Researchers think they have pinpointed how cannabidiol, or CBD, can relieve pain safely without the side effects.
In the wake of cannabis legalization in Canada, a team of scientists has delivered encouraging news for chronic pain sufferers including dogs by pinpointing the effective dose of marijuana plant extract cannabidiol for safe pain relief without the typical “high” or euphoria that THC produces. The findings of their study have been published in the journal PAIN.
Cannabis indica and sativa are the two main cannabis strains that produce the pharmacological principles known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The team demonstrated that CBD does not act on the CB1 cannabinoid receptors like THC, but through the mechanism that binds specific receptors involved in anxiety (serotonin 5-HT1A) and pain (vanilloid TRPV1).
The researchers were able to extrapolate the exact dosage of CBD displaying analgesic and antianxiety properties without the risk of addiction and euphoria that THC classically produces.
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“In animal models of neuropathic or chronic pain, we found that low doses of CBD administered for seven days alleviate both pain and anxiety, two symptoms often associated,” says the study’s first author Danilo De Gregorio, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University.
Lead author Gabriella Gobbi sees this as a new advancement for the evidence-based application of cannabis in medicine with CBD likely offering a safe alternative to THC and opioids for chronic pain, such as back pain, sciatica, diabetic, cancer, or post-trauma pain.
Despite widespread public usage, little clinical studies exist on CBD, which became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018, following the passage of Canada’s Cannabis Act. CBD could prove to be a life-improving medication for dogs, but without the backing of clinical research to establish its effectiveness and dosing, it’s hard to know for sure. That research is hindered in the US by cannabis’s federal Schedule 1 drug classification, which puts traditional academic research institutions in a legally ambiguous position. It also makes funding harder to come by; much of the work currently underway is sponsored by companies who produce CBD products. We'll be keeping an eye out for future studies coming out from Canada.