Marijuana ingredient useful in diabetes

Feb. 27, 2006 at 4:50 PM

AUGUSTA, Ga., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Medical College of Georgia researchers say a compound found in marijuana may help keep diabetics' eyes healthy.

Researchers led by molecular biologist Gregory Liou found cannabidiol works as a consummate multitasker to protect the eye from growing a plethora of leaky blood vessels, the hallmark of diabetic retinopathy -- the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults, affecting nearly 16 million Americans.

High glucose levels resulting from unmanaged diabetes set in motion a cascade ultimately causing the oxygen-deprived retina to grow more blood vessels. Ironically, the leaky surplus of vessels can ultimately destroy vision.

Liou, who recently received a $300,000 grant from the American Diabetes Association, and colleagues explain their work in the American Journal of Pathology.

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