Vireo Health International Inc (CNSX:VREO) Begins Trading on CSE
Vireo Health International Inc (CNSX:VREO) (OTCMKTS:VREOF) CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley provides an introduction to the company and an overview of its research. Vireo is the leading science-focus MSO in the United States. Founded by doctors, Vireo prioritizes IP development, which also drives opportunities in the health and wellness space. Dr. Kingsley believes the paucity of data regarding the efficacy of cannabinoids is a direct result of prohibition. He notes CBD can be a valuable tool to treat chronic pain without the negative side effects of current treatments, such as opioids. The company is involved in multiple clinical studies and is interested in developing a cannabinoid-based intravenous therapy for use in emergency health care. Vireo operates in 7 states and recently began trading on the CSE.
Narrator: Vireo Health, Inc. is a physician-led multi-state cannabis company committed to safely alleviating pain by providing patients with cannabis products and compassionate care. Vireo’s subsidiary companies cultivate cannabis in environmentally friendly greenhouses, manufacture pharmaceutical-grade cannabis extracts, and offer their products for sale to qualifying patients at retail dispensaries and online.
Vireo Health, Inc. is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol VREO.
James West: Why don’t we start with an overview: what does Vireo Health do?
Kyle Kingsley: Yeah, so Vireo Health is the scientific leader of the multi-state cannabis operators in the United States. I’m a physician; we’re heavily stacked with physicians and scientific leadership, and our focus is really on building sort of the cannabis company of the future, with a heavy focus on science and real IP development.
I think most of us in the space acknowledge that cannabis is rapidly commoditizing, and we’re building this on an agricultural commodity. So you need to look past that and really, I think, step into the IP realm, build real science and real differentiated products to be successful long term.
James West: Yeah, that’s for sure. And so what kind of products do you envision creating?
Kyle Kingsley: You know, a lot of this stuff in the realm, in the cannabis industry, I don’t think we’ve even imagined yet. But we’re very interested in, you know, very precise oils. You know, vaporization for a path of delivery. We’re interested in alcohol replacement, we’re interested in a lot of things that haven’t even hit the market yet, so I can’t go into too much detail around some of these things.
James West: Right, okay. So then, is October 17th, 2019 going to be a big day for Vireo, Kyle?
Kyle Kingsley: You know, I’m hopeful that it will be, yes.
James West: Right. All right, so obviously if you are all physicians, is this focusing strictly on the medical side?
Kyle Kingsley: You know, our focus really is on – obviously, we’re physicians, we’re very adept with medicine, but our main focus really is science. And we feel that superior science drives opportunities not just in medical cannabis, but also through the health and wellness end and into the adult use and recreational cannabis. Everybody deserves precision; everybody ideally likes the stamp of approval of science, and you know, it never hurts to have physicians and science, you know, in your leadership and in your process.
James West: Sure. Okay, so, interesting. I consume CBD every day, and it gives me a much clearer mindset and does all kinds of other things. What is the scientific evidence that supports that effect of CBD?
Kyle Kingsley: You know, I’m not going to make myself terribly popular here, but just speaking strictly as a physician, the evidence behind CBD is sparse. That being said, in some conditions like these terrible seizure disorders that we see in some kids, you know, CBD is a real tool. I’m excited about CBD in the realm of chronic pain in particular, and I think it’s just a matter of time until the evidence catches up; but the current state of evidence is, I’m going to try to put this politically, but it’s not robust.
That being said, I’m very confident, especially in the realm of chronic pain, that we’re going to have the evidence to justify the use of CBD and other cannabinoids, other components of the cannabis plant, as meaningful treatments.
James West: Okay. What indications could you talk about that you feel, as a physician, that CBDs and/or THCs have the greatest potential for that is still not supported by evidence?
Kyle Kingsley: I’m most excited about the pain realm. I’m Board-certified in emergency medicine, I witnessed firsthand kind of the opioid crisis that we’re dealing with. I did over a decade of work in the emergency room; I saw the overdoses, the folks dealing with addiction, the, you know – opioids are very dangerous, and if you start to bring a tool to bear like cannabis as medicine that doesn’t have these terrible risks, the cost-benefit analysis makes it a no-brainer, especially in the realm of chronic pain.
Now, there’s a lot of other indications, and I’m willing to be a little bit more aggressive as a physician just because we’re not seeing the risks and downsides. Granted, we don’t have a 30 and 40 year track record of what inhaling vaporized oils is going to do, but I’m very comfortable saying that it seems unlikely the side effects are ever going to approach what we’re seeing with opioids and many of the other pharmaceuticals that are out there.
James West: Okay, so is your product development pipeline designed to yield pharmaceutical-level formulations that will go through the FDA process?
