Medical Cannabinoids: A New Era of Hope for Chronic Pain

When we are unwell, we traditionally turn to over-the-counter or prescription treatments, and the old adage “take two and call me in the morning” still rings true for many of us.

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However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the use of plant-made therapeutics, including cannabinoids, to improve quality of life and manage chronic pain.

To find out more, we spoke to one of the pioneers of medical cannabis in Canada, Brent Zettl, who has worked to change perceptions of plant-made therapeutics through a science-led approach. Now leading his most recent venture, ZYUS Life Sciences, Brent spoke to us about the progress in medical cannabinoids and their potential to define a new era of hope for those struggling to manage their pain.

Why is chronic pain such an important area of focus for you?

“I have seen the debilitating effects of chronic pain first-hand, and it is truly heartbreaking. Traditionally, opioid-based medications have been prescribed to patients to bring them relief, but these medications can pose negative safety, addiction, and overdose risks (1). Inadequate treatment of chronic pain has contributed to the devastating consequences of the opioid crisis resulting from opioid misuse, overdose and even babies born with withdrawal syndrome. The CDC reports more than 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses in the US and millions misuse prescription opioids (2). The Government of Canada is also reporting a 74% increase (3) in opioid-related deaths since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. ZYUS is committed to offering solutions to curb these tragic numbers.”

What progress has ZYUS made so far in uncovering the power of cannabinoids as an effective treatment for chronic pain?

“Compelling evidence exists to support the principle that specific cannabinoid formulations can help manage pain. Our team at ZYUS is committed to a science-based approach with pre-clinical and clinical studies to unlock the extraordinary potential of cannabinoids to transform patient outcomes.”

What does the next generation of research and development look like for ZYUS and how will this further help patients?

“ZYUS is committed to driving the industry forward and leading the development of the next generation of plant-made therapeutics. This spring, ZYUS launched the first phase of its HOPE (Human Osteoarthritis Pain Evaluation) clinical trial in Australia to determine the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of Trichomylin® softgels – a novel cannabinoid formulation – to alleviate chronic pain. Developed by our team at ZYUS, our HOPE trial is the first-in-human clinical trial on a novel cannabinoid formulation of its kind globally. We believe Trichomylin® softgels have the potential to offer a safe and effective alternative to opioids, without the devasting addictive qualities. With millions of Canadians suffering from pain, our ‘hope’ is that Trichomylin® softgels become a prescription drug for pain management, to effectively to make life more livable for those struggling to manage pain.

To learn more about ZYUS’ mission to reinvent how pain is treated, visit

(1) Opioids and the Opioid Crisis. Health Canada. 2021.
(2) Understanding the Epidemic. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2021.
(3) Opioid and Stimulant-related Harms in Canada. Government of Canada. 2021.

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