Nerve cells treated with CBD saw reduced levels of a key signalling molecule in the pain pathway
There’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) for treating pain, but a new study offers further scientific insight into how the compound interacts with nerve cells.
Published in the Journal of Pain Research, the study suggests that CBD may help block pain-signalling pathways.
Researchers found that lab-cultured rat neurons treated with CBD were less sensitive to capsaicin, the active compound in chili peppers. The nerve cells treated with CBD saw an influx of calcium and reduced levels of the pain-signalling molecule cAMP, a key signalling molecule in the pain pathway, reports Imperial College London.
Researchers believe this might help explain the therapeutic effect of CBD in patients with acute and chronic pain.
The study was led by Mikael Sodergren, a senior clinical lecturer at the university, a hepatobiliary consultant and a pancreatic surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Sodergren is currently leading research, from pre-clinical to clinical studies, focusing on cannabis-based products to treat pain, inflammation and cancer.
Medical cannabis became legal in the U.K. in 2018, but advocates say it is difficult to access and prohibitively expensive.
A recent poll of more than 13,000 U.K. residents found that nearly half — 46 per cent — were unaware that medical cannabis is legal. Studies like Sodergren’s could help change that.
It’s also in line with other research, including a 2008 review published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, that found cannabinoids have shown “great promise” as an adjunct therapy for difficult-to-treat pain.