Perspectives on Challenges in Cannabis Drug Delivery Systems: Where Are We?

Cannabis and its natural derivatives have emerged as promising therapeutics for multiple pathological and nonpathological medical conditions. For example, cannabinoids, the most popular and biologically active chemicals in cannabis, aid in many clinical ailments, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disturbances or insomnia, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia, neurodegenerative diseases, anti-nausea, and most importantly, cancer. Despite the comprehensive benefits, certain aspects of cannabis present unique challenges in the medical cannabis landscape. Recent studies have highlighted the inherent challenges associated with cannabinoids’ formulation like low solubility, rapid metabolism, poor bioavailability, and erratic pharmacokinetics – all of which contribute to the limited efficacy of cannabinoids. Several efforts are underway to address the bottlenecks and modify the formulations along with the delivery systems to achieve greater solubility/bioavailability, potency, and efficacy in treatment settings while minding the necessary standards for purity associated with the pharmaceutical industry. The current article presents a perspective on (1) a working knowledge of cannabinoids and their mechanisms of action, (2) the landscape of using medicinal cannabis for cancer-related medical conditions along with adversities, (3) current approaches, formulations, and challenges in medicinal cannabis delivery systems (oral, transdermal, pulmonary, and transmucosal), and lastly, (4) emerging approaches to improve delivery systems.


Cancer; Cannabinoids; Cannabis; Drug delivery systems; Nanomedicine; Pain.

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