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What Is Sativex?

Sativex is also known as Nabiximols; it can be prescribed for the management of spasticity related to multiple sclerosis. Manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, Sativex is the first marijuana-based drug to be licensed in the United Kingdom. Sativex is for sale in the UK in pharmaceutical stores. In the US, Sativex FDA approval is still pending.

Sativex usually comes in play when a patient is not responding to regular treatment or if side effects for the said drugs are too much for the patient’s body to handle. A patient can use this drug alongside their other anti-spasticity medication.

What is Sativex used for?

It helps manage stubborn symptoms of MS, such as bladder problems, pain, and muscle spasms, among other symptoms. Sativex also helps with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

How Does It Work?

Sativex is extracted from the whole marijuana plant, and this means that it contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. Of particular importance, is the fact that Sativex contains the two best-known cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is the main ingredient in CBD oils.

These cannabinoids connect with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Once they join, they mimic natural pain relievers (endocannabinoids) that the body produces. Endocannabinoids are natural cannabinoids that connect with cannabinoid receptors in the brain to bring homeostatic balance.

After a while, the endocannabinoids are destroyed by specific metabolic hormones that the body releases for that purpose. Natural cannabinoids, therefore, don’t remain active for long.

When the cannabinoids in Sativex connect to the endocannabinoid system, they are not destroyed by the metabolic hormones as quickly as the natural cannabinoids. This means that they are active for longer and therefore provide relief for longer.

The following is an endocannabinoid system diagram.

Sativex system

How to Take Sativex

You, like many people, are probably aware that Sativex is a spray. Since we haven’t mentioned the word spray with Sativex, yet you are probably wondering, “what is Sativex spray?” Is this article about the same thing? Yes, it is!

Sativex is an oromucosal spray (mouth spray). The only way to take it, therefore, is to spray it in the mouth. There is no specific dosage for Sativex concerning age, weight, and other parameters considered with other drugs.

Every user has to increase the amount and frequency of the spray progressively until they find out their ideal dosage. The perfect dosage is the one that reduces spasm and other symptoms without subjecting the patient to too many of the side effects.

The process of settling on the right dosage might take anything from a few days to a few weeks. To achieve the ideal dosage, a user should monitor the effects of the drug carefully and follow the doctor’s instructions while at it.

Side Effects

Sativex contains THC, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. As such, teenagers shouldn’t take it, especially if they are below eighteen years of age. Research has established that THC is likely to have adverse effects on the developing brain in teenagers, which may affect mental health later in life.

People with a history of psychosis, such as those who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, shouldn’t use Sativex either. The THC in the Sativex would most likely cause the patient to get more psychotic episodes.

Other side effects include dryness of mouth, which is a natural outcome from marijuana since weed inhibits the production of saliva at the sublingual salivary glands. Other side effects include dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, loss of memory, and the ability to focus.

These side effects usually last for the first few days after the patient starts to take Sativex and wear off without by themselves as the body adjusts to the drug.

Precautions and Warnings

As observed in the discussion on the side effects above, Sativex may impair some mental abilities. Loss of memory and lack of focus may mak\e it dangerous for a patient to engage in certain activities such as driving and operating machinery.

It is therefore advisable for a user to avoid such activities and any other potentially dangerous undertaking until they have established a stable dose, and their body has adjusted to it.

Interaction with Other Drugs

Sativex can be used alongside other MS drugs. In most instances, it is used alongside other prescription drugs. The combined use is usually because doctors prescribe Sativex for a condition that appears to have resisted other medications.

It is advisable always to use Sativex by prescription. The doctor would advise whether there is any medicine in your current prescription you should avoid when taking Sativex.