Scientists at the University of East Anglia have found a way to separate the medical benefits of cannabis from its unwanted side effects.
The research shows the pathway that triggers the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, known as THC, can be separated - thereby exerting several beneficial effects - including pain relief - while avoiding impairment of memory.
The research was carried out in mice, but it is hoped that the breakthrough will pave the way for safe cannabis-based therapies that do not cause alterations in mood, perception or memory.
The UEA team will now carry out the same research on human brain tissue. It could mean, in the future, that cannabis can legally be used for medicinal purposes.