Published: April 1, 2020
Purpose: Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in many cultures for the treatment of several ailments including pain. The benefits of cannabis are mediated largely by cannabinoids, the most prominent of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). As such, THC and/or CBD have been investigated in clinical studies for the treatment of many conditions including neuropathic pain and acute or chronic inflammation. While a plethora of studies have examined the biochemical effects of purified THC and/or CBD, only a few have focused on the effects of full-spectrum cannabis plant extract. Accordingly, studies using purified THC or CBD may not accurately reflect the potential health benefits of full-spectrum cannabis extracts. Indeed, the cannabis plant produces a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other bioactive molecules which are likely to contribute to the different biological effects. The presence of all these bioactive molecules in cannabis extracts has garnered much attention of late especially with regard to their potential role in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis.
Methods: Literature review was performed to further understand the effect of clinically used full-spectrum cannabis extract in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Results: Herein, the current knowledge about the potential beneficial effects of existing products of full-spectrum cannabis extract in clinical studies involving patients with multiple sclerosis is extensively reviewed. In addition, the possible adverse effects associated with cannabis use is discussed along with how the method of extraction and the delivery mechanisms of different cannabis extracts contribute to the pharmacokinetic and biological effects of full-spectrum cannabis extracts.