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 May 12, 2005
Active Ingredient in Marijuana Slows Hardening of Arteries in Mice
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Low doses of marijuana's active ingredient -- delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- slowed the progression of hardening of the arteries in mice, a new Swiss study found.

The research may lead to the development of new medicines to treat hardening of the arteries in people. The study appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

The Swiss scientists put the mice on a high-cholesterol diet for 11 weeks. About midway through the period, the scientists starting giving low doses of THC to some of the mice. The amount of THC was too small to produce any marijuana-like behavioral changes.

When the experiment ended, the mice that received THC had less clogging of the blood vessels than the mice that weren't given the chemical, the Associated Press reported.

Related research found that higher doses of THC did not offer any additional benefit to the mice.

The Swiss team concluded that THC affected immune-system cells, reducing their release of an inflammation-promoting substance, the wire service said.


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