Medicinal marijuana advocates contend that smoking pot helps relieve pain and alleviate nausea. British drug company GW Pharmaceuticals (GWP:LN) is betting that medicine made from cannabis can also treat maladies as diverse as diabetes, colitis, and epilepsy.
GW is the only pharma group in the world now selling a prescription medicine derived from marijuana plants, as opposed to synthetic equivalents. The drug, a nasal spray called Sativex, has been approved by regulators in eight countries—Italy, most recently—to treat spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. A request for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval is pending.