Zoe Biehl   |   April 16, 2019

How an Israeli Startup Solved the Medical Cannabis Dosage Problem

One of the biggest challenges that the medical cannabis industry has been trying to solve is known as the reproducibility problem. That is, how can we ensure patients receive a controlled quantity of medical cannabis with each dosage they take?
Zoë Biehl is a professional writer and editor in the cannabis and technology spaces. She also is founder of Wild Lotus, a boutique digital content agency that provides high-quality content to publications and businesses around the world.

When dealing with whole-plant cannabis, ensuring controlled dosage is especially difficult, as the various cannabinoids are not spread evenly around the plant. This means one dose could wind up being much stronger than another, which can be very problematic for medical patients. If the dose is too weak, their symptoms won’t be relieved. If it’s too strong, the psychoactive effects of cannabis could wind up disrupting their daily lives.

This reproducibility issue has been dramatically hindering mass adoption of medical marijuana, as many doctors hesitate to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients — even though cannabis may greatly benefit them — because there is no real control over proper dosage.

The good news is, a startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel has created an innovative solution to this dosage problem, helping medical marijuana patients to easily get the exact dosage they need, time and time again.

Meet the Inhaler That Solves the Medical Cannabis Dosage Problem

Syqe Medical, founded in 2011, has successfully developed a method of administering whole-plant medical cannabis in a way that guarantees proper dosage to patients. The pharmaceutical-grade selective-dose cannabis inhaler, known as the Syqe Inhaler, is the world’s first of its kind. Founder and CEO of Syqe Medical, Perry Davidson, said in an interview:

“We managed to transform a raw plant into consistent, precise doses for the first time in history. Today the doctor can prescribe individually tailored treatment for each patient.”

Syqe Medical has completed multiple successful clinical trials that scientifically prove their technology complies with pharmaceutical standards. Their handheld device could allow patients suffering from numerous medical ailments — from MS to cancer — with the opportunity to quickly and safely get relief using cannabis prescribed by medical professionals.

How the Syqe Inhaler Works

The Syqe Inhaler is designed to be very simple to use for patients and doctors alike. A child-proof cartridge containing whole-plant cannabis is first inserted into the inhaler. This cartridge is then closed with an electrical circuit that becomes a uniformly operating heating element. Each time a patient inhales, a mechanism inside the inhaler closes the circuit and sustains a regulated fixed temperature using heat sensors.

The inhaler uses thermal controllers and lung interfacing to analyze how strong or weak the user is inhaling, and can thus increase or decrease airflow according to the unique inhalation pattern of the user. This feature helps compensate for differences between breaths and helps to assure proper dosage. Whether the user has weak lungs due to cancer or whether they may be having a PTSD-induced anxiety attack, the Syqe Inhaler can regulate the precise dosage they need to maximize the therapeutic effects while avoiding any unwanted side effects.

How precise can the inhaler get? The Syqe Inhaler can vaporize cannabis in doses as small as 100 micrograms — that’s 0.1 milligrams. This precision helps doctors to prescribe the exact amount of medical marijuana a patient requires, making this inhaler more precise and efficient than any other method of cannabis consumption out there today, as illustrated in the graphs below. Moreover, the device’s wireless connectivity even enables physicians to alter the dosage remotely.

Graphs courtesy Syqe Medical

Syqe Medical offers two versions of their inhaler, one designed for personal use and one intended for hospital use, called the Syqe Inhaler Exo. This hospital version features a caregiver interface that allows medical professionals to easily administer doses to patients in intensive care units, cancer centers, or pain clinics.

Where is This Technology Headed?

The Syqe Inhaler Exo is currently used in Haifa, Israel’s Rambam Hospital, the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.

Syqe Medical sees strong demand for their inhaler outside of hospitals and outside of Israel as well. For these reasons, the company is working on conducting clinical trials with US institutions as soon as possible so they can begin offering their device to the American market through the FDA.

Syqe is also working on developing inhalers to be used with other medicinal plants besides cannabis, and possibly even for conventional pharmaceuticals as well.

There is still a long road ahead before we can expect to see Syqe Medical inhalers commercially available internationally. However, having raised $83 million to date, the company seems well on its way to obtaining its goal to provide precise, effective, and easy relief to medical cannabis patients.

 

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