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The abuse potential of the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone.
Addiction 2010; 105(3):494-503A

Abstract

AIM

Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid prescription drug approved in Canada since 1981 to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In recent years, off-label use of nabilone for chronic pain management has increased, and physicians have begun to express concerns about nabilone becoming a drug of abuse. This study evaluates the evidence for abuse of nabilone, which is currently ill-defined.

STUDY DESIGN

Scientific literature, popular press and internet databases were searched extensively for evidence of nabilone abuse. Focused interviews with medical professionals and law enforcement agencies across Canada were also conducted.

FINDINGS

The scientific literature and popular press reviews found very little reference to nabilone abuse. Nabilone is perceived to produce more undesirable side effects, to have a longer onset of action and to be more expensive than smoked cannabis. The internet review revealed rare and isolated instances of recreational use of nabilone. The database review yielded little evidence of nabilone abuse, although nabilone seizures and thefts have occurred in Canada in the past few years, especially in Ontario. Most law enforcement officers reported no instances of nabilone abuse or diversion, and the drug has no known street value. Medical professionals reported that nabilone is not perceived to be a matter of concern with respect to its abuse potential.

CONCLUSIONS

Reports of nabilone abuse are extremely rare. However, follow-up of patients using nabilone for therapeutic purposes is prudent and should include assessment of tolerance and dependence. Prospective studies are also needed to definitively address the issue of nabilone abuse.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Pain Clinic, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada. mark.ware@muhc.mcgill.caNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

20402993

Citation

Ware, Mark A., and Emmanuelle St Arnaud-Trempe. "The Abuse Potential of the Synthetic Cannabinoid Nabilone." Addiction (Abingdon, England), vol. 105, no. 3, 2010, pp. 494-503.
Ware MA, St Arnaud-Trempe E. The abuse potential of the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone. Addiction. 2010;105(3):494-503.
Ware, M. A., & St Arnaud-Trempe, E. (2010). The abuse potential of the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 105(3), pp. 494-503. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02776.x.
Ware MA, St Arnaud-Trempe E. The Abuse Potential of the Synthetic Cannabinoid Nabilone. Addiction. 2010;105(3):494-503. PubMed PMID: 20402993.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The abuse potential of the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone. AU - Ware,Mark A, AU - St Arnaud-Trempe,Emmanuelle, PY - 2010/4/21/entrez PY - 2010/4/21/pubmed PY - 2010/9/21/medline SP - 494 EP - 503 JF - Addiction (Abingdon, England) JO - Addiction VL - 105 IS - 3 N2 - AIM: Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid prescription drug approved in Canada since 1981 to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In recent years, off-label use of nabilone for chronic pain management has increased, and physicians have begun to express concerns about nabilone becoming a drug of abuse. This study evaluates the evidence for abuse of nabilone, which is currently ill-defined. STUDY DESIGN: Scientific literature, popular press and internet databases were searched extensively for evidence of nabilone abuse. Focused interviews with medical professionals and law enforcement agencies across Canada were also conducted. FINDINGS: The scientific literature and popular press reviews found very little reference to nabilone abuse. Nabilone is perceived to produce more undesirable side effects, to have a longer onset of action and to be more expensive than smoked cannabis. The internet review revealed rare and isolated instances of recreational use of nabilone. The database review yielded little evidence of nabilone abuse, although nabilone seizures and thefts have occurred in Canada in the past few years, especially in Ontario. Most law enforcement officers reported no instances of nabilone abuse or diversion, and the drug has no known street value. Medical professionals reported that nabilone is not perceived to be a matter of concern with respect to its abuse potential. CONCLUSIONS: Reports of nabilone abuse are extremely rare. However, follow-up of patients using nabilone for therapeutic purposes is prudent and should include assessment of tolerance and dependence. Prospective studies are also needed to definitively address the issue of nabilone abuse. SN - 1360-0443 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/20402993/The_abuse_potential_of_the_synthetic_cannabinoid_nabilone_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02776.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -