A cannabis-based mouth spray prescribed to multiple sclerosis sufferers may be adapted for use by marijuana addicts who want to quit.
Sativex contains two of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant; tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The paper quotes Jan Copeland of the University of NSW as saying the combination of both THC and CBD gave Sativex its potential:
''The smoked cannabis available on the market has had almost all the CBD taken out of it, which is almost considered the 'good' cannabinoid, while THC is associated with getting stoned,'' said Copeland, from the university's National Cannabis Prevention and Information Center.
''The good thing about Sativex, it returns CBD to the compound, and in treating symptoms of withdrawal it can dampen down the effects of THC on the patients' receptor systems without them getting stoned.''
Sativex was developed by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals after some MS sufferers broke the law to use the illegal drug, according to the Daily Mail.
It was cleared for use in Britain by MS sufferers in 2010, after already being issued a license for use as a medicine from the European regulatory body, allowing it to be routinely prescribed by doctors.
Although 16 US states and the District of Columbia allow growing and selling marijuana for medicinal purposes, Sativex has not yet received FDA approval for use in the US, according to the GW Pharmaceuticals website.
It has been cleared in the UK, Spain, Canada and New Zealand to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.
Separately, the BBC reported on a cannabis mouth spray — which it did not name, but which featured in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management — being used by cancer patients who claimed it reduced pain levels by 30 percent.
The spray was developed so that it did not affect the mental state of patients in the way that using cannabis would.
Researchers from Edinburgh University said at the time that their findings did not justify smoking cannabis, which could increase the risk of cancer.
Meanwhile, John Zajicek, a consultant in neurology at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, and a world leader in cannabinoid research, called Sativex treatment a "milestone."
"Sativex has mainly mild to moderate side-effects which are usually controlled by simply adjusting the dose," he told the Daily Mail. "It is a good addition to existing treatments which will be of great benefit in the future."