New Pathway for Cannabinoid Receptors Revealed

New Pathway for Cannabinoid Receptors Revealed

By Staff

New research out of the Oregon Health & Science University suggests a new avenue for developing therapeutics to treat chronic pain that harness the power of cannabis, but without the threat of addiction.

Scientists studied the function of two forms of cell membrane receptors that bind cannabinoids that occur naturally in the body – called endocannabinoids.  The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, provides additional rationale for the development of therapeutics using cannabinoid receptors to treat chronic pain.

“It may be an avenue where we can get better pain medications that are not addictive,” said senior author Susan Ingram, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurosurgery in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Ingram notes that 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 CB1 and CB2, in the rostral ventromedial medulla – a group of neurons located in the brainstem 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 researchers observed that chronic inflammatory pain increased activity of CB2 receptors and decreased CB1 activity. Cannabis activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors equally. The study suggests that selective activation of CB2 receptors contributes to the medicinal benefit of cannabis while minimizing the propensity of the other cannabinoid receptor, CB1, to induce tolerance and withdrawal. Ingram said the next phase of the research will further explore this area of brain circuitry, which ultimately could lead to the development of a new class of pain medications.

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Authored by: Staff

There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Rick Kelly at 1:18 pm

    I have generalized RSD and to get enough relief of the intractactable pain I found it cost prohibitive. Don’t get me wrong?.. it’s awesome relieve but was running nearly $60/day when I was going off opies. The price for medicinal use MUST come down. If our [edit] politicians werent pain shamers and equating pain to moral weakness, we might actually die in peace. Sounds like a pipe dream I know.

    What the hell can we do? I know for a fact my own family even shamed me for Gods evil trick.

  2. Jean Price at 11:19 am

    Constance…just read your post, and I want to say please hold on. Maybe that is wrong of me because I can’t know your pain and your situation and frustration… but I do know each person we lose means we lose a part of ourselves too. I’m reachable through Facebook, messaging, email…and I’ll give you my number from there if it will help. You don’t deserve being in pain…it’s not fair and it’s criminal! But you so deserve to live, and I’m hoping there will be some way you have enough to hang on to..praying you will..until things look differently. It breaks my heart to hear the pain from your words, and I can hear it! I’m so sorry you can’t get what you need…that’s wrong! And it’s happening all over. Yet so is the work to change this, a lot of work for people like you and all the others who are having to bear more than they ever should. I truly know there are lots of other people here too…who would be able to help in some way, maybe a tiny way…yet enough to get you past this bleak and awful spot. Please know….and please reach out to us. You aren’t alone in this, even though it can feel like it. Give us the chance to see if we can help, if you can. Please.

  3. Constance at the end of my rope at 6:51 am

    Pot, both edibles and smoked fid NOT help me…it made me high…I cannot function like that.

    Got a rope and a [edit] load of meds -Quetiaone (for sleep), Clonazepam and Lyica and another 17 bottles. I am DONE with a life of pain. No, I do not suffer from mental illness. The DEA, CDC & others have basically labeled me as a drug addict- the state data basis proves that I NEVER abused my meds.
    I can only hope that the rest of you get some relief.

  4. Joe Kramer at 9:02 pm

    There are already great pain meds out on the market. The Obama admin and the CDC has screwed every pain patient that was stable for years by taking away there meds. By pushing this fraudulent guidlines by the CDC limiting patients to 90 mg a day? I say show us your evidence and how you came to this conclusion. Every patient is different, shame on you for clumping us all into one group. How many patients have lost there Doctor because of the bogus guidlines?. I wonder how these people sleep at night knowing they put thousands of patients at risk and have caused needless suffering.The insurance company’s love this because they save money. It was all in the works ,just look at your Medicare booklet.It is inhumane and simply tortuous , for people who wake up every day in pain know exactly what I am talking about.All the parties involved should be ashamed of themselves this is not the way to stop the opiate crises. Once again America looks like fools. Letting company’s like Mallinckrodt charge 14,000, for a 120 fentanyl lollipops, that cost 2 dollars a piece to make, no wonder the insurance co’s pushed for this. Now you have company’s like Purdue hiring ex DEA training Doctor s how to spot drug seekers. How much has Purdue made off of pain patients. There is plenty of blame to go around but making pain patients suffer more is wrong plain and simple. Every time I see one of these articles about cannabinoids and Marijuana makes me think of all the propaganda that was pushed on the public, like the movie reefer madness. How many people have been locked up and thrown away because of Marijuana , now they say it cures cancer, and much more. How many people could have been helped instead ? No just ruined lives. I am coming to believe that we need to have a big change in thinking of how we can stop the cartels, treat people who are suffering, wether it’s addiction or pain. There just has to be a better way . To the people leading the way at Oregon health & science University I say thank you for all your hard work . You are leaders in the search for a better way and I pray for your success .

