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Synthetic derivatives of THC may weaken HIV-1 infection to enhance antiviral therapies
<p>EurekAlert</p>
April 30, 2013

New research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests compounds that stimulate the cannabinoid type 2 receptor in white blood cells, specifically macrophages, can weaken HIV-1 infection

A new use for compounds related in composition to the active ingredient in marijuana may be on the horizon: a new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that compounds that stimulate the cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptor in white blood cells, specifically macrophages, appear to weaken HIV-1 infection. The CB2 receptor is the molecular link through which the pharmaceutical properties of cannabis are manifested. Diminishing HIV-1 infection in this manner might make current anti-viral therapies more effective and provide some protection against certain HIV-1 complications.

"The synthetic compounds we used in our study may show promise in helping the body fight HIV-1 infection," said Yuri Persidsky, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. "As compounds like these are improved further and made widely available, we will continue to explore their potential to fight other viral diseases that are notoriously difficult to treat."

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