Sativex is presently in Phase III (advanced) FDA clinical trials for the ultimate purpose of being marketed in the U.S. for treatment of cancer pain. Sativex is currently being used in Canada, New Zealand, the UK and seven other European nations to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The FDA has not approved any cannabis-related drug since Marinol and the lesser-known Cesamet in 1985. Both were originally created specifically to treat chemotherapy-related nausea. In the last 25-plus years, Marinol and Cesamet have been approved for treatment of other maladies such as AIDS. The difference between those drugs and Sativex is that Sativex is derived directly from the natural cannabis plant and not synthetically manufactured.
The AP reports that American MS patients and their physicians generally appear to be on board with getting Sativex on the market for MS treatment as well. Additionally, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is sponsoring their own study being conducted by UC-Davis that will compare the use of Marinol versus smoked cannabis in the alleviation of excruciating MS-related muscle spasms.
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