Marijuana entrepreneurs have been looking for ways to innovate in the weed-derivative market. They’ve also pursued the creation, patenting, and protection of their unique strains, which are generally the product of years of research. However, some cannabis entrepreneurs have been struggling to obtain the patents they seek, as federal law still considers marijuana illegal. Nevertheless, the number of cannabis patent applications has multiplied over the past few years, since its legalization in several states. When accounting for the number of patents that have been rejected (about half), and the ones that have expired, there are currently about 500 marijuana patents active in the US.
The Future Of Weed Is In Unique Chemical Formulas
Skilled cultivators were once all it took to obtain popular strains. However, the current cannabis landscape is gradually moving towards manufactured products such as cannabis oils, pills, and edibles, which rely more on chemistry than the cultivation of the plant. This means that an increasing number of scientists are striving to design cannabis products that cater to the rapidly evolving market.
Formulas constitute the unique selling propositions of these products, establishing specific THC to CBD ratios to match current trends and tastes. They also feature different potencies of terpenes, which dictate the psychoactive effects of the plant or derivative. This precise approach seeks to fulfill the needs of an increasingly “discerning” consumer, looking for the product with their exact desired dosage and effects.
The future of cannabis lies in the intellectual property connecting the user looking for a tailored experience, and the cultivator with the chemical expertise to provide it. These researched, unique formulas represent many entrepreneurs’ “life work” and can be patented based on scientific expression and methodology.
Ratio Manipulation Decreases The Perceived Risk
Before the over-the-counter sale of marijuana, the consumer risked experiencing a “different sensation” every time they purchased the product. There were no widely used scientifically-effective methods of ensuring the strain had the same chemical makeup as the product they had purchased before. The use of formulas has enabled the marijuana entrepreneur to control the signature effect, taste, and smell of their product. This consistency helps them maintain a customer base, and according to LuciMood Chief Science Officer Tristan Watkins, it allows for a “designer high” experience.
The “designer” effect provides consumers using cannabis for medical purposes the ability to control whether they experience psychoactive effects. To create these specific formulations, scientists are required to deconstruct the plant down to each individual compound, which they then observe in isolation. These studies allow them to associate compounds with specific effects, such as drowsiness or energy, and establish efficacious formulas with pre-established targets reflective of consumer needs.
What A Cannabis Patent Requires
There are a few areas a cannabis entrepreneur will want to explore before filing a patent. They will need to establish and account for the following:
- The composition of their cannabis
- The chemical formulations of their products
- The methods of preparations for their products
- How the chemical compounds present in their cannabis engage with human
- How the cannabinoids present in your cannabis can be used to treat diseases
Cannabis patents can only be filed for asexually reproduced plants. The “unique” strain inventor will need to prove that their discovery is entirely novel, and isn’t naturally occurring, but the result of their research and work. They will also have to show that their plant can be grown in a lab without the need for cross-pollination between the male and female plants. Alternatively, there may be a roadmap for obtaining a patent on a unique formulation created from multiple plants.
The Legal Status Of Cannabis May Make The Granting Of Marijuana Patents More Common
Until recently, the legality of cannabis across the country has had little effect on whether patents were granted for the plant, genetically-altered seed, or its derivatives. Some of the earlier cannabis patents were filed by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2003. However, patent access was almost exclusively granted to pharmaceutical companies. It is possible that the recent legalization of cannabis across various states could ultimately facilitate patent activity. But, with the basis of the cannabis patent being the novelty of its chemical structure, the more products that are created, and patents that are filed, the harder it may be for new players to attest to the individuality of their creation.
A Final Word
Cannabis patents are increasingly becoming accessible to the marijuana innovators that have strived to create unique strains. They have turned cannabis into a controllable, consistent substance suited to medicine as much as leisure. However, the industry is getting competitive; therefore, new players should expect increasing challenges in proving their products’ uniqueness.