Cannabis-style drug kills pain but spares the brain

A class of drug that functions in a similar way to cannabis but without damaging the brain could help to treat chronic pain, UK research suggests.

After studying human sensory nerve cells, the researchers found that drugs targeting cannabinoid receptors, called CB2, could block pain by stopping pain signals being transmitted in human sensory nerves.

This could offer a new way of treating chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and pain from nerve damage.

Professor Praveen Anand, from Imperial College London, said: ‘Our new study is very promising because it suggests that we could alleviate pain by targeting the cannabinoid receptor CB2 without causing the kinds of side-effects we associate with people using cannabis itself.’

The researchers are now planning to conduct clinical trials of drugs which target CB2 in patients which chronic pain.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Pain Online 2008

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