The therapeutic potentials of cannabis in the treatment of neuropathic pain and issues surrounding its dependence

Sargent, Stephanie R. (2012) The therapeutic potentials of cannabis in the treatment of neuropathic pain and issues surrounding its dependence. Australian Medical Student Journal, 3 (2). pp. 27-29.

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Cannabis is a promising therapeutic agent, which may be particularly beneficial in providing adequate analgesia to patients with neuropathic pain intractable to typical pharmacotherapy. Cannabinoids are the lipid-soluble compounds that mediate the analgesic effects associated with cannabis by interacting with the endogenous cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which are distributed along neurons associated with pain transmission. From the 60 different cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis plants, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol are the most important in regards to analgesic properties. Whilst cannabinoids are effective in providing diminished pain responses, their therapeutic use is limited due to psychotropic side effects via interaction with CB1, which may lead to cannabis dependence. Cannabinoid ligands also interact with glycine receptors, selectively to CB2 receptors, and act synergistically with opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to attenuate pain signals. This may be of therapeutic potential due to the lack of psychotropic effects produced. Clinical trials of cannabinoids in neuropathic pain have shown efficacy in providing analgesia; however, the small number of participants involved in these trials has greatly limited their significance. Although the medicinal use of cannabis is legal in Canada and some parts of the United States, its use as a therapeutic agent in Australia is not permitted. This paper will review the role cannabinoids play in providing analgesia, the pharmacokinetics associated with various routes of administration and dependence issues that may arise from its use.

Item ID: 25281
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1837-1728
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2013 05:35
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences > 111599 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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