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Cannabis-like compound prevents bone loss

UPI.com, 5th January 2006

Israeli researchers have developed a prototype drug to prevent osteoporosis using substances produced in the body that act like those found in cannabis.

Researchers from the Bone Laboratory of the Hebrew University found that endocannabinoids, which are produced mainly in the brain, are present also in the bone and other tissues and have similar effects to those of the active components in hashish and marijuana, produced from the cannabis plant.

The study, published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.), says endocannabinoids bind to and activate two receptors, CB1 and CB2.

A study of genetically engineered mice lacking the CB2 receptor found that the CB2-deprived mice developed severe osteoporosis, similar to that which appears in humans.

The researchers have developed a new synthetic compound, HU-308, which activates CB2 and slows the development of osteoporosis in mice. This compound forms the basis for a cannabinoid-based, anti-osteoporotic type drug which has also been found to be free of any psychoactive side effects.


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