Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lowering Of Blood Pressure Achieved Through Use Of Hashish-like Drug

Lowering Of Blood Pressure Achieved Through Use Of Hashish-like Drug

22 Jun 2006

A new method for lowering blood pressure (hypertension) through use of a compound that synthesizes a cannabis (hashish) plant component has been developed by a pharmacology Ph.D. student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy.

For his work on the cardiovascular activity of cannabinoids (chemical compounds derived from cannabis), Yehoshua Maor was one of the winners of this year's Kaye Innovation Awards, presented in June during the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's 69th meeting of the Board of Governors.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for about one-third of all deaths in industrialized countries, and is the leading reason for visits there to physicians as well as for drug prescriptions. However, not all patients respond well to the drugs available. There is no "ideal' hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) drug.

The cannabis plant - also known as hashish or marijuana - through its chemical compounds -- cannabinoids -- has been shown to have a beneficial, hypotensive effect. However, a drawback in the therapeutic use of cannabinoids has been its undesirable psychotropic properties - production of hallucinatory effects. Attempts to separate the hypotensive action from the psychotropic properties of cannabinoids have achieved only partial success until now.

Working under the supervision of Prof. Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy, Maor, who was born in Brazil and immigrated to Israel in 1998, has created a synthetic version of a minor cannabis constituent named cannabigerol, which is devoid of psychotropic activity.

In laboratory experiments with rats in collaboration with Prof. Michal Horowitz of the Department of Environmental Physiology, it was found that this novel compound reduced blood pressure when administered to the rats in relatively low doses. Additional testing also showed that the compound also brought about another beneficial effect -- relaxation of the blood vessels. A further beneficial property observed in work carried out with Prof. Ruth Gallily of the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, was that the compounds produced an anti-inflammatory response.

Maor believes that these qualities have the potential for development of a valuable new clinical drug with a major market potential, especially for patients suffering from inflammation of the blood vessels as the result of hypertension, and others with metabolic irregularities.

Maor already has won international recognition for his work with cannabanoids, resulting from his collaborative work with Garry Milman, another Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Prof. Mechoulam, for the discovery of an endogenous compound found in the brain which causes vaso-relaxation.

Maor begin a post-doctoral fellowship in the fall at the Harvard University Medical School, where he plans to continue his research.

###

The Kaye Innovation Awards have been given annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society.

Contact: Jerry Barach
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=45534

--
Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065
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