Chronic Pain and Cannabidiol in Animal Models: Behavioral Pharmacology and Future Perspectives

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“The incidence of chronic pain is around 8% in the general population, and its impact on quality of life, mood, and sleep exceeds the burden of its causal pathology. Chronic pain is a complex and multifaceted problem with few effective and safe treatment options. It can be associated with neurological diseases, peripheral injuries or central trauma, or some maladaptation to traumatic or emotional events. In this perspective, animal models are used to assess the manifestations of neuropathy, such as allodynia and hyperalgesia, through nociceptive tests, such as von Frey, Hargreaves, hot plate, tail-flick, Randall & Selitto, and others. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been considered a promising strategy for treating chronic pain and diseases that have pain as a consequence of neuropathy. However, despite the growing body of evidence linking the efficacy of CBD on pain management in clinical and basic research, there is a lack of reviews focusing on chronic pain assessments, especially when considering pre-clinical studies, which assess chronic pain as a disease by itself or as a consequence of trauma or peripheral or central disease. Therefore, this review focused only on studies that fit our inclusion criteria: (1) used treatment with CBD extract; (2) used tests to assess mechanical or thermal nociception in at least one of the following most commonly used tests (von Frey, hot plate, acetone, Hargreaves, tail-flick, Randall & Selitto, and others); and (3) studies that assessed pain sensitivity in chronic pain induction models. The current literature points out that CBD is a well-tolerated and safe natural compound that exerts analgesic effects, decreasing hyperalgesia, and mechanical/thermal allodynia in several animal models of pain and patients. In addition, CBD presents several molecular and cellular mechanisms of action involved in its positive effects on chronic pain. In conclusion, using CBD seems to be a promising strategy to overcome the lack of efficacy of conventional treatment for chronic pain.”

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