Sativex spray (nabiximols), also known as nabiximols, is a cannabis-based oral spray. It is the first pharmaceutical drug made with ingredients extracted from the cannabis plant.
Sativex spray (nabiximols) contains an equal 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. It also contains a variety of other compounds found in cannabis.
Sativex spray (nabiximols) can prescribed for the treatment for MS-related spasticity when a person has shown inadequate response to other symptomatic treatments or found their side effects intolerable. Sativex can be used in addition to a person’s current anti-spasticity medication.
How is Sativex (nabiximols) given?
Sativex is a mouth (oromucosal) spray containing two chemical extracts derived from the cannabis plant: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The number of sprays is gradually increased each day until the optimum dose is reached.
How Sativex (nabiximols) Works?
Sativex comes as a peppermint flavoured mouth spray. Each 100 microlitre spritz delivers 2.7mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD directly to the mouth, tongue and cheeks. The active ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream through the inner linings of the mouth.
Administering the drug in this manner allows it to take effect instantly, unlike edibles which can take up to an hour to take effect since they must be digested before the cannabinoids can enter the bloodstream.
Side effects and contraindications
Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea, headache and a dry mouth. Sativex is not recommended for pregnant women and people under 18 years old. People with a history of psychotic problems should not take the drug.
Sativex may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for certain potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car. People who experience any significant side effects should not drive, operate machinery or take part in any activity that could prove hazardous.
Benefits of Sativex
Sativex has been shown to stop muscle spasms in people with MS, and it also reduces nerve pain and improves sleep. It contains an even mix of THC and CBD, and the two cannabinoids have a synergistic effect when consumed together.
For example, CBD is known to mitigate the anxiety and paranoia-inducing effects of THC. Since Sativex contains equal measures of both, users can expect to experience less severe side effects when taking Sativex.
Sativex also contains many terpenes, the chemicals that give each strain of cannabis its unique smell and flavor profile. Different terpenes are associated with different flavor notes such as fruit, nut, pine, wood, and citrus.
These terpenes are also thought to enhance the medical benefits of THC and CBD through “the entourage effect.”
All of the medical ingredients in the spray combine to deliver an effect greater than the sum of its parts.