Korean, Japanese partners to make, distribute advanced oral CBD product

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A Korean pharmaceutical maker said it will partner with a Japanese company to complete development of a CBD “film” for oral intake.

CTC Bio, Gyeonggi-do province in Korea, said Japan’s Evolution Network LLC (CoNet LLC), Tokyo, will also distribute the products in Japan and other international markets under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed this week.

The technology, called an “oral dissolving film” (ODF), releases the healing agent within a few seconds due to water-soluble polymers which are quickly dissolved by saliva. The film also allows for the administering of more accurate doses, CTC Bio said.

Patents sought

CTC Bio claims it is the first CBD-laden ODF. The company said it has applied for patents on the oral delivery technology in Korea and internationally.

“We will be the only global company that has secured film-type CBD research technology and expect this MOU to be the cornerstone for expanding CBD business overseas,” CTC Bio CEO Kim Young-deok said.

Potential in Japan

Japan’s strict hemp laws do not allow production of products from cannabis flowers, leaving CTC Bio in position to take up a large piece of the Japanese market in the future, the company said.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in October recommended allowing imports of cannabis for medical use, opening a crack for medical grade CBD imports. That change came a year after the ministry first indicated its intention to lift the country’s ban on cannabis-based medicines.

Gray market

Meanwhile, over-the-counter sales of CBD food and cosmetics products, while illegal, are widely available in retail shops in Japan as producers anxious to reach consumers have sparked a gray market and enforcement agencies have turned a blind eye.

Japan’s over-the-counter CBD sector had an estimated market value of $59 million in 2019, according to Tokyo-based research firm Visiongraph.

CTC Bio has been conducting CBD research and development since 2017 at the Gyeongbuk Industrial Hemp Regulatory Free Zone located in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. 

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