Kari Franson, Pharm.D., Ph.D., BCPP - Associate Dean for Professional Education at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences - talks to us about the medical use of marijuana, THC, and CBD.
- Cannabis plants have been used for medical, recreational, and industrial purposes for thousands of years.
- The two active ingredients in cannabis plants include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) - collectively known as cannabinoids. They have distinctly different pharmacological properties.
- Cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% of THC by dry weight are legally classified as hemp. Cannabis plants can be cultivated to have more (or less) THC and CBD content.
- Prescription products containing THC have been available for more than 30 years. A buccal spray containing THC + CBD has been approved (but not in the United States) for the treatment of muscle spasms/stiffness associated with multiple sclerosis. A purified CBD product was approved by the FDA for the treatment of rare childhood seizure disorders in 2018.
- There is a long list of claimed medical uses of marijuana (typically contains high concentrations of THC). Not all claims are supported by sufficient evidence and some have been refuted by the evidence. Far less is known about the medical uses of CBD.
- Cannabinoids are erratically and slowly absorbed from the GI tract.
- There are substantial legal barriers to studying cannabis and its health consequences in the United States.