Antiemetic Effects of Cannabinoid Agonists in Nonhuman Primates

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics“Attenuating emesis elicited by both disease and medical treatments of disease remains a critical public health challenge.

Although cannabinergic medications have been used in certain treatment-resistant populations, FDA-approved cannabinoid antiemetics are associated with undesirable side effects, including cognitive disruption, that limit their prescription. Previous studies have shown that a metabolically stable analog of the endocannabinoid anandamide, methanandamide (mAEA), may produce lesser cognitive disruption than that associated with the primary psychoactive constituent in cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), raising the possibility that endocannabinoids may offer a therapeutic advantage over currently used medications.

The present studies were conducted to evaluate this possibility by comparing the antiemetic effects of Δ9-THC (0.032-0.1 mg/kg) and mAEA (3.2-10.0 mg/kg), against nicotine- and lithium chloride (LiCl)-induced emesis and prodromal hypersalivation in squirrel monkeys.

These studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of cannabinoid agonists in nonhuman primates. Importantly, although Δ9-THC produced superior antiemetic effects, the milder cognitive effects of mAEA demonstrated in previous studies suggests that it may provide a favorable treatment option under clinical circumstances in which antiemetic efficacy must be balanced against side-effect liability.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Emesis has significant evolutionary value as a defense mechanism against ingested toxins; however, it is also one of the most common adverse symptoms associated with both disease and medical treatments of disease. The development of improved anti-emetic pharmacotherapies has been impeded by a paucity of animal models.

The present studies systematically demonstrate for the first time the antiemetic effects of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and endocannabinoid-analog methanandamide in nonhuman primates.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32561684/

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/19/jpet.120.265710

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