Since the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid receptor systems approximately 20 years ago, cannabis-based medicines have undergone intensive research. The majority of the clinical effects of cannabis medications can be ascribed to an activation of endogenous cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors. Since 1975, more than 100 controlled clinical studies of cannabinoids or whole plant preparations have been carried out with different indications. In numerous countries, the results of these studies led to the approval of cannabis-based medicines. Established indications for a therapy with cannabis medicines are currently spasticity in the case of multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy, loss of appetite in the case of HIV/Aids and neuropathic pain.
The following medications and active ingredients based upon THC and CBD are already available:
- In the USA, doctors prescribe Marinol capsules to Aids and cancer patients suffering from nausea. The remedy stimulates the appetite and contains, above all, THC molecules.
- The synthetic medication Cesamet, with the active ingredient Nabilone, is likewise prescribed to Aids patients.
- Epidiolex, a third THC medication, is still to be clinically tested. It is based on cannabidiol and is intended for children suffering from a very rare and severe form of epilepsy (Dravet-syndrome).
- Only Sativex, with the active ingredients THC and CBD, is authorised as a remedy in Germany and Austria. The fluid preparation is sprayed into the oral cavity and is prescribed against seizures for patients suffering from the nervous disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
- The synthetically manufactured active ingredient Dronabinol is classified in Germany as a narcotic and not approved as a medicine. Treatment with Dronabinol is approved for medicinal purposes in Austria, as is, since 2016, treatment with natural THC.
The following overview of studies concerns the areas:
- Pain research
- Oncology and chemotherapy
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Neurological symptoms
- General hemp research
Our overview based on research in the medical databank PubMed https://www.pubmed.de/gateway/nlm-pubmed/ (2012 until April 2017) with the keywords: medical cannabis. On the site http://www.cannabis-med.org/studies/study.php you will find clinical studies on cannabis or individual cannabinoids in various diseases, as well as case studies on the use of cannabis by patients. This overview is not complete and is constantly being updated.