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Biomedical benefits of cannabinoids?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Heather Ashton


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Cannabinoids appear to be of therapeutic value as antiemetics, antispasmodics, analgesics and appetite stimulants and may have potential uses in epilepsy, glaucoma and asthma. Scientific evidence for any of these indications, except for antiemetic effects, is extremely sparse and claims for clinical utility are largely based on anecdotal reports. Furthermore, the mechanisms of action of any of the therapeutic effects are unknown. This paper reviews the clinical trials which have been carried out with cannabinoids including Δ9-tetra-hydrocannabinol (THC) and synthetic cannabinoids such as nabilone and levonantradol, and discusses the advantages and adverse effects of cannabinoids in clinical use. The place of cannabinoids in modern medicine remains to be properly evaluated, but present evidence suggests that they could be valuable, particularly as adjuvants, for symptom control in a range of conditions for which standard drugs are not fully satisfactory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ashton CH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Addiction Biology

Year: 1999

Volume: 4

Issue: 2

Pages: 111-126

Print publication date: 01/04/1999

ISSN (print): 1355-6215

ISSN (electronic): 1369-1600


DOI: 10.1080/13556219971623

PubMed id: 20575778