Pharmaceutical Company Develops Synthetic Cannabinoid Treatments

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Pennsylvania-based Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is currently developing synthetic cannabinoid treatments, which were featured this week in the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Human trials are being conducted on a formulation called ZYN002, which treats osteoarthritis with a gel containing synthetic cannabidiol, aka CBD.

ZYN002, applied as a topical gel, allows synthetic CBD to be absorbed through the skin, and then blocks pain receptors signaling the brain. In trials, subjects with osteoarthritis in the knee received ZYN002, while others received a placebo. The company said 30 percent of those who received the CBD formulation reported less pain. Other conditions that Zynerba hopes to treat with synthetic CBD include refractory epilepsy and Fragile X Syndrome.


While Zynerba did not comment in the Daily Mail story, their website features two products currently in development – ZYN002, and ZYN001, which is a synthetic THC formulation that comes in a transdermal patch. ZYN001 is being developed to treat pain symptoms of fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain.

Regarding the potential benefits of synthetic cannabinoid formulations, Zynerba said, “Our product candidates are synthetically manufactured per FDA/CGMP regulations. We believe synthetic manufacturing provides consistent potency and eliminates impurities in the product.”

The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids like THC and CBD naturally, but due to marijuana’s status as a federal schedule 1 drug, legitimate cannabis research has been prohibited in the U.S. Schedule 1 status defines cannabis as having “no medicinal benefits”

As states widen legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, anecdotal evidence of its medical benefits has become well known. CBD has been shown potential to treat several serious medical conditions including epilepsy, autism, chronic pain, inflammation, and others. THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis, also has been shown, anecdotally, to have benefits, especially when used in formulations with CBD. While cannabis research has been prohibited in the U.S., research is allowed in other countries, most notably Israel.

Synthetic cannabinoid formulations are not subject to the same legal prohibitions as products derived from whole cannabis plants.

Zynerba was not immediately available for comment at the time of this post.