Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Drugs
Dronabinol – also known as Marinol is a chemically identical synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinaol (THC) initially FDA approved in 1985 for nausea and vomiting related to cancer chemotherapy. It is taken in pill form in 2.5mg to 10mg capsules.
Nabilone – also known as Cesamet – is chemically similar to THC, initially FDA approved in 1985 for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. More potent that Dronabinol, it is available in 0.25mg, 0.50mg and 1.0mg capsules
Nabiximols – also known as Sativex – is a plant derived cannabis extract with a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. It is used as an oral mucosal spray for pain management. Available in 20 different countries, but not currently available in the United States
Cannador – another plant based extract, this medicine uses a 2:1 THC to CBD ratio. Orally administered, it is being studied in Europe to treat weight loss and lack of appetite in cancer patients.
Note: An anti-cannaboid drug was developed to reduce appetite and help weight loss – however, the drug had to be taken off the market because one of the side effects was severe depression and suicide
Plant/Herbal Sources of Cannabis
Dispensary Grade Cannabis
Dispensary Grade Cannabis is under strict regulatory control, with assurance that the plant derived medicine is free of contaminants, and contains standardized amounts of active ingredients. A well-stocked dispensary will offer several varieties (strains) of cannabis, including both cannabis sativa (stimulating strains) and cannabis indica (sedating strains). Dispensary grade cannabis will indicate what particular strain is being utilized, the “potency” (high, moderate or low with regards to levels of THC) and the percentage content of THC and CBD. The sativa strains are thought to stimulate CB1 more than CB2, whereas the indica strains are thought to stimulate CB2 greater than CB1.
Street Grade Cannabis
Street grade cannabis (marijuana, pot, grass, and weed) is not a reliable source of cannabis because of its illegal nature and “black market” availability. In addition, there is no assurance as to what strain is contained; there are no standardized amounts of THC and CBD. The purity and lack of contaminants is also questionable.