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Cannabinoids May Inhibit Neurodegeneration, Slow Onset Of Disease

Discussion in 'Medical Marijuana Usage and Applications' started by RMJL, May 28, 2004.

  1. Cannabinoids May Inhibit Neurodegeneration, Slow Onset Of Disease, Experts Announce At Clinical Conference

    May 26, 2004 - Charlottesville, VA, USA

    Charlottesville, VA: Compounds in marijuana may provide symptomatic relief and slow the progression of certain types of chronic illnesses including Multiple Sclerosis, according to clinical research presented last week at the Third National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics.

    "Cannabinoids are useful therapeutic agents for movement disorders and have potential as neuroprotective agents to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases," such as Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome, said Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Director of Movement Disorders at the University of South Florida in Miami.

    Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals in Britain, said that human trials examining the efficacy of whole-cannabis extracts in patients with MS indicate that cannabinoids may limit disease progression, not just treat symptoms. Guy noted that patients in GW's trials who have used cannabinoid extracts long-term continue to experience relief from the disease without significantly increasing their intake of cannabinoids. Multiple Sclerosis is a progressively debilitating disease and these results would be unlikely unless cannabinoids are modifying the course of the disease, Guy speculated.

    Denis Petro, a consulting neurologist and drug researcher who formerly served at Maryland's Malcolm Grow Medical Center, said that other clinical trials on cannabinoids and MS reveal similar results. He noted that a 2003 human trial published in the journal The Lancet found "evidence of inhibition of disease progression" in MS patients given oral THC. Petro also summarized the findings of a clinical trial published last year in the journal Brain that demonstrated cannabinoids to be neuroprotective in an animal model of MS. "Therefore, in addition to symptom management, cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other diseases," the study concluded.

    Approximately 150 people attended the conference, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the patient advocacy organization Patients Out of Time.

    For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. An agenda and speaker list for the conference is available online at:

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