Throughout the short history of synthetic cannabis-based extracts in modern pharmacology, several drugs have already failed to show efficacy when treating or alleviating symptoms in patients suffering from various ailments.
Marinol: An FDA approved prescription drug containing pure synthetic THC (“Dronabinol”). Marinol was first approved in capsule form in 1985, designated originally to treat symptoms associated with chemotherapy (nausea and vomiting) for cancer patients. Scientists believed it would have the same effect as the whole cannabis plant but with limited efficacy and negative side effects (in comparison to cannabis) both patients and scientists soon realized that was not the case.
[One Patient Testimonial: “The only problem is that the pill, which looks like a vitamin cap, isn’t all that popular in the sick wards. There are three main objections. First, vomiting patients have trouble swallowing a pill. Then, if a patient does swallow the pill, the good effects don’t kick in for hours. And when the pill finally starts to work – buckle up.”
“A 2.5 milligram Marinol pill absolutely knocked me out” reports one man with AIDS. “I wound up lying on the sofa for days, just totally drugged and unproductive. Marinol has unpleasant side effects – as can be expected from a pill that is 99 percent THC. An April 1986 product insert from Roxane Laboratories warned that Marinol elicits “disturbing psychiatric symptoms” and that even patients on low doses might experience “a full-blown picture of psychosis.” The latter phrase has disappeared from recent product inserts, but experts say nothing has changed”.]
Cesamet: known as Nabilone on the market, Cesamet is a synthetic analogue of THC introduced in the mid 1980’s in the U.S. but was then removed at the end of that decade. Originally used as an antiemetic to alleviate symptoms such as nausea and the consequent vomits from anti-cancer treatments.
Dexanabinol: A non-psychotropic cannabinoid NMDA receptor antagonist originally developed by Pharmos Corp for the potential treatment of cerebral ischemia, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiac failure, head injury and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Pharmos was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health but had failed to demonstrate efficacy as measured by the primary clinical outcome endpoint, the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOSE).
The “Honeymoon Effect”
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