Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis, Cannabidiol, and Cannabinoid-Based Pharmaceuticals

Christopher A. Legare, Wesley M. Raup-Konsavage, Kent E. Vrana

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background: There is a growing interest in the use of cannabis (and its extracts), as well as CBD oil (hemp extracts containing cannabidiol), for therapeutic purposes. While there is reason to believe that cannabinoids may be efficacious for a number of different diseases and syndromes, there exist limited objective data supporting the use of crude materials (CBD oil, cannabis extracts, and/or cannabis itself). Summary: In the present review, we examined data for pure cannabinoid compounds (dronabinol, nabilone, and CBD), as well as partially purified medicinal cannabis extracts (nabiximols), to provide guidance on the potential therapeutic uses of high-THC cannabis and CBD oil. In general, data support a role for cannabis/cannabinoids in pain, seizure disorders, appetite stimulation, muscle spasticity, and treatment of nausea/vomiting. Given the biological activities of the cannabinoids, there may be utility in treatment of central nervous system disorders (such as neurodegenerative diseases, PTSD, and addiction) or for the treatment of cancer. However, those data are much less compelling. Key Message: On balance, there are reasons to support the potential use of medical cannabis and cannabis extract (Δ9-THC-dominant or CBD-dominant), but much more careful research is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology


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