A Review of Recent Advances in the Therapeutic Uses of Secondary Cannabinoids


Research supporting the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis remains scant, with the majority of empirical work having focused on the therapeutic potential of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The aim of the present review is to document recent advances in the study of “secondary” (non-THC) cannabinoids so as to highlight promising avenues for continued research. A number of reviewed studies demonstrate the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety, depression, pain, psychosis, and epilepsy. Other work has documented the effects of CBD in combination with THC, showing efficacy in the treatment of multiple sclerosis-related spasticity, with mixed evidence for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Though less comprehensively studied, emerging research has also demonstrated the therapeutic potential of other cannabinoids in terms of anticonvulsant effects, reduced inflammation, neuroprotective effects, and improvement of insulin sensitivity. Evidence suggests that further and more nuanced research on cannabinoids is paramount, particularly for CBD and other “secondary” cannabinoids.

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Correspondence to Marcel O. Bonn-Miller.

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Danielle Morabito, Peter Soyster, and Shaw Ramey-Wright declare that they have no conflict of interest. Katherine A. Belendiuk reports stock/equity from Shire Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work. Marcel O. Bonn-Miller reports personal fees and non-financial support from Tilray (Division of Privateer Holdings), non-financial support from Americans for Safe Access, and personal fees from Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work.

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Morabito, D., Soyster, P., Ramey-Wright, S. et al. A Review of Recent Advances in the Therapeutic Uses of Secondary Cannabinoids. Curr Addict Rep 3, 230–238 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-016-0096-9

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  • Cannabinoids
  • THC
  • CBD
  • Cannabis
  • Marijuana