SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB:NVLX), an international biotechnology and clinical stage provider of natural products and cell and gene therapy solutions for the treatment of human diseases, announced today its subsidiary, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc., will develop treatments for human diseases by employing cannabinoids from marijuana (Cannabis sativa). The use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back more than 3,000 years. It was introduced into Western medicine in the 1840s. Its analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antispasmodic effects formed the original basis for its use. The components of marijuana that have shown medical activity are known as "cannabinoids", approximately 70 cannabinoids of which have been found in Cannabis sativa. Cannabinoids can be classified into three groups: (1) naturally-occurring cannabinoids – examples are Delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); (2) endocannabinoids – these are synthesized "on demand" within the body by particular types of cells - examples include anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG); (3) synthetic cannabinoids – an example is nabilone, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer-related side effects. Since the 1970s, cannabinoids have been known to alleviate pain, nausea, and vomiting. These compounds have been particularly effective against cancer-related pain and in enhancing the appetites of cancer patients which are typically diminished. The latter discovery has led to finding that cannabinoids can help relieve cancer-related cachexia, a "wasting" syndrome composed of weight loss, muscle atrophy, fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite. "Cannabinoids have been investigated both in vivo and in vitro for many years targeting a wide array of diseases and disorders, thus amassing a large portfolio of promising research data," said Dr. Gerald Crabtree, Chief Operating Officer of Nuvilex. "Naturally-occurring cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are excellent cornerstones upon which our subsidiary, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. can build disease treatments. There have been many reports in scientific journals and other literature that contribute to our understanding of how these marijuana constituents work, as well as reports of their activity against various diseases in preclinical test systems. We intend to use our expertise to establish ourselves as a leading contributor to the growing database of information demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in a clinical setting."