MODES OF ADMINISTRATION
Essentially, there are now three different options for medical cannabis therapy:
- finished drug products containing single active ingredients, some of which are synthetic, such as oral sprays or extracts,
- cannabis flowers of various varieties and producers,
- full extracts, which are extracts of cannabis flowers containing a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes and other active substances.
Ready-made medicinal products or individual active ingredients have the advantage that they can be dosed relatively easily and safely. The use of these drugs, however, eliminates the possibility of taking advantage of plant synergies found in multicomponent mixtures, such as cannabis flowers, because the potential components that create natural synergies are not administered simultaneously. Also, the ability to tailor therapy to individual patient symptoms and needs within differentiated cannabinoid therapy is (other than dose adjustment) very limited.
Cannabis flower treatment offers doctors and patients exactly that: choosing a particular strain of cannabis, or even a combination of several strains of cannabis, can take into account the individual needs of the patient. For example, a more soothing and sleep-promoting marijuana strain can be used in the evening, rather an activating and stimulating one during the day. Furthermore, selecting and combining strains allows you to round out the range of effects and balance out any adverse effects.
However, treating cannabis flower also poses challenges for doctors and patients: the precise dosage and the targeted use of synergistic effects require a certain amount of experience and knowledge about the use of the natural product cannabis flower. Thanks to state-of-the-art cultivation technology, slight variations in the active ingredients in the flower material are no longer a significant problem. Although the cannabis flower is a natural product, by cultivating it under constant atmospheric conditions and using genetically identical material (cuttings/clones) and regular laboratory analysis, variability can be kept to a minimum, with the result that the end product easily meets all phytopharmaceutical requirements.
Full cannabis flower extracts may be a suitable alternative, especially for inexperienced patients, because they combine the best of both worlds: the full profile of all medicinal active substances in the cannabis flower retains the potential for synergy. Even early studies showed the great advantage of the full profile of active substances: full extracts of cannabis flower showed two to four times more potent effects than pure THC. However, the use of the most advanced extraction and analysis techniques guarantees a constant concentration and composition of the active substances. In this way, precise and simple dosing can be ensured without sacrificing valuable therapeutic synergies.
Full extracts are still a fairly new development in the field of cannabis-based medicinal products. In addition to the above-mentioned advantages, primarily in terms of synergistic effects, the extract is characterized by a uniform onset of action and a much longer duration of action compared to flowers, as well as particularly good tolerability. Moreover, it can be stored at room temperature.