Marijuana May One Day Help Treat MS Symptoms – Health News – redOrbit
Multiple Sclerosis, an inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, results in a wide range of debilitating motor, physical and mental problems. Scientists still have no idea why someone gets the disease or how to treat it.
A new study, led by Tel Aviv University‘s Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, reveals some of the chemical compounds found in marijuana can help treat MS-like diseases in mice. The research team, which included scientists from Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science, said the compounds prevent inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Their results were published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
“Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response, but in cases like MS it gets out of hand,” says Dr. Ewa Kozela. “Our study looks at how compounds isolated from marijuana can be used to regulate inflammation to protect the nervous system and its functions.”
There is a strong tradition of marijuana research in Israel. For example, in 1964 Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni discovered THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This kick-started the global scientific study of the plant and its chemical components. So far, around 70 compounds – called cannabinoids – have been identified that are unique to cannabis and have interesting biological effects. Professor Vogel, in the 1990s, was among the first to describe THC-acting molecules, called endocannabinoids, in the human body.