Kyle Kingsley: Yeah, we have a full spectrum. We’re kind of, you know, approaching all angles, here. Our products range from, you know, top quality products in these siloed state-based markets like New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota; but we’re not afraid of things like FDA-pipeline products, and we have several candidates that are pretty interesting. You know, I’m interested in things like intravenous cannabinoids for acute pain. You know, imagine yourself going into the emergency department with a broken ankle. Current industry norm is that you get an IV opioid, which is not without risk. You know, it’s pretty common that we get side effects from that, even in the hospital setting.
And so you replace that with an IV cannabinoid, it’s very interesting, and you know, I think that the safety profile, again, is much different. So we’re really, you know, capitalizing on the short and immediate-term opportunity, which is bringing top quality products to these state-based markets, but we’re also looking with, you know, we always have one eye towards the future, and if you can build real, quality FDA products that eventually get the FDA stamp of approval, that’s going to gain, you know, acceptance by mainstream medicine and maximize patient access. And I think that’ll make a big dent in modern medicine.
James West: Sure. Interesting. Then, the absence of data to support the research at this point is a direct result of 70 years of prohibition, is that fair to say?
Kyle Kingsley: Absolutely. No, it truly is an accident of history that this plant ended up where it is, and it’s interesting to listen to myself say this. You know, five years ago I was working away in the emergency department, a product of our traditional medical education system. I thought that cannabis was basically a recreational substance. You know, I met some interesting cases in the Emergency Room which really got me looking to this, and you know, it’s bizarre to me that cannabis ended up where it is.
You know, prior to the 1930s, it was a standard part of medical practice for a wide array of medical conditions, and you know, it’s really interesting to me kind of the paucity of research that’s out there. We’re working hard to change that. Our Chief Medical Officer, one of the four full time physicians we have on our team, a guy named Dr. Stephen Dahmer out of New York City, he is an ethnobotanist; he really has developed an encyclopedic knowledge around cannabis as medicine, and he’s involved in multiple studies right now, you know, kind of, he basically is the vanguard for Vireo in these meaningful clinical studies.
You know, at the forefront there would probably be this Montefiore study, which actually got a $3.8 million NIH grant to study the upsides of cannabis in chronic pain. So stuff like that is what’s going to change the stigma and really get mainstream medicine to buy into this as real medicine.
James West: Right. Are you – so you’re going to be growing your own feedstock for your products, then?
Kyle Kingsley: Yeah, we do. We’re vertically integrate in every state where we operate. Right now, that’s Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island and Arizona. And so we actually like to control the entire process. My personal opinion is that for bulk oil production, for large scale production, large swaths of this industry are going to be moved outdoors. I’m not talking about boutique bud, that’s a different process; I’m talking about large-scale production. It’s just really hard to beat with the cost effectiveness of growing this at scale in hundred-acre fields, harvesting it with a combine, processing it at scale…it’s just really hard to beat those costs.
James West: Right. Do you think that the biosynthetic segment that is currently in the sort of development phase of growing cannabinoids on genetically modified yeast and/or algae and/or bacteria, do you think the future of cannabinoids will be derived from those sources, ultimately, and how long do you think that’ll take?
Kyle Kingsley: So I think that is one particular path for cannabinoids. For a single-molecule sort of FDA path process, that’s the likely path. But I really have a tough time imagining your rank and file humanity endorsing these kind of mass-produced, single-molecule compounds versus the whole plant extracts. I think many of us are kind of leaning towards the power of whole plant extracts and a more natural approach; I have a tough time imagining that ever taking second fiddle to some synthetic process. Just because the synthetic process exists, doesn’t mean that that’ll be the default.
And there’s a parallel, actually, with the opium poppy, which is still produced that way. There are a lot of synthetic opioids; it’s really kind of a terrible parallel, because it’s exactly what we’re trying to counter – you know, we’re trying to fight the opioid crisis with cannabis. I’m a big fan of whole plant extracts, and I think most people like the natural whole plant approach.
James West: Yeah, for sure – that’s refreshing to hear you say that, Kyle. I mean, yes, the biosynthetic will be a source for non-discerning people who just don’t really care where it came from, but I think that the use of cannabis on a daily basis and the culture that the use of cannabis, sort of the mindset it engenders, is predisposed toward non-GMO, organic, not, you know, Franken-bacteria grown stuff, so I kind of agree with you, here, in that respect. So it’ll be interesting to see.
Kyle, we’re going to leave it there for now. That’s a great introduction to your company. We’re going to continue to communicate with you down the road; we want to come visit your facilities and sort of get a better sense of what you’re doing. Congratulations on going public, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Kyle Kingsley: Thank you guys for your time. Really appreciate it.
Original article: Vireo Health International Inc (CNSX:VREO) Begins Trading on CSE
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