BAS Joins with Montel Williams in Effort to Bring Cannabis Products for MS to Market
BAS Research, recently granted California’s first medicinal marijuana manufacturing and research license, is teaming with Montel Williams’ LenitivLabs startup to begin developing, producing and marketing medical-grade cannabis products.
BAS’ goal is to replace the social stigma associated with cannabis by creating medical marijuana products with standardized dosing and proven efficacy. Its products are aimed at people with chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and serious conditions like cancer or epilepsy.
Dosage inconsistencies are a central problem with medical cannabis in its raw plant form, because potency and purity can vary widely among marijuana strains, and even between batches of the same strain.
Established in 2014, BAS opened a new facility with a regulated lab and a permit to process cannabis products for research and for the production of marijuana-based medicines in July. It plans to file the regulatory permits necessary for clinical testing of its products throughout 2017, and to begin production early next year.
The company has two core divisions. BAS Meds is focused on creating new medicinal marijuana product formulations. Robert Sindelar, its lead scientist, spent four years in Peru studying natural medicines and learning traditional methods of combining root, bark and flower species into compound formulas.
BAS Meds is developing cannabis products with a range of delivery mechanisms, such as capsule, transdermal, sublingual, and inhaled forms, and is seeking partners to facilitate clinical trials of these preparations.
BAS Oil works with licensed, California-based collectives to provide fee-based services such as white label contract-product manufacturing. Collectives can bring marijuana plant materials to BAS, where they are then processed into bulk raw oil, winterized oil (lipids and waxes removed), or distilled clear extract with elevated potency.
All cannabis entering the BAS production facility is tested for potency using a technique called Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography, with microbial and pesticide screening farmed out to an independent third-party laboratory. The cannabis is then dehydrated, ground to a powder consistency, and the medically active cannabinoid compounds and terpenes extracted. Products are lab-tested again before final processing, and one last time to confirm final potency and lack of contamination. BAS clients receive 100 percent of extracted resins in bulk or packaged form.
BAS Oil also creates proprietary cannabis formulas with the elevated cannabinoid and terpene combination levels typically used in vaporizer pens. The company produces its own therapeutic products in addition to supplying filled vapor pen cartridges to clients, and has a catalog of more than 50 vapor pen, battery, and atomizer combinations.
With the California license, BAS Research has formed a strategic partnership with Montel Williams, television personality medical cannabis advocate, and multiple sclerosis (MS) patient, through his LenitivLabs brand of medical cannabis products (The word “lenitive” originated in the 15th century to describe medicines capable of alleviating pain, discomfort, or stress.) Lenitiv Scientifics’ line of medical-grade cannabis products are packaged in standardized doses.
Williams has used medicinal cannabis for 17 years to help manage his MS symptoms, and is a vocal advocate of medicinal cannabis legalization. He worked on advocacy campaigns that helped pass medical marijuana legislation in states that include New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut. Williams also served 22 years in two branches of the military, and advocates on behalf of veterans to retain benefits in markets where medicinal cannabis is legal.
“Medical cannabis has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis” Williams affirms on the LenitivLabs website.
“Many thousands of others all over this country, less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real, have experienced the same thing. As the country trends towards greater acceptance of recreational use, I started LenitivLabs because it’s critical that we continue to meet the unique needs of medicinal cannabis patients, so the partnership with BAS was a natural one for us and one which I’m excited about,” Williams said in a press release.
Two of BAS’ three co-founders, Doug Chloupek, chief operating officer, and Dr. Bao Le, chief executive officer, also have personal experience with medicinal cannabis that influenced the creation of the company.
Chloupek has been associated with the medicinal cannabis industry for 20 years, and was one of California’s first medicinal cannabis users in 1997. “I’ve experienced the benefits of medicinal cannabis first-hand and, unfortunately, seen the effects of people, especially those with the most serious illnesses, not having access to quality-controlled products to support their medical conditions,” said Chloupek.
Dr. Le’s youngest son, who has autism and epilepsy, also has used medicinal cannabis to manage seizures and night terrors. “I am doing this for my son and to help others benefit from medicinal cannabis,” Le said.
Ernie Arreola, the company’s chief strategy officer, also is a co-founder with experience in medical marijuana and patient care advocacy.
Lenitiv Scientific products will be available in California in early 2017 and other legal states in the future. A new line of BAS medical products is projected to begin production in Q1 2017, pending completion of the company’s neuropathic pain investigation studies.
As of mid-November, medical cannabis use is legal in 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and limited use is allowed in a number of other states. Use can be defined by the concentrations of cannabinoid chemicals, primarily tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), for pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea control, and other benefits in a variety of medical conditions.