Almost 30 percent of Americans will experience chronic pain in their lifetime. And the opioids used to reduce that pain have proved highly addictive for many.
Now, a study out of Oregon Health And Science University suggests a new way of treating chronic pain with marijuana.
Working on rodents, senior author Susan Ingram looked at cannabis and the ability of the body’s own cannabinoid system to control pain.
“We found that CB1 receptors — the receptor that is associated with addictive properties of the drug — are decreased. But that CB2 receptor activity is increased. Cannabis actually activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors equally. But it’s know that CB2 receptors can decrease pain," she said.
"So this study provides the basis to develop new synthetic pharmaceuticals that provide pain relief while minimizing addiction," said Ingram.
The hope is to find a drug that provides effective pain relief that doesn’t have any addictive qualities.
The OHSU study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and American Heart Association. It was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.