Recipharm Cannabinoids

The plant ‘cannabis sativa’, better known as marijuana, has long been used for medical purposes. Around fifty years ago, researchers started to explore the versatility of marijuana following the discovery of ‘∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol’ (THC), the main psychoactive component of approximately 70 phytocannabinoids. 

Before the 1980s, it was often speculated that cannabinoids produced physiological and behavioural effects via non-specific interaction with cell membranes, instead of interacting with specific membrane-bound receptors. However, after the initial discovery of the first cannabinoid receptor  in the 1980s, this ongoing debate was resolved.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a huge rise in patient’s using cannabis and cannabinoids to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, cancer pain, depression, anxiety disorders, sleep disturbances and neurological disorders. Within the scientific, pharmaceutical, and medical community, there has been a wider acceptance of the product as a treatment and as a result, an increased rate  in the use of purer and more prevalent components of the cannabinoid’s family, including: CBC (cannabichromene), CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

An overview of the clinical effects of some of the most common cannabinoids can be seen in Table 1 below:

Table 1

1: Image courtesy of:

Cannabinoids: The Recipharm offering

The cannabinoids market is growing at an exceptional rate with an increasing level of demand for these specific products across the pharmaceutical industry.

For the last 25 years, Recipharm has been supported by various global pharma companies in both development and commercial supply of pharmaceuticals.

We recognise the need for skilled CDMOs in the emerging medicinal area of cannabinoids and are therefore working hard to ensure we can cater for all our customer requirements in this space. 

The principle components of cannabinoids, known as CBD and THC, are often isolated from botanical sources. These extracts fall under controlled substances and at Recipharm, we have the appropriate licencing to support all of our clients in this area.  In order to assist the researchers and pharma companies working on cannabinoids, we have developed new, synthetic routes to five different cannabinoids, including CBDA, CBGA, and three metabolites.

Recipharm can offer these in small quantities or at a short notice, to help advance your research. At the same time, we are fully capable of developing robust and scalable routes to provide pure forms of the key cannabinoid for your project. We can also support your increased demands for various clinical phases.

We understand and respect that the regulation of cannabis and cannabinoids for medical purposes is complex landscape. At an international level, the UN drug control treaties, under which the medical use of cannabis is very strictly limited, provide a backdrop to the regulatory frameworks for the pharmaceutical application of cannabis and cannabinoids in all signatory countries. With our regulatory experience, Recipharm can help, support and guide you on the correct regulatory strategy, through the various clinical stages, ultimately leading to appropriate market authorisation.