A prescription for ending needless suffering

Why one Canadian company believes plants hold the secret to addressing chronic pain
ZYUS Life Sciences

Created for  “Zyus

Canadians are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Despite scientific advancements and pharmaceutical promises, chronic and neuropathic pain remains a daily challenge for healthcare practitioners and patients. With one in five Canadians suffering from chronic pain1 , millions of Canadians are seeking ways to improve their quality of life and manage their symptoms—and one Canadian company believes that plant-made therapeutics may offer a solution.

The Legacy of the Opioid Crisis

In recent years, prescription opioids have been commonly prescribed to manage symptoms associated with acute or chronic pain—contributing to the global opioid crisis. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada is the second-largest global consumer, per capita, of opioids, behind the United States2. As healthcare practitioners and the public have become more aware of the potential adverse effect of opioids, interest in other pain management options continues to increase.

Cannabinoids Offer an Additional Option

Research has shown that cannabinoids may offer patients an additional option to manage their chronic and neuropathic pain3. While cannabinoids have been used in medicine for thousands of years, science has barely scratched the surface of their full therapeutic potential. Now, companies like ZYUS Life Sciences are working to shift the paradigm from conventional strategies by reimagining the potential of plant-made therapeutics, including innovative cannabinoid-based formulations.

Pioneering the Field of Life Sciences

ZYUS is rooted in science. Born from the concept of ‘science’ and ‘zygote’ (the fusion of two cells), it represents the beginning of life and the importance of improving quality of life. This Saskatoon-based life sciences company believes in taking a forward-thinking, collaborative approach and placing high value in teamwork, partnerships and commitment to the broader ‘us’—society.

They are working to advance the science of well-being by developing targeted, plant-made therapeutics that help to address the unmet needs of patients here in Canada and around the world. “I’ve always seen extraordinary potential in cannabinoids—the compounds within the cannabis plant—for use in medicine,” says Brent Zettl, ZYUS CEO. “What makes me passionate about this industry is helping patients. Hearing how much their life, or that of a loved one, has been transformed is the best motivation to keep moving forward our research into plant-made medicine.”

ZYUS is investing in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials to help further the scientific understanding of cannabinoids and the transformational affect they can have on patient outcomes. “We believe that an evidence-based approach, backed with clinical research, will lead to the development of best-in-class standardized formulations for patients,” says Zettl. “Ensuring that the product is predictable, both in its quality and efficacy, is key to this next generation of plant-made therapeutics.”

ZYUS’ short-term focus is bringing innovative cannabinoid formulations to market, which they plan to sell through in Canada, and in pharmacies around the world, tapping into a population of 800+ million people. In fact, if everything goes to plan, Zettl thinks ZYUS will be “a household name” within the decade. For him, it’s simply a recognition of the “stark need” for the products they’re developing.

It is an exciting time for the company, but it’s not just the expansion and growth that’s making Brent Zettl eager to get to his desk every morning. “For me, it’s knowing that we are helping to improve the human condition,” he says. “There’s no reason why we should have this suffering— and I can’t turn my back on that.”

1 Anderson, M., Campbell, F., Choinière, M., El-Gabalawy, H., Hudspith, M., Laliberté, J., Swidrovich, J., Wilhelm, L. (2019). Chronic Pain in Canada: Laying a Foundation for Action. Canadian Pain Task Force Report: June 2019.

Canadian Institute for Health Information. Opioid Prescribing in Canada: How Are Practices Changing? Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2019.

3 Hendin, B., Ko, G., Loheswaran, G., Safakish, R., Sohanpal, I., Yoon, S. Medical Cannabis for the Management of Pain and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients: A Prospective Observational Study. Pain Medicine. Pnaa163.