Cannabinoid Drugs: Medical Uses for Synthetic "Marijuana

Marinol capsule - Public Domain
Marinol capsule – Public Domain

There are several shortcomings to using smoked marijuana clinically:

  • there is much public and government resistance to smoking marijuana
  • medical marijuana lacks standardized composition and dosage
  • it has effects outside of the therapeutic goals (ie, psychoactivity), and
  • long-term exposure may increase risks to pulmonary health.

D9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (popularly referred to as THC) is the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana (Cannabis sativa). THC is known to bind to two receptors in the human body.

  • cannabinoid (CB1) receptors, located primarily in the brain, and
  • CB2 receptors, located primarily in immune cells.

Synthetic cannabinoids can target one or both CB more at