"For the Mexico market, we've had to develop a fully THC-free version," says Dr. Stuart Titus.
Since early 2016, the San Diego–based Medical Marijuana Inc., doing business as HempMeds Mexico, has been exporting a version of its cannabidol (CBD) oil across the border. Last week, the company announced its first major sale to the Mexican government.
"For the Mexico market, we've had to develop a fully THC-free version" of the CBD oil product, says Medical Marijuana CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. "It's the only product that to date is legal in the country."
The government purchase was made by the state of Mexico, located in the country's south-central region, and is earmarked for use by children with refractory epilepsy, in which patients fail to respond to commonly prescribed drugs. A recent trial conducted in the region by Dr. Saul Garza Morales found that 86 percent of patients treated with CBD oil experienced a reduction in epileptic seizures of 50 percent or more over a four-month trial period.
Titus is excited about a potential law change lifting the ban on THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) that would allow a full complement of his products, including skin care and beauty products offered on the US HempMeds site, to be exported.
"Things have changed a little bit since we started distributing, and Mexico is going to allow products that contain up to 1 percent THC to be distributed over-the-counter in the near future," says Titus. "From our anecdotal evidence, when patients start to use the full spectrum of the botanicals, with trace amounts of THC and all, we start to see in many cases a slightly better result."
One percent isn't much — flower buds sold for consumers with intoxication in mind can be 20 or even 30 times more powerful.
"The U.S. military considers 1 percent the threshold for psychoactivity — many countries around the world will allow plants with less than a 1 percent concentration to be grown as a hemp crop,” Titus continues. Still, concern for the developing brains of adolescents (and in keeping with stricter countries that outlaw cannabis products with a THC content greater than 0.3%) means the end product will likely be less potent.