The number of clinical trials using cannabis-based medicines has exploded since 2010, according to a new report from Prohibition Partners.

In 2010, there were only eight clinical trials globally that used the medicine as a treatment for conditions such as diabetes and anxiety. In 2022, 60 trials began – a 650% increase – while 49 have already started this year, with more in the pipeline.

Of the 440 clinical trials analysed, almost half (202) targeted pain from conditions including fibromyalgia, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

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However, recent years have seen a notable increase in trials examining the potential benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids for mental health-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Meanwhile, the most commonly featured conditions in the patent landscape included epilepsy, cancer and associated conditions, seizures, and autism spectrum disorder.

Clinical trials featuring patented compounds (Sativex and Epidiolex) dominated completed phase III  trials.

The types of medicines being used consisted of a variety of different cannabinoids although just over one third used a combination of THC and CBD.

Senior analyst at Prohibition Partners and co-author of the report Lawrence Purkiss said: “Looking at the development of clinical trials in cannabis over the last decade gives great insight into the potential breakthroughs in the space in the coming years. 

“From analysing the patent landscape in conjunction with the clinical trials record, it’s clear that the possibilities for further cannabinoid-based treatments are incredibly broad, with significant interest already in specific areas.”

Prohibition Partners estimated global sales within the pharmaceutical cannabis industry will total around US$1.11 billion in 2023, with projections indicating a growth to $1.37b by 2027.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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