FP Essent. 2021 Jun;505:28-34.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering herbs in the Cannabaceae family. Federal law defines dried plant material preparations of the subspecies Cannabis sativa as marijuana. The term cannabis refers to all products derived from Cannabis plants. The active compounds in cannabis are cannabinoids, which include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive component, whereas CBD has no psychoactive effects. There are three Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved cannabis-related drugs. Dronabinol and nabilone (Cesamet) are approved for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; cannabidiol (Epidiolex) is approved for two pediatric epilepsy syndromes. FDA-approved cannabis-related drugs, marijuana, and cannabis formulations have been studied for the management of other conditions and symptoms (eg, cachexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, muscle spasticity) and have shown varying effectiveness. CBD formulations have been shown to be effective for certain forms of epilepsy. However, marijuana, cannabis-containing products, and cannabis-derived products in general are not approved by the FDA for any indication. Adverse effects include impaired executive function, cognition, and driving. Physicians can recommend use of marijuana under medical marijuana laws but cannot prescribe it, as it is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. Laws regulating use of marijuana and cannabis products vary among states.