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 Finding new clues to brain cancer treatment
21.02.2020 | Case Western Reserve University

nachricht UIC researchers find unique organ-specific signature profiles for blood vessel cells
18.02.2020 | University of Illinois at Chicago

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: High-pressure scientists in Bayreuth discover promising material for information technology

Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have discovered an unusual material: When cooled down to two degrees Celsius, its crystal structure and electronic properties change abruptly and significantly. In this new state, the distances between iron atoms can be tailored with the help of light beams. This opens up intriguing possibilities for application in the field of information technology. The scientists have presented their discovery in the journal "Angewandte Chemie - International Edition". The new findings are the result of close cooperation with partnering facilities in Augsburg, Dresden, Hamburg, and Moscow.

The material is an unusual form of iron oxide with the formula Fe₅O₆. The researchers produced it at a pressure of 15 gigapascals in a high-pressure laboratory...

Im Focus: From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Study by Mainz physicists indicates that the next generation of neutrino experiments may well find the answer to one of the most pressing issues in neutrino physics

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at...

Im Focus: Therapies without drugs

Fraunhofer researchers are investigating the potential of microimplants to stimulate nerve cells and treat chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. Find out what makes this form of treatment so appealing and which challenges the researchers still have to master.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute has found that one in four women will suffer from weak bladders at some point in their lives. Treatments of this condition...

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Flash lamp annealing: Energy-effective process for efficient annealing of large-area substrates

26.02.2020 | Life Sciences

Colour vision in primates closely linked to palm fruit colours

26.02.2020 | Life Sciences

Physicists from Hannover Predict Novel Light Molecules

26.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>