Cannabis therapy 'may be harmful'
July 27, 2006
extracts can be harmful because of the unpredictable
way the body reacts, New Scientist said.
detailed to the Federation of European Neuroscience
Societies found boosting levels of some cannabinoids
worsened epilepsy and Alzheimer's.
said it was hard to target the drug at specific
parts of the body.
compounds in cannabis interfere with a natural
signalling system in the brain, nerves and immune
signalling system, which produces its own
cannabinoids, plays a role in conditions such as MS,
epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and
cannabinoids, from smoking cannabis or from
medications, can therefore have a significant
effect, researchers suggest.
Di Marzo, of Italy 's National Research Council,
told the conference that he had found boosting the
level of one natural cannabinoid, andandamide, in
rats initially appeared to protect the animals from
memory loss and nerve degeneration.
the rise was prolonged, the cannabinoid could be
ineffective, or even damaging.
Lutz, of the University of Mainz in Germany , found
a another paradox in models of epilepsy in mice.
cannabinoid is normally produced by the body during
an epileptic seizure to produce a calming effect.
found boosting levels could actually worsen
he believed the reason for the findings was that
there were cannabis receptors on two different types
of neuron populations which the drug could affect.
group, exposure to cannabinoids increases activity
while in the other, it inhibits it.
said this meant that depending on which one they
hit, the effect was different.
Professor David Baker, from University College
London, who has studied the impact of cannabis
extracts in treating multiple sclerosis, said: "The
problem with cannabis is that there's no way of
targeting the drug to any particular place."
the hope was that scientists could manipulate the
nervous system by managing the way cannabis
compounds are released just as the depression drug
Prozac does for serotonin by delaying release.
cannabis-based drug which can be used in the UK is a
treatment for MS called Sativex.
been granted a special licence meaning it can only
be used if the doctor takes responsibility for
drug, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, is a mouth
spray containing two chemicals found in cannabis,
THC and cannabidiol.
it is made using plant cannabinoids, rather than
those found in the body.
Source:BBC.co.uk 27th July