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Registered: 07/26/04
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Cannabis chemical 'helps heart'
    #4021420 - 04/06/05 01:47 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Cannabis chemical 'helps heart'
April 6, 2005

A chemical in cannabis can help ward off strokes and heart disease, scientists believe.

Swiss researchers found THC, one of 60 cannabinoids in the drug, helped stop the narrowing of arteries to the brain and heart in a study of mice.

But the team, from Geneva University Hospital, said smoking cannabis did not produce the same effect.

However UK experts warned more research was needed before firm conclusions could be drawn.


Blocked arteries - a condition known as atherosclerosis - are estimated to be responsible for up to 50% stroke and heart disease deaths in developing countries each year.

In the study, published in the Nature journal, mice were fed a high cholesterol diet to make them develop atherosclerosis and then given THC, which causes the high during cannabis use.

The Swiss researchers found THC stopped inflammation of blood vessels, which is largely responsible for blocking arteries.

The chemical worked by suppressing the immune system's response to a protein which is responsible for inflammation.

Lead researcher Francois Mach said while drugs such as statins which lower blood pressure and cholesterol had proved extremely effective the findings were still of "great medical interest".

And he added: "The dose [used] is lower than the dose usually associated with psychotropic effects of THC."

THC is being tested by GW Pharmaceuticals, the firm granted a UK licence to create cannabis-based drugs, in a number of treatments for pain relief and multiple sclerosis under development.

However, a study published last week in BMC Psychiatry found THC medicines could lead to psychosis.


Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said more work needed to be done in the area.

"Although these results, which use an oral cannabinoid in a pill form, are interesting, we look forward to further research into the area.

"We certainly hasten to advise against people smoking cannabis to protect their heart health - cannabis is usually smoked with tobacco which is highly dangerous for the heart."

And a spokeswoman for the National Heart Forum said: "This study presents interesting findings about the protective effects of active components found in marijuana and suggests scope for further investigation of these compounds."

But she added: "It does not suggest that marijuana smoking is beneficial to the heart. On the contrary, the harmful effects on the heart are well documented."

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Re: Cannabis chemical 'helps heart' [Re: veggie]
    #4021592 - 04/06/05 02:39 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)


But she added: "It does not suggest that marijuana smoking is beneficial to the heart. On the contrary, the harmful effects on the heart are well documented."

Unfortunately, many of the "well documented" studies involving cannabis are simply government sponsored anti-drug propaganda without any valid research to back them up. It is much easier to get government funding when your research is going to "prove" that the government's anti-drug position is correct.

Just another spore in the wind.

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Cannabis compound benefits blood vessels [Re: veggie]
    #4024331 - 04/07/05 02:03 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Low dose helps combat formation of arterial blockages.

A compound derived from the cannabis plant protects blood vessels from dangerous clogging, a study of mice has shown. The discovery could lead to new drugs to ward off heart disease and stroke.

The compound, called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), combats the blood-vessel disease atherosclerosis in mice. This disease occurs when damage to blood vessels, by nicotine from cigarettes, for example, causes an immune response that leads to the formation of fatty deposits in arteries.

These deposits form because the immune cells can linger too long, recruiting others and leading to an inflamed blockage that snares fatty molecules. The disease is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke in the developed world.

THC seems to tone down this immune response, report Fran?ois Mach of the University Hospital Geneva, Switzerland and his colleagues. The compound binds to a protein called CB2 that is present on the surfaces of certain immune cells.

Block buster

Mach's team administered tiny amounts of pure THC to mice. The treatment reduced the progression of blood-vessel blockage formation by more than one-third, the researchers report in this week's Nature1.

Furthermore, feeding the mice a compound that interferes with binding to CB2 abolished the therapeutic effect of THC. This proves that the process involves the CB2 protein rather than a similar protein called CB1, which is found on cells in the brain and nervous system and is responsible for cannabis's psychological effects.

The benefits for atherosclerosis occurred only at a certain dosage, Mach adds. At higher and lower doses, THC has no therapeutic effect on blood vessels, he says. He notes the similarly moderated effects of alcohol on heart disease, adding that a single glass of Bordeaux may reduce risk while overindulgence can increase it.

The team also emphasises that the THC dose required to protect blood vessels is lower, relative to body weight, than that which would produce the mind-altering altering effects of cannabis in humans. "This paper has nothing to do with smoking marijuana," Mach stresses.

"It does not mean that smoking cannabis is beneficial to the cardiovascular system, as cannabis smoke contains many toxins which may actually lead to cardiovascular diseases," says Michael Randall of the University of Nottingham Medical School, UK, who has studied cardiovascular disease and cannabinoids.

"The body also produces its own cannabis-like chemicals and whether they may play a role in the above beneficial effects is unclear," he adds.

Future drugs

THC could be deployed alongside currently used cholesterol-controlling drugs called statins to fight atherosclerosis, Mach suggests. "I don't think this will replace statins. But we may add another compound that will fight against inflammation," he explains.

Because THC might suppress the immune system in a general way, there is a danger that it may harm the body's ability to fight infection. To avoid this, Mach says, it may be necessary to identify similar compounds that specifically target the CB2 protein.

Still, the discovery adds to the range of potential medicinal benefits of cannabis compounds. Besides its well-publicized use for pain relief, the drug is also given to anorexics to stimulate appetite, and cancer patients to combat the nauseating side-effects of chemotherapy.


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Re: Cannabis compound benefits blood vessels [Re: ivi]
    #4024874 - 04/07/05 04:45 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

i was just gona post this, ya beat me out ivi :smile: haven't read it yet though hehe..


The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. ~ Albert Einstein
"Fear is the great barrier to human growth." ~ Dr. Robert Monroe

~~~*Dosis sola facit venenum*~~~

*Check my profile to listen to my music* :smile:

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