Medical Cannabis vs. Sativex

Medical Cannabis vs. Sativex


The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that as of November 2018, 33 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. With the steadily increasing opinion that cannabis may provide relief for various symptoms, it’s important for individuals considering it to gain as much knowledge about medicinal marijuana as possible. The benefits of cannabis and cannabidiol-based products vary, but many patients report consistent success.

Sativex is an alternative that was created by a British pharmaceutical company. It has received attention in dozens of countries across the world over the last two decades. With all this buzz, you may be wondering two key things: what is it and how is it different from marijuana?

What Is Sativex?

GW Pharmaceuticals first manufactured Sativex in the late 1990s. They specialize in the development of plant-derived cannabinoid products through drug discovery and development. GW manufactured Sativex as the world’s first prescription medicine derived from the cannabis plant. Sativex has been approved in dozens of countries outside of the U.S. for its treatment of spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Sativex is a prescription oral spray made up of equal parts THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Both of these components target symptoms of anxiety and depression. CBD has been reported to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. The combination of the two creates a concentrated dose that can be delivered directly into the mouth. The Sativex manufacturer specifically adds peppermint flavoring to make this mouth spray taste even better. The suggested dose varies, depending on the condition it’s intended to help, but patients typically start with one spray twice a day. The dosage may steadily increase to a point if the need arises.

What’s the Difference Between Sativex and Cannabis?

There is no guarantee that marijuana has an even ratio of THC and CBD, but that’s not to say you can’t get a perfect balance with this spray. Sativex is different from actual cannabis because it is not synthetic and chemically consistent in every batch. Cannabis is sold through licensed dispensaries in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, and Sativex is manufactured as a pharmaceutical.

Although Sativex contains THC, which is commonly consumed to target psychological conditions, the spray is rarely used as a treatment for these ailments. For now, Sativex is most commonly recommended to those suffering from nerve and muscle pain. There is a diverse selection of strains in cannabis that typically focus on different symptoms, including issues related to the brain. This enables the patient to select a strain that works best for their condition with the help of trained dispensary staff.

The different possibilities of consumption is a key difference between Sativex and medical cannabis. When patients consume medical cannabis, they have a variety of options including:

  • Flowers
  • Tinctures
  • Oils/extracts
  • Edibles (brownies, gummies, etc.)

At the moment, Sativex is only available as an oral spray.

Is Sativex Better Than Cannabis?

There is not enough scientific evidence to say if Sativex is more effective than medical cannabis. However, there is significant support for the drug from those who have consumed it and received positive results. Sativex is developing a positive reputation in the pharmaceutical industry because it is easy to ingest and manage regular doses. Many patients believe the drug takes much longer to start working than if they consume medical cannabis, but the length of time seems inconsequential compared to the outcome.

Sativex is not generally recommended to those suffering from mental illnesses. Some strains of cannabis have a higher concentration of THC, which is the chemical that’s thought to be responsible for the euphoric high. This makes medical cannabis a more favored choice when patients wish to counteract psychological symptoms.

These factors depend on the individual and their medical history, diet, weight, and more. Some patients may experience more benefits with medical cannabis than Sativex and vice versa. Others may dislike the spray, preferring other methods of medical cannabis consumption.

Where Is Sativex Available?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana as a safe and useful drug, but studies are currently being conducted to determine the drug’s validity in the treatment of pain relating to cancer. In the meantime, several states have deemed medical marijuana acceptable for distribution.

If you’re interested in exploring your options in alternative medicine, Arizona Organix has a professional and well-trained staff that’s eager to answer your questions. As the first licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Arizona, we’ve been assisting patients since 2012, and have become a leading source for medicinal cannabis. Contact us at Arizona Organix for additional information on Sativex and other forms of medical cannabis.


Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash