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More MS news articles for January 2004

Britain Close to Approving Marijuana-Based Medicine,1854,568802,00.html

Jan 28, 2004
Join Together Online

Britain's Home Office is expected to approve Sativex, a new marijuana-based drug used to ease severe pain, the New York Times reported Jan. 27.

GW Pharmaceuticals of Britain developed the drug, which is a liquid extract of marijuana grown by the company under license from the government.

In addition to containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, Sativex also includes significant levels of cannabinoid cannabidiol, believed to have anti-anxiety and other therapeutic properties, as well as dozens of other marijuana ingredients.

However, GW Pharmaceuticals said that when taken properly, Sativex does not give people the "high" normally associated with smoking marijuana.

Especially designed for people with multiple sclerosis or other conditions causing severe pain, Sativex would be marketed as a spray applied under the tongue.

Alan Macfarlane, a chief inspector at the Home Office, said the results of Sativex in clinical trials were encouraging. Of the drug's approval, he said, "I'm hoping it will be dealt with in the next two to three months, and I will be surprised if it doesn't succeed."

GW Pharmaceuticals also plans to seek regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, given the government's policy against marijuana use, the review process could take longer than usual.

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