GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH , the British maker of cannabis-based medicine, saw its stock price surge 120% to $84.71 yesterday, up from a two-year low, after announcing a successful phase three clinical trial that proved its drug Epidiolex significantly reduced seizures in children with Dravet Syndrome. But that momentum also generated buzz across pot stocks at large.
Zynerba Pharamceuticals (ZYNE rose 150% to a six-month high of $21.08. Pot penny stocks also jumped huge percentages: CV Sciences, Inc. (CANV rose 70%, Cannabis Science, Inc. (CBIS rose 60%, GreenGro Technologies, Inc., GreenGro Technologies, Inc. (GRNH rose 37%, Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (ATTBF rose 32% and HEMP Inc. (HEMP rose 22%. What’s more, General Cannabis Corp. (CANN , Gloucose Health, Inc. (GLUC , Notis Global, Inc. (MDBX and Terra Tech Corp. (TRTC were all up double-digit percentages.
“It's exciting to see that clinical data is continuing to show what many patients have been experiencing personally - that cannabis-based medicines are effective,” said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech. “It's also encouraging to see these developments lead to economic value for their shareholders. The entire industry is growing quickly, and this is another positive step. It gives me even more confidence in our industry, the science behind it, and our plan to drive shareholder value.”
GWPH, which has been around since 1998 and public since 2001, has carved out a niche in cannabis-based pharmaceuticals by focusing on CBD, cannabidiol, the part of the plant thought to be most tonic to health. Sativex, a drug that treats multiple sclerosis spasticity, has been a major driver to the companies success, and with the rise of Epidiolex and a number of other drugs planned to treat ulcerative colitis, Type 2 diabetes and schizophrenia, GWPH has huge growth potential. This has inspired confidence across the industry.
"GW Pharma has been an industry bellwether for the better part of the last three years as it relates to the burgeoning cannabis space," said Matthew Mills, COO of Med-X, Inc. "What GW and Epidilex have demonstrated is that there is viability for companies to both flourish and help the general public with drug treatments that can be life saving. There is also an intrinsic value as it relates to the continued study of the cannabis plant in search of meaningful remedies."
TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts Plus Portfolio, said on CNBC's "Mad Dash" segment that cannabis-based drugs could also start replacing addictive medicines like Oxycodone to treat pain -- an area where GWPH is well-positioned.
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With the increased legitimacy of marijuana-oriented companies amid clinical trials and other indications of the importance of cannabis-based projects, the various obstacles that have prevented growth in the industry are expected to give way.
”The market's reaction to GWPH's successful trial shows that mainstream finance is ready to support efficacious cannabis-based medicines,” said Mike Bologna, CEO of Green Lion Partners, a Denver-based consultancy in the cannabis industry. “We expect there to be many companies like GWPH to emerge in the coming months and years as restrictions on access and testing procedures are improved.”
“Allowing companies like GWPH to study cannabis's potential to treat disease will only increase the number of viable investment opportunities for investors,” he added. “The dearth of current options on the market only reflects the stringent policing of companies ability to test THC- and CBD-based medication, not its potential as an alternative to opioid or other synthesized products.”
The financial success of GWPH can have a dovetail effect on the industry at large by shifting biased perceptions about cannabis and demonstrating the financial and medical gains that the industry can yield in its development.
That vote of confidence in the industry more widely has been a boon in attracting investors."The cannabis industry is experiencing a series of remarkable financial opportunities as more about the medical benefit of the cannabis plant is discovered," said Brett Roper, COO and co-founder of Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. "With the projected growth of the industry, now is the time for the savvy investor to search out private as well as public companies that are positioned to lead that growth."