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article imageMedicinal cannabis substitute can treat Parkinson's disease

By Tim Sandle     Jan 2, 2020 in Health
Scientists have found that a non-cannabis drug has a positive impact upon some of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's' disease, providing an alternative to media cannabis products and avoiding the associated 'high'.
Australian researchers have demonstrated experimentally that a medication called HU-308 can lower involuntary movements termed dyskinesias, which are a side effect following years of treatment for Parkinson's disease. Dyskinesia covers twitches, jerking, twisting or simple restlessness but not tremor.
So far the benefits for the drug have been shown only in mice; however, the results are sufficiently positive as to signal the need for human trials. In mice HU-308 functions is as effective as another drug called amantadine, which is the only available treatment for dyskinesias (other than cannabis). In addition, the combination of HU-308 with amantadine turned out to be even more effective compared with either drug used alone.
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According to lead researcher Professor Bryce Vissel (University of Technology Sydney): "Our study suggests that a derivative of HU-308, either alone or in combination with amantadine, may be a more effective treatment for dyskinesias and a much better option than using an unproven potentially harmful substance like cannabis."
The researcher cautions that not only does cannabis cause a 'high' (unwanted by many in this context), cannabis causes various effects, some of which are not beneficial in Parkinson's disease.
Where cannabis works on two brain receptors - CB1 and CB2 (CB1 causes the psychoactive effect), the drug HU-308 only works on CB2.
The research has been published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease. The peer-reviewed research paper is called "Targeting the cannabinoid receptor CB2 in a mouse model of l-dopa induced dyskinesia."
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