study targets cannabis-like substance

University of Auckland researchers will attempt to unravel the complex processes involved in the release of dopamine. Photo / 123RF
University of Auckland researchers will attempt to unravel the complex processes involved in the release of dopamine. Photo / 123RF

A recently-discovered cannabis-like substance naturally produced by our brains could play a role in treating Parkinson’s disease.

University of Auckland researchers will attempt to unravel the complex processes involved in the release of dopamine – and how what are called endocannabinoids might influence them.

Dopamine is a chemical transmitter that underlies many of our basic behaviours, including movement, but much about the mechanism that determines the timing and size of its release remains unknown.

This has hampered scientists trying to make breakthroughs in diseases where dopamine is involved, such as Parkinson’s disease, which today affects around 13,000 Kiwis.

But Dr Peter Freestone, of the university’s Department of Physiology, hopes there

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