Wednesday, June 23, 2010

first cannabis prescription drug hits the market

I'm very pleased to hear that the cannabis based pharmaceutical Sativex is being launched on the UK market now, after 11 years in the pipeline. I covered its early promise in this Current Biology piece in 2001, but haven't followed its progress in recent years.

Sativex® (as in C. sativa, and not Savitex, as the Guardian called it) is an oromucosal spray for the treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. Sativex contains two cannabinoids as active ingredients - THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). It is the first cannabinoid medicine derived from whole plant extracts from the Cannabis sativa plant. The company expects Sativex to be approved in Spain shortly. Further submissions will be made in additional European countries during the second half of 2010 under the mutual recognition procedure.

At a price tag of 11 pounds per day, one does have to wonder, though, if allowing patients to grow their own might have been a more affordable solution ...

(photo: GW Pharmaceuticals)

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