With interest in cannabis-based medicine continuing to grow, pharmaceutical companies have explored the development of new, synthetic drugs based on cannabinoids.
These new “analogue” drugs are easy to patent because they are manufactured in labs not grown in nature. Unfortunately, though, these drugs often bear a much higher risk of unforeseen adverse reactions because they have not been used for that long.
Nabilone synthetic cannabinoid
Nabilone is one such synthetic cannabinoid that was introduced to the U.K. market as a treatment for chemotherapy nausea in the 1980s. It has recently been tested for treatment of pain and movement disorders. In 2006, nabilone was finally brought to the U.S. market under the name Cesamet. Like most cannabinoid analogues, nabilone does not have the unique psychoactive properties found in THC and has not gained widespread usage. Other synthetic cannabinoid analogues like levonatrodol and synhexy have been subjected to tests over the years, but haven’t reached the market. Many other synthetic cannabinoids are currently under investigation, many of which have proven to be useful in laboratory research.
Rimonabant: the ”anti-pot” pill
With all this resurgent interest in cannabis-based medicines, drug companies have begun to explore many new synthetic drugs aimed specifically at targeting the cannabinoid receptors. Rimonabant functions as a kind of “anti-pot” drug by antagonizing or interfering with the CB1 receptor rather than enhancing its properties.
Sanofi-Aventis, a French company, developed rimonabant as a diet drop with the brand name Accomplia. It’s not surprising that an anti-marijuana drug would be considered for weight loss because of all the associations with appetite stimulation and the “munchies.” While losing weight is fine, the drug might also reverse marijuana’s other medical benefits for pain, spasticity, inflammation, glaucoma, auto-immune disease, mood disorders, and many more.
Ironically, Accomplia was quickly approved by regulatory authorities in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and other places despite the fact that it was a brand new chemical without a long safety record. Marijuana, on the other hand, with its centuries-long record of proven safety and efficacy, remains largely illegal. This is a testament to the unmitigated bias found in mainstream medicine’s preference for synthetic pharmaceuticals.
In corporate pharmaceutical circles, Accomplia was praised as sort of wonder drug. It helped patients lose significant amounts of weight early on, but sort of lost its effectiveness as time progressed. In order to retain the benefits of the drug, you’d have to keep taking it indefinitely.
Rimonabant’s classic “Slenderella” story came to a much-needed end in 2007 when the FDA denied approval of the drug. It has been noted that rimonabant was linked to suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and nausea—the exact symptoms you’d expect from an “anti-pot” drug. Rimonabant was also indicated to induce symptoms of multiple sclerosis—a natural response to blocking the CB1 receptor. Newborn mice injected with rimonabant refused to eat and usually died. Mice that had been genetically altered to lack any cannabinoid receptors experienced countless health defects including oversensitivity to pain, decreased activity, and increased mortality. To put it simply, rimonabant is a poignant reminder of the dangers involved in block the body’s cannabinoid system.
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The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]