Amid all the hype for recreational marijuana use, it’s easy to forget that cannabis and its related plants are also popular for their medicinal effects.
Seattle-based RightSciences is taking full advantage of those traits by using cannabis plants in its pain-relieving patches. The company just raised $500,000 to fuel that work and is looking to expand its scope with more plant-based wellness patches.
RightSciences Founder and CEO Sarah Blankinship declined to identify the company’s investors but said they are individuals, largely women and others from minority groups.
Blankinship, a tech security expert who spent more than 12 years at Microsoft, said the inspiration for RightSciences came from her mother, who struggled to recover from a stroke.
“I couldn’t find a clean transdermal product to put on her body, so I made one,” Blankinship told GeekWire in an email interview. “Along the way I discovered an underserved market of people who need quality and consistent plant-based relief, thus changing my career direction from tech into biotech.”
The company currently makes two patches: RightPatch, formulated from cannabis, and SIVApatch, formulated from hemp, a type of cannabis plant grown for its fibrous stalk and often used as a textile and food alternative.
Blankinship said the patches have a variety of uses, but most customers use the patches in place of common over-the-counter pain medicines like Advil and Tylenol. The patches are placed directly on the skin and release their formula over eight hours. They do not have the mental effects of smoking cannabis and won’t get a user “high.”
RightSciences doesn’t manufacture the patches themselves, instead licensing the technology to a network of labs and other partners in countries around the world.
As cannabis has become legal and more popular in the mainstream, scientists have begun researching the plant’s medicinal qualities. Though there is still not much research to cite, some studies have found that cannabis treats pain and inflammation in those with chronic conditions.
Pain-relieving cannabis products are also widely available online. Anecdotal and historical evidence shows that compounds in the plant have been used to treat everything from epilepsy to eating disorders.
Blankinship said RightSciences’ patches are normally used by those who have chronic pain, like chronic joint problems or an ongoing injury. She also said the company is planning to expand to offer patches that address wellness concerns, possibly formulated from other plants.
RightSciences was founded in 2015 and has three full-time employees at its Seattle headquarters: Blankinship, COO Bianca Wakeford and Director of Business Development Nina Holtsberry.