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San Diego company testing marijuana-derived multiple sclerosis therapy

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals of San Diego has begun using a marijuana-derived therapy to experimentally treat small numbers of people who suffer from multiple sclerosis and scleroderma, a pair of autoimmune diseases.

The small, phase 1 safety trial involves CBD, a compound found in marijuana. CBD has caught the attention of researchers because it does not get people high, and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

The trial is meant to determine whether the therapy is safe, what dose should be used, and if there are any side effects or related problems.

Emerald Health says it also is developing another non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana — CBG — for possible use in treating patients with Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

UC San Diego is preparing to use CBD in a clinical trial that’s meant to people who suffer from epilepsy.

Researchers are excited about the potential of such marijuana derivatives, but they’re proceeding cautiously.

“We still don’t really know what CBD does do and doesn’t do, or what the right dose is,” Dr. Igor Grant, who helps lead UC San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, recently told the Union-Tribune.

“There haven’t been enough studies. And we don’t really know how much CBD is in the products people buy in unregulated places.

“The advertisement could say that it has a certain level (of CBD) and it might not have any at all, and there could be other ingredients like THC (which makes people high), or other chemicals.”

© 2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit The San Diego Union-Tribune at www.sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.