Rats Miss the High, but Benefit from CBD

If there weren’t enough controversies in medicine already, CBD (cannabidiol) lights up the presses in both the medical and political news.  Meanwhile, various mice and rats in labs across the states get to test run this hemp produced chemical as researchers search for not only its mechanism of effects, but study potential benefits of it also.  Much of the debate centers around whether CBD triggers the same receptors and thus euphoric effects as another hemp chemical we know as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  In this study researchers dosed lab rats with CBD and studied which receptors in the brains were activated.  In this case, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, which THC triggers, did not respond.  Instead, the serotonin 5-HT1A and the pain receptor, vanilloid TRPV1, responded.

While alleviating some concern that CBD triggers the same reactions as THC, researchers also measured pain and anxiety responses in the experimental rats.  Using IV doses, they found objective evidence of decreased pain responses and decreased anxiety-like behavior.  This coincided with normalized serotonin receptor (5-HT) activity which had been hindred by an experimentally induced injury to the rats. 

Dr. Gobbi, one of the study researchers, from McGill University, stated “”Our findings elucidate the mechanism of action of CBD and show that it can be used as medicine without the dangerous side effects of the THC.”  I admit that I was initially skeptical myself, but I have seen many in my practice benefit from CBD oil in terms of pain and anxiety.  I would therefore agree with Dr. Gobbi.  If we want to help our patients live healthier more abundant lives, overcoming chronic pain and anxiety, CBD oil serves as another useful tool in our functional medicine toolbox. 

Danilo De Gregorio, Ryan J. McLaughlin, Luca Posa, Rafael Ochoa-Sanchez, Justine Enns, Martha Lopez-Canul, Matthew Aboud, Sabatino Maione, Stefano Comai, Gabriella Gobbi. Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain. PAIN, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001386

Thanks to Science Daily for alerting me to this article:

McGill University Health Centre. “Cannabis pain relief without the ‘high’: Mechanism of cannabidiol for safe pain relief without side effects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181024163625.htm>.

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