When GW Pharmaceuticals' (GWPH) cannabidiol-based drug, Epidiolex, came onto the pharmaceutical scene, cannabis investors rejoiced. Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ 1.97%) recently announced plans to acquire GW Pharma, and to bring its seizure treatment into a larger portfolio of drugs. Epidiolex is just one example of how marijuana can be used to treat serious conditions. Clearly, the healthcare industry and its investors are waking up to the possibilities of cannabis as a medical solution.
But what can cannabis companies offer investors that players in the existing healthcare industry can't? Dr. Chanda Macias is a medical cannabis advocate, researcher, and dispensary owner. She joined Olivia Zitkus and Corinne Cardina on a March 19 episode of Fool Live to the benefits that cannabis companies could bring to patients -- and to healthcare investors' portfolios.
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Corinne Cardina: Why should investors who are already interested in the healthcare space, traditional pharmaceuticals, innovative biotech companies, medical devices, healthcare technology; If you're invested in that space, why might you want to consider investing in the cannabis sector, particularly in the medical marijuana space?
Dr. Chanda Macias: Corinne, this is such a good question. I think sometimes when we're caught up in our day-to-day lives, we don't see the bigger picture. For myself, I've seen how we have focused in the cannabis space on medicines that are for different elements and conditions. For me, that is the healthcare narrative I started from the inception. Also we think about metered-dose inhalers and we think about affordable healthcare. If you take those three ideas that I've put in your mind and you put it in the broader sense of what healthcare can look like today. The first healthcare provider that decides to insure medical cannabis is going to be explosive. When I say explosive, I mean a mass exodus from their traditional providers to go to this one company or multiple companies that will subsidize their medicine, and it will actually trend in the most positive way. A lot of people don't know how many patients are really using medical cannabis. I will say this, if you look at polling from state-to-state with over 75% of support for cannabis usage, whether medical or recreational, you'll start to get an idea of how many people are really interested in using cannabis as the healthcare solution.