Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marijuana-derived compound targets pain, inflammation

21.08.2002


Researchers are developing a marijuana-derived synthetic compound to relieve pain and inflammation without the mood-altering side effects associated with other marijuana based drugs.



They say the compound could improve treatment of a variety of conditions, inctluding chronic pain, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Their findings were presented at the 224th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

The compound, called ajulemic acid, has produced encouraging results in animal studies of pain and inflammation. It is undergoing tests in a group of people with chronic pain and could be available by prescription within two to three years, the researchers say.


"We believe that [the compound] will replace aspirin and similar drugs in most applications primarily because of a lack of toxic side effects," says Sumner Burstein, Ph.D., lead investigator in the study and a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. "The indications so far are that it’s safe and effective," he added.

At a safety trial of the compound conducted in France last year among 15 healthy volunteers, no clinically adverse events were reported, including gastrointestinal ulcers, which have been associated with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds such as aspirin and ibuprofen. No mood-altering effects were reported, Burstein said.

Ajulemic acid is being tested in Germany among a group of 21 patients with chronic severe pain. Results are not yet available.

In animal tests, the compound was 10 to 50 times more potent as a pain-killer than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main mood-altering ingredient of marijuana. Laboratory studies indicate that the compound, a synthetic derivative of THC, is more potent than aspirin and ibuprofen, says Burstein.

In rodent models of rheumatoid arthritis, the compound prevented joint damage associated with the disease. It could be a promising alternative to current drugs used to treat arthritis, such as COX-2 inhibitors, the researcher says. These compounds have been linked to adverse side effects, including heart attacks and stroke.

Tests of multiple sclerosis (MS) in rats have shown that the drug relieves muscle stiffness (spasticity) associated with the disease, just as natural marijuana has been shown to have a similar effect. Human studies of the drug’s effect on MS are planned.

Other evidence suggests the compound could slow the spread of cancer cells and prolong survival in mice with brain tumors. The U.S. Army is evaluating it as a topical drug to relieve the blistering effects of sulfur mustard gas.

How it works is still under investigation. The compound appears to suppress chemical mediators, such as prostaglandins and cytokines, which are known to cause inflammation, the researcher says.

With an increasing number of medically beneficial compounds being found in marijuana, researchers have been searching for years for ways to utilize these compounds therapeutically without its associated "high." They have had little success, until now.

Marinol®, the only FDA-approved, marijuana-derived drug, is available by prescription as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients and for fighting nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. But this drug, which is also a synthetic derivative of THC, has been reported to cause a "high" in some patients.

"Some people want the high," admits Burstein. "But the medical community wants efficacy without this effect."

The original discovery of ajulemic acid was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Indevus Pharmaceuticals, based in Lexington, Mass., is developing the drug itself under the name CT-3. Burstein owns patents on ajulemic acid.


The poster on this research, MEDI 333, will be presented at 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21, at the Hynes Convention Center, Hall B, during a general poster session.

Sumner H. Burstein, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.

— Mark T. Sampson

Charmayne Marsh | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Organ Crosstalk: Fatty Liver Can Cause Damage to Other Organs

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>