Cannabis ‘reduces surgery pain’
A cannabis plant extract provides pain relief for patients after major surgery, research has shown. An Imperial College London team tested the extract – Cannador – on 65 patients after surgery such as knee replacements and found it helped manage pain. The researchers believe the results could lead to new pain relief drugs, even though the chance of side effects increased with stronger doses.
The research appears in the US journal Anesthesiology.
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Cannabis may help combat cancer
The chemical in cannabis that produces a high may help to combat the spread of cancer, research suggests. Scientists have discovered the active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibol can block the spread of gamma herpes viruses.
The viruses are linked to an increased risk of the cancers Kaposis sarcoma, Burkitts lymphoma and Hodgkins disease. The research, by the University of South Florida, is published in the online journal BMC Medicine. Gamma herpes viruses are different from the herpes simplex viruses responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.
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Cannabis chemical ‘helps heart’
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.
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Cannabis ‘helps rheumatoid arthritis’
Cannabis: More evidence of its therapeutic effects
Scientists believe an ingredient of cannabis greatly reduces the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and could provide a cheaper alternative to current anti-arthritis drugs.
Components of cannabis have long been known to affect the immune system but now it seems that one component, cannabidiol, can block the progress of arthritis without any intoxicating or psychoactive side effects.
Professor Marc Feldmann of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, who led the work, believes that cannabidiol could become the basis for a cheap anti-arthritis pill. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s a constituent which has no properties on the brain – it’s not psychoactive, it can’t give you a high.”
Rheumatoid-arthritis is the crippling inflammation of the joints caused when the bodies immune system turns on itself. Rather than fighting infections, it attacks the lining of the joints causing swelling and great pain.
There are drugs available, but they are either highly expensive, or produce severe side-effects in many patients. The Swiss researchers found THC stopped inflammation of blood vessels, which is largely responsible for blocking arteries.
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