Cannabis and cannabinoid drug development: evaluating botanical versus single molecule approaches

Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Mallory J.E. Loflin, Suman Chandra, Ryan Vandrey

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Accumulating evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system is a promising target for the treatment of a variety of health conditions. Two paths of cannabinoid drug development have emerged. One approach is focused on developing medications that are directly derived from the cannabis plant. The other utilizes a single molecule approach whereby individual phytocannabinoids or novel cannabinoids with therapeutic potential are identified and synthesized for pharmaceutical development. This commentary discusses the unique challenges and merits of botanical vs single molecule cannabinoid drug development strategies, highlights how both can be impacted by legalization of cannabis via legislative processes, and also addresses regulatory and public health considerations that are important to consider as cannabinoid medicine advances as a discipline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • CBD
  • Cannabis
  • THC
  • drug development
  • marijuana
  • medical marijuana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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