The medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoids--an international cross-sectional survey on administration forms

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2013 Jul-Aug;45(3):199-210. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2013.805976.


Cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, are the most important active constituents of the cannabis plant. Over recent years, cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) have become increasingly available to patients in many countries, both as pharmaceutical products and as herbal cannabis (marijuana). While there seems to be a demand for multiple cannabinoid-based therapeutic products, specifically for symptomatic amelioration in chronic diseases, therapeutic effects of different CBMs have only been directly compared in a few clinical studies. The survey presented here was performed by the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM), and is meant to contribute to the understanding of cannabinoid-based medicine by asking patients who used cannabis or cannabinoids detailed questions about their experiences with different methods of intake. The survey was completed by 953 participants from 31 countries, making this the largest international survey on a wide variety of users of cannabinoid-based medicine performed so far. In general, herbal non-pharmaceutical CBMs received higher appreciation scores by participants than pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids. However, the number of patients who reported experience with pharmaceutical products was low, limiting conclusions on preferences. Nevertheless, the reported data may be useful for further development of safe and effective medications based on cannabis and single cannabinoids.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cannabinoids / administration & dosage
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Cannabinoids
  • Plant Preparations