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NM cannabis firm teams with Israeli pharmaceutical manufacturer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For those seeking a cannabis suppository for sale at a local dispensary, your wait is over.

Tablets, patches, oils, topical creams, and lozenge-like “pastilles,” all containing measured doses of THC or CBD, also are on the market now. The suppositories are available in both rectal and vaginal varieties.

Ultra Health LLC, a Bernalillo medical cannabis grower, is ramping up production

now under a joint venture with Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Dadi Segal, CEO of Panaxia, and three employees were in New Mexico recently setting up a 3,600-square-foot production facility at Ultra Health’s property in Bernalillo. They also will oversee training of a local workforce at the plant.

Segal said he started Panaxia in 2010 to apply good manufacturing practices in the pharmaceutical industry to cannabis, which he says will make products more useful to patients and doctors.

“Our idea is to offer products to those patients who will not try the benefits of cannabis because they can’t use it like any other medication,” Segal said.

Panaxia and its parent firm manufacture a variety of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in Israel, he said.

Ultra Health plans to manufacture 28 Panaxia products in all, each containing specific doses of THC or CBD, the active components of cannabis. The measured dosages in Panaxia products have made it possibly to begin clinical trials that are now underway in Israel, Segal said. The findings from those trials will help U.S. physicians use cannabis more effectively as a medicine, he said.

“You can’t do clinical trials unless you have measurable dosages,” he said. Marijuana “can never be a medication if you have to smoke it.”

Leonard Salgado, Ultra Health’s director of New Mexico operations, said the new manufacturing facility is a $1.7 million investment for Ultra Health. It will employ at least 12 people when production ramps up, he said.

The joint venture between Panaxia and Ultra Health emerged from three years of discussions between the firms, Salgado said. Panaxia products now are on sale at Ultra Health’s eight dispensaries statewide, he said. Costs range from $20 to $70 per product, with most falling in the $25 to $30 range.

“I think what the medical community is looking for is a product that is consistent, that has a measured dose, and that actually has the look and feel of a pharmaceutical product,” Salgado said.

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