  5. Wee. R. Inpain. at 7:57 pm

    Yeah, it is great……news. However the chronic pain comminity is under attacki, NOW! Why is it that when everday people see a celebrity suicde or know of someone in their community that commits suicide it is said “That’s a shame” or “it’s so unnecessary” and some ……just simply don’t care. However, when we find out that the person done the deed because of “health related issues”. The thinking clearly, understandably goes to ” Oh, I understand, tha’ts bad” or ” I guess they just couldn’t take it any more”. We ALL seem to be in agreeance that if someone takes their own life and it is known to be a health related issue, “we understand”. Chronic pain IS a treatable health related issue. MILLIONS of GOOD people who have NOT broken ANY laws are being caused to suffer through our physicians, specialty care physicians, AND our paharmacists! Our very way of “LIFE,LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS” can NOT be realized. The basics of life according to the Constitution. The CDC “guidline” that has been published because of too many opioid related deaths. I can’t comment on exactly how the the CDC compiled their statistics. Illicit drug use? Prescribed opioid medication use? Not sure how the numbers really “break down”. Regardless, why is it understandable when a person takes their owm life because of “health issues” and………..we understand. Chronic pain IS a realized, TREATABLE, sufficiently treatable that is, “health issue”. As a matter of FACT, approximately 100 million people have the very same “health issue”. Are we……. the chronic pain opioid medicated just……….expendable? It has been stated to me that the CDC has published, just……… a guideline. I suppose that is why the chronic pain forgotten and dismissed are finding themselves with further and worse……”health issues”.It is inconceivable to me to simply REMOVE sufficient medication for any……. health issue. The CDC can’t be praised and congratulated enough for what the agency faces in todays world. Outstanding, comitted, intelligent work! However, I can not understand “for the life of me” why it is better to add a further health condition to an already, personal, and overwhelming health condition. I have read about the use of cannabinoids. Sounds like a possibility for we states without any recourse to reduced opioid medication for chronic pain. Many have approved medical AND recreational marijuana. For the rest of us, CBD in one form or another “might” help the chronic pain patients. What if it don’t help? Or at least help, sufficiently. Is that our tough luck for having an undesired “health condition”? Can’t be soon enough for those of us with immediate “health issues” though. Seems like a lot of people are just dying to find help.

  6. gerard l becker at 4:59 pm

    about to start the use of cannibidiol ( buyer beware! amazon is full of snake oil salespersons–know your supplier!)
    who knows??????If it just makes a dent in the fabric of lumbar disc disease ( my beast )
    it will be trumpeted to the entire pain community! at this point remaining neutral since hope to often lost is a verrrrrrrrrrrry dangerous emotion!

  7. Bill at 4:51 pm

    It occurred to Me one day that We would not have Cannabinoid and Opiate receptors in Our brains if God didn’t “think” there may be a need for them at some point in peoples’ lives.
    I object to the Government regulating how Our Doctors practice their Medical Art, and somewhat similarly; Doctors shouldn’t have the right to regulate how We live Our lives.

  8. Jean Price at 11:50 am

    I would hope valid research like this could overcome the other issues regarding use of marijuana for persistent pain, Parkinson’s, seizure disorders, and other conditions it has proved helpful for. Yet I think the money issue is going to be the hardest to overcome, unless it is somehow categorized so the industry can’t take it over as big money maker for themselves…and put it out of reach financially for those who could benefit.

  9. MichaelL at 10:23 am

    Great news! Now, how the heck long are we supposed to suffer with our present , inadequate, care?!

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