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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dan Jin

Peptide-based Chemical Allows Using Cannabis to Fight Pain While Avoiding Side Effects

Did you know that opioid abuse disorder caused around 145 deaths/day in the recent years in the US? Cannabis, as recognized as an effective and safer analgesics, has been shown to be pain-reliving in cancer pain, neuropathic pain, arthritis, migraine, among many other. However, cannabis use is also linked to side effects, such as memory impairment, which hinder the widely therapeutic use of cannabis.

 

The good news is that scientists are actively searching for solutions to minimize the undesired side effects of THC. A recent study by researchers at the University of Barcelona designed and synthesized a peptide-based chemical that can be taken orally. This small peptide can alter the structure of a certain receptor in the brain to avoid THC cognitive impairment while preserving pain-reliving effects in mice model. Mice that received the peptide and THC had same pain relief benefits as mice that only received THC, and improved memory over mice who only received THC, and did not show an immunogenic response (detected by the immune system). Medical cannabis could be a more widely accepted form of pain relief by reducing or removing undesired psychoactive side effects. This novel pharmacological approach could also be of interest for attenuating the side effects associated to the use of cannabis for other medical applications. 

 

Reference

  1. Gallo, M. et al. Orally Active Peptide Vector Allows Using Cannabis to Fight Pain While Avoiding Side Effects. J. Med. Chem. 64, 6937–6948 (2021). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00484

 

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