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Pot Ingredient Neuroprotective In Animals, Study Says

Thursday, 10 July 2003

Milan, Italy: Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, is protective against brain injury in animals, according to a study published in this month's issue of Neuroscience Letters.

Researchers in Italy reported that administration of CBD in gerbils prevented brain damage caused by ischemia (a reduction of blood flow to the brain that can cause cell death).

"These findings suggest a potential therapeutic role of cannabidiol in cerebral ischemia, though the clear mechanism of action remains to be elucidated," authors concluded.

Federal law prohibits the medical use of any cannabinoid other than synthetic THC.

A 1998 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that CBD protected rat brain cells from injury better than standard anti-oxidants. A 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that marijuana's neuroprotective qualities are the "most prominent" of its potential therapeutic applications.

Last week, the Israeli pharmaceutical company Pharmos announced the commencement of the first ever Phase III US study on the effectiveness of the synthetic marijuana derivative Dexanabinol to treat brain damage resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or stroke.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst of the NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Full text of the study appears in the July 31, 2003 issue of Neuroscience Letters.