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 The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>