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Cannabis medicines for Alzheimer's disease

Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease could be treated with cannabis according to new research data

Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease could be treated with cannabis according to new research data.

During a symposium at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) on March 10, Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem presented findings that indicated the potential benefits of cannabis-derived medicines.

Research, which is still in early stages, shows that the chemicals present in cannabis can slow down memory loss, the most prevalent feature of Alzheimer's disease.

Professor Tony Moffat, chairperson of the RPSGB symposium, said: "Although recent press coverage has focused on the abuses associated with the plant, cannabis-derived medications may offer novel opportunities in drug discovery.

"There is currently considerable interest in the medical benefits of cannabis and related compounds for a range of conditions including arthritis, multiple sclerosis and neurological pain."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and affects 417,000 people in the UK and 24.3mn across the world.

The trails conducted so far have only shown the effect of cannabis medicines on mice, but the next step for researchers will be to initiate human patient studies.

10th March 2008

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