Marijuana Pain Relief Without Side Effects

HOUSTON, July 8 (UPI) — A marijuana component could provide pain relief, minus marijuana’s other effects, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston find this pain relief component zeroes in on a particular nerve receptor so the other mental and physical side effects associated with marijuana, also known as cannabis, are avoided.

The study, published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, says the synthetic cannabinoid or cannabis-related compound, called MDA19 — which acts more narrowly on a on a subtype of cannabinoid receptors — is located in the brain but also in the peripheral immune system.

“MDA19 has the potential for alleviating neuropathic pain without producing adverse effects in the central nervous system,” Dr. Mohamed Naguib says in a statement.

Naguib and colleagues conducted experiments analyzing the pharmacology and effects of the synthetic cannabinoid MDA19. It affected two subtypes of cannabinoid chemical receptor — CB1, found mainly in the brain, and CB2, found mainly in the peripheral immune system — the study says.

The researchers suggest the second group, the CB2 group, may be a useful target for new drugs to address difficult-to-treat neuropathic pain.

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