave Alabama! Try it my fellow MS’rs, you WON’T BE SORRY! I GUARANTEE YOU THAT! Both sides of my family and all my friends STAND WITH ME on this, and that helps with the anxiety I have simply committing an “ILLEGAL” and AGAINST THE LAW act, because that’s NOT WHAT I’M OUT TO DO. Seriously, I’m just trying to “SURVIVE” each day, to make it to the next. And I don’t have the luxury of going to bed KNOWING I’ve gotta “WORK” tomorrow or something, and it happen, like NORMAL people do. I go to bed each night KNOWING & ACCEPTING the fact that ANYTHING could be different when I wake up. I could be BLIND, again, unable to WALK, basically ANYTHING. So I must apologize, but BEFORE MS entered my life, NO, it never, EVER, crossed my mind at ALL, anytime, that I’d wake up BLIND one morning! Why would it? And it’s THAT “ADVANTAGE” that people WITHOUT “CHRONIC ILLNESSES” have on those of us that do. I’m simply trying to BALANCE the playing field a little bit, because it’s ALREADY an all UPHILL trek for “ME”. Is that NOT “FAIR”??

    • Susan says:

      Love your post. I tell my legs all the time to try. My left hand doesn’t work well and the nephropathy is painful. My family doctor
      told me that not everything is about MS. My face has burning Tn. can’t think of anything that is not related.
      Want pain gone so I can try!!!

  5. Sherri Kyle says:

    I am 53 and have RRMS. I have used marijuana for many years. Over the years neurologists have given me several different pain meds, they don’t help and made me feel groggy, I worked till 4 years ago. Marijuana also, I have discovered when I don’t have any for a few days, relieves my symptoms of menopause.

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