The market for synthetic cannabinoid products is growing despite legal restrictions, says a white paper by GBI Research.

Titled 'The Emerging Field of Cannabinoid-Based Products', the white paper states that although cannabis is only legal or decriminalised in certain areas, the market for cannabis-based products is increasing.

"With synthetic cannabis as one or more active ingredients, a few pharmaceutical companies have launched products targeting a range of indications."

With synthetic cannabis as one or more active ingredients, a few pharmaceutical companies have launched products targeting a range of indications, including HIV/AIDS-related anorexia nervosa, multiple sclerosis spasticity, and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Products containing cannabinoids extracted directly from the plant are also gaining popularity with a number of them being approved as well. The major advantages of cannabinoid-based drugs are their wide variety of therapeutic uses and relatively low toxicity.

There are currently 90 cannabinoid products in the pipeline with two in phase three development, and the remaining in pre-clinical and discovery stages. The two products in phase three development include Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for treating various types of epileptic seizures, and Sativex (nabiximols) for anxiety disorders.

Compared with commonly used analgesics such as codeine, cannabinoid-based drugs are more beneficial due to their higher safety profile, opines Thomas Jarratt, Associate Analyst for GBI Research. However, as the majority of the products are currently in early development stages, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the market in the near future, adds Thomas Jarratt.

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