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Pharmaceutical And Synthetic Versions Of Cannabis

The following is a list of some of the most well-known pharmaceutical and synthetic versions of cannabis that have been created or are in the works.


Sativex (nabiximols) is a cannabis-based drug from GW Pharmaceuticals that has been approved for multiple sclerosis and muscle spasticity in twenty-four countries (except the United States) as of press time. The spray has a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and is available as an oromucosal spray. It was licensed and introduced as the world's first cannabis-based prescription drug in the United Kingdom in 2010.

Phase III clinical studies for the treatment of pain in cancer patients began in late 2006 in the United States, and a patent for Sativex for cancer pain was awarded in 2011. Sativex received "quick track" status from the FDA in 2014 for the treatment of pain in advanced cancer patients.


Epidiolex (cannabidiol) is a GW Pharmaceuticals-developed plant-based, oral pharmaceutical formulation of pure CBD in development for the treatment of a number of uncommon juvenile epileptic syndromes. Since 2007, GW has been conducting substantial pre-clinical research on CBD for epilepsy. CBD has been proven to have anti-epileptiform and anticonvulsant effects in a range of in vitro and in vivo assays, as well as reducing seizures in numerous acute epileptic animal models. Epidiolex has been designated as an orphan medication by the FDA for the treatment of Dravet syndrome, LGS, tuberous sclerosis complex, and infantile spasms.

Epidiolex for the treatment of Dravet syndrome has also acquired fast track designation from the FDA and orphan designation from the European Medicines Agency. Additional clinical development programs in other orphan seizure syndromes are also being evaluated by GW.

The chemical structure of Dronabinol
The chemical structure of Dronabinol


Solvay Pharmaceuticals produces Dronabinol (trade name Marinol), a synthetic form of THC. It was licensed by the FDA in the United States in 1985 for nausea and in 1992 for appetite stimulation; it was classified as a Schedule 3 drug in 1999. In 2003, it was licensed in Denmark for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It has been licensed in Canada since 2000 for AIDS-related cachexia as well as nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatment (since 1988).


Nabilone (brand name Cesamet) is a Valeant Pharmaceuticals synthetic cannabinoid medication used to treat nausea and vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy and as an analgesic for neuropathic pain. It's a synthetic version of THC, which is the principal intoxicating component found in cannabis. It was first licensed for usage in the United States by the FDA in 1985, but it was taken off the market until it was re-approved in 2006. It was approved in 1981 in Canada, 1982 in the United Kingdom and Australia, and 2007 in Mexico. The FDA authorized safety-labeling modifications for nabilone in 2006, including warnings and precautions about its usage, such as the drug's potential to influence a patient's mental state.

Green molded balls of synthetic cannabis
Green molded balls of synthetic cannabis

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of man-made, mind-altering compounds that are sprinkled on dried, shredded plant material and smoked (herbal incense) or sold as liquids to be vaporized and breathed in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense).

Because they are related to molecules found in the cannabis plant, these chemicals are known as cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are commonly referred to as "synthetic cannabis" (or "fake weed") and are frequently promoted as safe and legal alternatives, despite the fact that they are neither. In reality, they may have far more potent effects on the brain than cannabis; their actual effects can be unpredictable, harsh, and even life-threatening in some situations.

Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a class of medications known as "new psychoactive substances," which are new to the market and are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs. Some of these chemicals have been present for a long time but have recently resurfaced due to fresh interest or in different chemical forms.

These herbal incense items are packaged in colorful foil wrappers, whereas similar liquid incense goods, like other e-cigarette fluids, are packaged in plastic bottles. They sell these goods under a variety of brand names, including K2 and Spice in previous years.

Synthetic cannabis mixes have been widely available for several years in drug stores, novelty stores, petrol stations, and on the internet. Authorities have made them unlawful to sell, buy, or possess many of the substances used in them because they have a significant potential for misuse and no medical benefit.

In Conclusion

Over 100 natural cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant. Natural cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant or can be derived from it.

Terpenes, alkaloids, amides, flavonoids, fatty acids, and noncannabinoid phenols are among the various substances found in cannabis plants.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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