01 July 2002
Volume 1, Number 3
Peninsula Medical School, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon, PL 8DH, UK.
Extracts from the plant Cannabis sativa have been used therapeutically for thousands of years, although there has been a decline in use since the early 20th century, largely based on perceived lack of effect.
After the discovery of the endocannabinoid system—composed of endogenous cannabinoid receptors and ligands such as 2-arachidonylglycerol and anandamide—there has been a considerable renewal of interest in the therapeutic potential of the cannabinoid family of chemicals.
Although extracts have been used to treat a wide variety of disorders—including epilepsy, pain, dyskinesia and other movement disorders, appetite, bladder disturbance, and spasticity—there is comparatively little valid experimental evidence in published work upon which to base therapeutic decisions.