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The State of Pharmaceutical Cannabis

In a recent report published by Prohibition Partners and Cannabiscientia, the progression of cannabis research in the pharmaceutical industry over the past decade was explored.

The report discussed various barriers that hinder further developments in the pharmaceutical space. Here are some key takeaways from the report:

Pain Management: Cannabis has shown promising potential for treating pain across different diagnoses. Numerous clinical trials have consistently highlighted the efficacy of cannabinoids in this area.

Mental Health Disorders: Clinical trials focusing on cannabinoids as potential treatments for psychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety and depression, have witnessed a notable increase over the years.

UK Clinical Trials: The United Kingdom ranks second, after the United States, in terms of the number of registered trials via, representing 13% of all trials in the last 13 years.

CBD Dominance: CBD (cannabidiol) in isolation has gained significant attention as a therapeutic treatment in recent years. Approximately 50% of clinical trials initiated in 2022 onwards focused solely on CBD. However, multiple cannabinoid treatments involving THC and CBD have been the emphasis over the past 13 years.

Patent Activity: CBD and THC continue to dominate patent activity compared to other cannabinoids. However, there is also a focus on closely related compounds such as CBDV, THCV, and CBDA.

GW Pharmaceuticals: GW Pharmaceuticals, now owned by Jazz Pharma, has been a key player in the sector. They have sponsored more clinical trials in the past decade than the next five leading sponsors combined and hold more patents than any other company.

Epidiolex: Jazz's Epidiolex stands as the leading global pharmaceutical cannabis product, projected to hold a market share of around 76% in 2023.

Phase 3 Trials: Sativex and Epidiolex dominate completed phase 3 trials, indicating their potential as effective treatments.

Funding Challenges: Lack of funding poses a significant barrier to the continuation of cannabis-related clinical trials. Phase 3 trials, in particular, are estimated to cost between $11.5 (£9) million to $52.9 (£42) million to complete.

Barriers to Research: The lack of standardization of cannabis-based medicines, challenges in designing placebo-controlled trials, and difficulties in establishing intellectual property (IP) around cannabinoid treatments hinder the research and development of new cannabinoid-based treatments.


The State of Pharmaceutical Cannabis report provides valuable insights into the progress and challenges faced by the industry. The future of cannabinoid-based treatments looks promising. However, resolving funding issues and addressing barriers to research will be crucial in unlocking its full potential.

Note: The information and data tables provided has been adapted from the report published by Prohibition Partners and Cannabiscientia. The Humble Herbs products are not pharmaceutical cannabis medications.

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