Commercial antidepressants typically take two to four weeks to have a significant effect on a depressed patient. They are also inneffective in approximately 40% of the cases. Finding new drugs for depression that are fast-acting and have more lasting effects is the goal of research conducted by Brazilian scientists in São Paulo State in collaboration with Danish colleagues. Their recent study found that a single dose of cannabidiol in rats with symptoms of depression was highly effective, eliminating the symptoms on the same day and maintaining the beneficial effects for a week. The findings reinforce those of prior research showing that cannabidiol, a component of Cannabis sativa, the plant most commonly used to make marijuana, has promising therapeutic potential in the treatment of broad-spectrum depression in preclinical and human models. The results were published online on June 4, 2018 in Molecular Neurobiology by researchers of the group led by Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca, a professor in the University of São Paulo's Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCFRP-USP) in Brazil. The first author is Amanda Juliana Sales, who has a PhD scholarship from the São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP. The research itself was supported by FAPESP via a Thematic Project, by Brazil's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), and by Denmark's Aarhus University Research Foundation. FAPESP Thematic Project coordinator Francisco Silveira Guimarães, who is also a professor at the University of São Paulo's Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP), stresses that cannabidiol produces neither dependence nor psychotropic effects, despite being extracted from marijuana plant.
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