Pot Ingredient Slows Heart Disease in Mice
By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer
Low doses of the main active ingredient in marijuana slowed the progression of hardening of the arteries in mice, suggesting a hint for developing a new therapy in people.
Experts stressed that the finding does not mean people should smoke marijuana in hopes of getting the same benefit.
"To extrapolate this to, `A joint a day will keep the doctor away,' I think is premature," said Dr. Peter Libby, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.
The mouse work is presented in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature by Dr. Francois Mach of Geneva University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues. He said in an e-mail that he believed future work will focus on finding drugs that mimic the benefit without producing marijuana's effects on the brain.
Hardening of the arteries sets the stage for heart attacks. Inflammation plays a key role in the condition, characterized by a progressive buildup on the inside walls of blood vessels. So Mach and colleagues explored the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana's main active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.