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What Is Sativex? And How Is It Different from Marijuana?
Sativex is the very pharma-sounding marijuana-based patented pharmaceutical that has been approved in over 24 countries and counting.
Available as a peppermint-flavored mouth spray, it is the first pharmaceutical drug of its kind. It is currently being prescribed as a method of coping for patients with MS (multiple sclerosis) in countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, and Canada. It could be approved for use in the United States too.
This article will seek to answer the question, “what is Sativex?” It will touch upon how it’s made and try to clear up just how the legality of this marijuana-extract actually differs from the still-illegal-in-the-USA marijuana.
What’s the Difference Between Sativex and Marijuana?
GW Pharmaceuticals is the UK-based company behind the drug, and they are quite open about the fact that Sativex contains the very same compounds as cannabis.
So, what is the difference? Well, the drug is manufactured using modern processes that standardize the medicine, resulting in a chemical compound called “Nabiximol.” This means that each and every bottle of the spray created contains the same concentration of ingredients, including a 1:1 equal ratio of THC to CBD.
When it comes to medical marijuana, it’s the lack of standardization that throws up an obstacle for doctors uncomfortable in lending their support for legalization.
Sativex is created using cannabis, and while the aforementioned ratio of THC to CBD can be lower than other, more potent strains of cannabis, it can still produce a high similar to that of smoking marijuana.
This means the most commonly reported side effects of using Sativex typically include fatigue and dizziness.
Medical marijuana users are now often quite savvy in avoiding the negative effects of smoking in general, opting for vaporizers to circumvent issues of oral discomfort. This isn’t the case for a portion of Sativex users, who have reported oral discomfort after administering the mouth spray.
Although the compounds are similar, it’s the method of consumption and levels of standardization that marks Sativex out as different from medical marijuana.
What’s the Difference Between Sativex & CBD Oils?
As mentioned, the ratio of THC to CBD in Sativex is basically 1:1 with a few other components thrown in for good measure. This ratio was tested by the company for remedying a variety of symptoms related to MS and some chronic pain conditions, and it was found to work quite well with a good balance of safety and effectiveness, which resulted in fewer side effects.
Where the drug differs from CBD oils is its THC content. CBD oils typically contain a negligible amount of THC, which serves to set them apart from other medical marijuana products in terms of legality.
The low to virtually non-existent amounts of THC in CBD oils also ensure that users do not experience the aforementioned side effects that Sativex users have reported, such as dizziness and fatigue. They also cannot get you “high.”
And What Is Sativex Used For?
Having undergone a number of clinical trials with a view to tackle a variety of medical conditions, Sativex has seen some success.
As we touched upon at the beginning of the article, Sativex has been approved solely for dealing with MS-related spasticity in a number of countries around the world. Although it produces a “high,” there has been no evidence to suggest that its users have developed a tolerance to the drug over the course of a one-year period.
Creators GW Pharmaceuticals are hopeful that the drug will soothe a number of other medical conditions, including the likes of diabetes, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and cancer. Some previous studies have suggested Sativex could be a potential strategy for neuropathic pain and arthritis, too, while cancer pain trials have been undertaken in the US and the UK.
How Is It Made?
Sativex is manufactured in the United Kingdom, where GW Pharmaceuticals is based. The fact that marijuana is illegal in the UK, even for medical purposes, has not been an impediment to the company as they were issued a governmental license to grow cannabis for research and development in 1998.
The medicine in Sativex is extracted from specially selected cannabis plants that have been grown in order to produce a constant and balanced amount of active ingredients. It is produced in strictly controlled laboratory conditions.