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The medical marijuana drug Sativex, which could be approved in the United States in the coming years as a treatment for pain relief, has little potential for abuse, experts say.
The British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals is currently testing the drug, which is delivered as a mouth spray and called Sativex, in clinical trials. The company plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug as a treatment for cancer pain when the trials are completed, likely sometime in 2014, a spokesperson for GW Pharmaceuticals told MyHealthNewsDaily.
The active ingredients in Sativex, known as cannabinoids, are derived from the cannabis plant. It is the first marijuana-based drug to be made by extracting the compounds from the plant, rather than synthesizing them. Two other drugs, Marinol and Cesamet, based on synthetic cannabinoids, were approved by the FDA in the 1980s.
Because the drug contains THC, the ingredient primarily responsible for marijuana’s “high,”it’s possible people would use the drug for recreational rather than medical purposes.