Ivan C. Mestrangelo, Founder of MediCrops, shares with Cannabis Report World his view on cannabis prospectives, challenges and opportunities, for a sustainable development of industry.
Can you introduce us to MediCrops®? Where did the idea originate from?
MediCrops® is a Swiss-based and internationally operating pharmaceutical company that specializes in the production and development of cannabis-based medicine. The subsidiary MediCrops® Vevcani DOOEL in Vevcani, North Macedonia, will operate a high-tech indoor cultivation with its own inhouse laboratory to develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals under state license and in accordance with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards.
Besides other entrepreneurial activities, I have been trading raw materials and machines for the pharmaceutical industry in the past years. In 2018, I had to undergo a foot surgery. After the surgery, I struggled with severe pain for quite some time and my doctors prescribed me opiates to relieve the pain. But the side effects caused by this treatment weren’t something I was willing to put up with for much longer. In my search for alternatives, I came across a group of patients with over 1,000 test subjects who were treated with THC extracts. The success rate of the THC samples was at a staggering 96% and the patients unanimously reported a new quality of life, of which they could only have dreamed of before. After further research the true scale of the market became apparent: I realized that a new market worth billions and with almost unlimited potential for growth is opening up here. From this point on, it was clear to me that THC-based medicine is a cornerstone for the future of medicine. THC-based medicine allows to treat a variety of diseases, such as chronic pain, sleep disorders or multiple sclerosis with practically no side effects.
The number of patients continues to rise, but the product range for corresponding drugs is almost non-existent and pharmacies are struggling with shortages of supplies in terms of available drugs. Due to regulatory obstacles, this market is underdeveloped and currently experiencing exponential growth, which sparked my interest in the industry.
What makes your company and products different? Is it your growing technology?
It’s the combination of science and art, head and heart. We deploy sophisticated equipment, designed at the cutting edge of human knowledge: targeted nutrients, professional, custom made lighting equipment and powerful air conditioning to maintain and control the environment, allowing the plants to grow to their maximum genetic potential. Our infrastructure – the building, insulation, solar power equipment, cleanrooms, air locks – permits us to operate with clinical cleanliness. All of these things are the key elements in a complex scientific approach.
However, we keep a lot of the horticulture as simple as possible : water comes from the pure mountain stream. Our philosophy is to listen to the plants, to give them the nutrients they require, to leave them with enough space and the optimal light intensity they need to thrive. And above all, to give them a low stress life and – crucially – the time they need to reach full phenolic maturity.
When it comes to selecting and breeding our cultivars, we spend months or even years observing each plant’s unique characteristics, before deciding which ones are the right ones for the market and eventually the clients. You might call this some kind of love.
What challenges have you faced so far in the cannabis market and how were these overcome?
There are numerous logistical challenges in building a secure facility and gathering the appropriate licenses to operate, as you would expect in any large scale construction project.
However, the main difficulty is dealing with uncertainty in this emerging market. The demographic of the end users changes rapidly. The governmental regulators may signal a change in legislation and may or may not deliver on that change. New players emerge in the distribution part of the Value Chain. Uncertainty causes complexity and we have to keep our plans flexible enough to accommodate this.
What is the most important thing for companies to consider when entering this dynamic industry?
Just as it is important to spend time with the plants and listen to hear their needs, it’s vital to be listening to the signals from the market. The most important thing is to be sure – through research, debate, conferences – on what the market wants. Who is going to buy what kind of product? What will they pay for it? What will be in demand in the next two years?
There is no substitute for understanding the basic economics and product demand that underlie the market’s dynamics.
What are the plans for the future and your ultimate goal?
MediCrops® wants to exploit the full medical potential of the cannabis plant and make it available to patients around the globe who are in need of it. It is our vision, to establish ourselves as a leading company in the production and development of cannabis preparations in Europe. Commercially, the plan is to forge a vertically integrated company, that spans ‘from farm to Pharma’, to capture as much of the Value Chain as possible to protect profit margins as the industry grows and changes. This challenges us to be very effective and efficient at operating several different parts of the business, some in the soil, some in the Laboratory.
Personally, I want to see people free to consume Cannabis in their own way without the state imposing itself into our personal choices and habits. And, through this, to experience the power of cannabis as an economic force.
What do you think the cannabis industry hopes to achieve and what can we see happening over the next few years?
The big goal is to demonstrate that cannabis has extraordinarily varied and diverse medical applications. This should allow society to un-learn prohibition and understand why humans, over the last few millennials, have had such a close relationship with this plant.
When we have achieved this, the world will be ready to allow consuming Cannabis whenever and wherever they choose.
For more information visit https://medicrops.ch/en/