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Marijuana compound can treat Parkinson's

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IRVINE, Calif., Oct 27, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. researchers said marijuana-like compounds can treat many debilitating conditions, such as Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease, and pain and obesity.

University of California, Irvine, researchers treated mice suffering from a version of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- with either the two marijuana compounds THC or cannabidiol -- or both -- or a placebo.

They measured disease progression by testing how long the mice could stand on a slowly rotating rod. The more severe their nerve cell degeneration, the less time the mice could balance on the rod.

The researchers found treatment with THC delayed disease progression by seven days and extended survival by six days in the mice -- which corresponds to three years in human terms, they said. The results also indicate THC combined with cannabidiol can further delay disease progression -- although treatment with cannabidiol alone had no effect.

They said their next step would be to study how THC and cannabidiol work on the disease.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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