Cannabis research in Europe set to accelerate with EU launch of Zentrela’s Cognalyzer®

June 27, 2024


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In just a few decades, cannabis has moved from a highly classified substance with negative cultural connotations to a widely accepted therapeutic drug for recreational and medicinal purposes. 

From Uruguay to Malta and Germany, governments worldwide have moved to legalize or significantly declassify the use of cannabis. This has been accompanied by a widespread shift in attitudes.

For example since the 1990s, those in favor of legalizing cannabis has tripled, while 9 in 10 support legalization in some capacity.

From easing anxiety, providing relief to an array of medical conditions, or just an alternative way to unwind after a hard week, cannabis use is increasingly common across demographics. 

However, the move towards legalizing cannabis also demands improved ways to monitor the quality of products and the psychoactive effects on users to offer guidance and reduce potential risk factors within populations. 

Zentrela, a Canadian neurotechnology company, has been addressing this challenge for a number of years in North America. Its Cognalyzer® first went to market in Canada and the US in 2021 following 5 years of R&D and independent scientific validation, in order to deliver a faster and more cost-effective way to conduct objective, reliable cannabis effect research.

Now, Zentrela is bringing Cognalyzer® to the European Union, marking a milestone for cannabis research. 

Bringing EEG brainwave scans to the mainstream with Cognalyzer®

Cannabis has a reputation for being the most commonly consumed drug in Europe. In the past year, over 22 million European adults used cannabis, roughly 8% of the continent’s adult population. Moreover, an estimated 3.7 million of these adults are said to be daily users, highlighting the need to better understand its psychological effects. 

As countries within the European Union move towards legalizing cannabis, there is a widespread need for improved measures of control. 

Zentrela CEO Israel Gasperin (Photo Credit: LinkedIn)

Zentrela was founded in Canada by Engineering Scientist and entrepreneur Israel Gasperin with the support of Dr. Dan Bosnyak, a University of McMaster neuroscientist. The company offers a commercially viable way to objectively quantify the psychoactive effects of cannabis, with its Cognalyzer® solution being a portable non-invasive device that scans brainwaves using AI and wearable EEG technology.

Said Israel Gasperin in a company statement, “The emergence of the cannabis market in the European Union creates the urgent need to generate accurate and reliable cannabis effect information that enables Europeans to make informed purchase and consumption decisions.“

Zentrela’s established presence in the North American markets earlier showed how the Cognalyzer® can support regulators to improve the investigation process of cannabis-impaired driving and support market research into commercial cannabis products.

Supporting cannabis research in Europe 

Given that Zentrela has been on the market in Canada and the US since 2021, the company has a proven track record. For instance, licensed cannabis companies, including PAX and Kinloch Wellness, have been using the product for the past 3 years.

Now that this technology is approved for commercial use across the European Union, cannabis companies, labs, research universities, clinics and even police stations can integrate Zentrela’s wearable EEG device into their own models. 

The product is already IRB-approved and complies with GDPR standards.

At a time when cannabis products are becoming more widely available to the public, its Cognalyzer® looks to provide a faster and more cost-effective way to conduct objective, reliable cannabis effect research. 

Leveraging brainwave analysis for the cannabis industry 

Zentrela’s Cognalyzer® is currently approved for research into the psychoactive effects of cannabis, but in the future, the availability of fast, affordable brainwave readings could open up many other research avenues. 

Moving forward, this neurotechnology company aims to expand into brainwave analysis that supports research into conditions such as depression and anxiety by bringing rapid brain analysis into the mainstream for patients, physicians, and researchers. 

Engineering Scientist and CEO Gasperin explained, “This is the real disruptive value of our proprietary AI and wearable EEG technology. We’ve created a new way of conducting human trials for cannabis effect research that can be completed in 3 months rather than 18 months studies, including clinical trials.”

Given that anxiety and depression represent a significant healthcare burden across Europe, with 25% increase in prevalence following the COVID pandemic, Zentrela’s brainwave analysis technology could have even more impact in the future. 

This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company


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