Cannabis substitute

Gabriella Gobbi of the University of Montréal and colleagues have demonstrated the effects of a new drug on the brain and mood. The compound, URB597, raises cannabinoid levels and so could represent a safer alternative to smoking cannabis for the treatment of pain in multiple sclerosis and other disorders as well as anxiety and depression. This is the first time that a compound that increases endocannabinoids has been shown to have a positive effect on mood. "The results were similar to the effect we might expect from the use of commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are effective on only around 30% of the population," explains Gobbi. "Our discovery strengthens the case for URB597 as a safer, non-addictive, non-psychotropic alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression and provides hope for the development of an alternate line of antidepressants, with a wider range of effectiveness."