Cannabis-  medication against addiction

Cannabis-  medication against addiction
Credit: theweedblog


In a recent study, a leading research university in the US suggests an avenue for developing treatments for chronic pain that harness the medicinal properties of cannabis while minimizing the threat of addiction.

The study, conducted in a rodent model, provides additional rationale for the development of therapeutics using cannabinoid receptors to treat chronic pain, which afflicts about 30 percent of the U.S. population. The research investigators studied the function of two forms of cell membrane receptors that bind cannabinoids that occur naturally within the body, called endocannabinoids.

The research tem report the treatment of chronic pain has challenged the medical system, with medications that are ineffective or create serious side effects: "However, emerging data indicate that drugs that target the endocannabinoid system might produce analgesia with fewer side effects compared with opioids.“

The body's endocannabinoid system comprises receptors, endocannabinoid molecules and enzymes that make and degrade the endocannabinoids located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. The research team focused on two cannabinoid receptors, known as cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) in the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM)- a group of neurons located in the brainstem that are known to modulate pain . The study is the first to examine CB1 and CB2 receptor function at the membrane level in late adolescent and adult neurons.

The study suggests that selective activation of CB2 receptors contributes to the medicinal benefit of cannabis while minimizing the propensity of CB1, to induce tolerance and withdrawal. The research could further pave way to  explore this area of brain circuitry to develop new class of pain medications.