Researchers have created a peptide that can allow THC to combat pain without inducing the side effects it causes, as observed in mice. This could potentially bring relief to many individuals living with chronic pain and who have no access to medical marijuana.
Data from the CDC shows that nearly 20% of grownups in the United States suffered from chronic pain in the year 2019.
Opioids are the primary medication prescribed for severe pain management and are effective. However, they are easily addictive which has prompted many physicians to stop prescribing them, leaving patients who suffer from chronic pain with fewer options.
The study findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
Prior studies have shown that medical cannabis can be useful in alleviating pain from cancer, neuropathy and migraines, as well as other conditions. However, the side effects observed present issues for the herb’s extensive use as a therapeutic.
Before the study, scientists had discovered a pair of peptides that interrupt interactions between a receptor that binds a neurotransmitter which regulates memory, learning among other cognitive functions as well as serotonin and another receptor that THC targets.
During their study, the researchers injected the peptides into the brains of mice, noting that some of the mice used had lesser memory problems that had been brought about by the THC.
The team, which was made up of researchers like David Andreu and Rafael Maldonado, worked to enhance these peptides by making them orally active, more stable, smaller and able to cross the brain-blood barrier.
To do this, the scientists developed optimized peptides that could still bind to receptors among other things but were smaller in length, in comparison with the original ones. They also used the data obtained from molecular dynamic simulations to improve the peptide sequences for stability, enhanced cell entry and capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier.
After this, the scientists orally administered the peptide to the mice and also injected them with THC, before testing the mice’s memory and pain threshold.
The researchers discovered that the mice that received the optimized peptide and the THC formulation had their pain alleviated in addition to demonstrating improved memory, in comparison with mice that had been treated with the THC formulation alone.
They also found that multiple treatments using the peptide didn’t elicit an immune response. The researchers’ discoveries suggest that the optimized peptide was an ideal candidate for decreasing the cognitive side effects from marijuana-based pain management.
Such studies confirm that the people who have been buying medical marijuana products manufactured by firms like Grapefruit USA Inc. (OTCQB: GPFT) were not disguised recreational users but instead had real medical concerns they needed to address.
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