An experimental drug that can temporarily alter the brain chemistry of those who have consumed cannabis may have a potential use for people who are struggling with their own drug use, a researcher has said.
Key points:Scientists have discovered an anti-inflammatory drug can alter the chemistry of the brain in people who have smoked cannabisIt can also help treat depression and anxietyIt could also be used to help people overcome chronic pain or traumaThe drug was developed by Dr David S. Goldsmith, a professor of neurobiology at the University of New South Wales, and his team from Sydney’s University of Sydney and the University at Albany in New York.
They believe the drug could be used as a “cognitive enhancer” in the treatment of depression and other psychological problems, as well as to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The team have discovered the anti-inflammatories could have “substantial” psychological benefits for those with cannabis-related disorders, Dr Goldsmith told ABC News.
“They do not have psychoactive effects but they may improve the mood, they may help with stress and anxiety, they can help with depression and they can improve the quality of life,” he said.
“We are just starting to investigate the therapeutic potential of these compounds.”‘
There’s no evidence they’re dangerous’Dr Goldsmith said there was “no evidence that these compounds are dangerous”.
“They’re not going to cause any harm, there’s no reason to think they are,” he told RN Breakfast.
Dr Goldmith said he was confident the drugs would work.
“There’s been some research that we are currently working on which shows they can be safely administered to humans,” he added.
“That is something we’re keen to pursue, to try and get that to a clinical trial, and I would hope to be able to do that within the next few years.”
Dr Goldson and his research team say their research has shown cannabinoids have a positive effect on cognition.
“The primary finding is that these anti-neuroprotective effects are mediated by cannabinoid receptor-1, the primary cannabinoid receptor,” he explained.
“You know, the ones that have been reported to be the most powerful anti-narcotics in human history.”
The researchers said it was possible they could develop drugs that would block the receptors, which are located on the outer surface of neurons, and then help prevent brain damage.
Dr S. David Goldsmith says cannabinoids have the potential to ‘disfigure’ the mind’He said there had been research suggesting cannabinoids could be effective at blocking brain chemistry in some cases.
“It’s not clear whether or not these effects are clinically relevant, but we do know they work by interfering with the activity of the cannabinoid receptors,” he observed.
“If they work as expected, then it’s probably safe to say that they work.”
He said the drugs were being tested on patients suffering from depression and “a lot of anxiety”.
“You could think of them as being anti-anxiety drugs, because it has the ability to make you feel relaxed and calm,” he noted.
“And it’s also the reason why you might see some people, as you do when you take medication, see improvements in their mood, because their brain chemistry is functioning normally.”‘
We think it’s important’A spokesman for the Federal Government said it would be premature to make a decision on whether to proceed with the development of a new drug.
“At this stage, there is no indication that cannabis-based drugs are safe and effective,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said the Federal government was committed to research into cannabis and the potential of cannabinoids for the treatment and prevention of mental health conditions.
“As this research progresses, it will be important for the Government to take the necessary steps to determine the best use of these drugs, including by helping patients to better manage their mental health, to make informed decisions and to ensure the benefits and harms of these therapies are assessed by appropriate scientific evidence,” the spokesperson said.
Dr David S Goldsmith’s research team has published its results in the journal Scientific Reports.
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