A NEW Zealand pro-cannabis group says it has scientific evidence that cannabis can stop the development of mad cow disease.
It was not clear whether the findings applied to both cows and humans.
The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml) said a French study showed cannabidiol might be effective in preventing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease, the New Zealand Press Association reported tpday.
Scientists at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France found cannabidiol - a non-psychoactive ingredient - may prevent the development of prion diseases (progressive neurodegenerative disorders), the most well known of which is BSE, Norml said.
Researchers found cannabidiol inhibited the accumulation of prion proteins in infected mice and sheep.
Norml spokesman Chris Fowlie said the discovery added to the scientific evidence supporting a bill from a New Zealand Greens MP to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis.
"(It) should be supported by any MP with a clear head. Unfortunately most politicians act like mad cows whenever cannabis is mentioned," Mr Fowlie said.