Interaction of the cannabinoid and opioid systems in the modulation of nociception

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“Cannabinoids and opioids produce antinociceptive synergy.

Cannabinoids such as Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) release endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids such as anandamide (AEA) also alter endogenous opioid tone.

Opioids and cannabinoids bind distinct receptors that co-localize in areas of the brain involved with the processing of pain signals. Therefore, it is logical to look at interactions of these two systems in the modulation of both acute and chronic pain.

This review summarizes the data indicating that with cannabinoid/opioid therapy one may be able to produce long-term antinociceptive effects at doses devoid of substantial side effects, while preventing the neuronal biochemical changes that accompany tolerance.

The clinical utility of modulators of the endocannabinoid system as a potential mimic for THC-like drugs in analgesia and tolerance-sparing effects of opioids is a critical future direction also addressed in the review.”

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09540260902782794

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Endocannabinoid system and alcohol addiction: pharmacological studies.

Abstract

“The present paper describes the results of recent pharmacological studies implicating the cannabinoid CB1 receptor in the neural circuitry regulating alcohol consumption and motivation to consume alcohol. Cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonists have been found to specifically stimulate alcohol intake and alcohol’s motivational properties in rats. Conversely, the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist, SR 141716, has been reported to specifically suppress acquisition and maintenance of alcohol drinking behavior, relapse-like drinking and alcohol’s motivational properties in rats. More recent data indicate that opioid receptor antagonists a) blocked the stimulatory effect of cannabinoids on alcohol intake, and b) synergistically potentiated the suppressing effect of SR 141716 on alcohol intake and alcohol’s motivational properties. Consistently, SR 141716 blocked the stimulatory effect of morphine on alcohol intake. These results suggest a) the existence of a functional link between the cannabinoid and opioid receptor systems in the control of alcohol intake and motivation to consume alcohol, and b) that novel and potentially effective therapeutic strategies for alcoholism may come from the combination of cannabinoid and opioid receptor antagonists.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15939463

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Functional interactions between endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems: focus on alcohol, genetics and drug-addicted behaviors.

Abstract

“Although the first studies regarding the endogenous opioid system and addiction were published during the 1940s, addiction and cannabinoids were not addressed until the 1970s. Currently, the number of opioid addiction studies indexed in PubMed-Medline is 16 times greater than the number of cannabinoid addiction reports. More recently, functional interactions have been demonstrated between the endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems. For example, the cannabinoid brain receptor type 1 (CB1) and mu opioid receptor type 1 (MOR1) co-localize in the same presynaptic nerve terminals and signal through a common receptor-mediated G-protein pathway. Here, we review a great variety of behavioral models of drug addiction and alcohol-related behaviors. We also include data providing clear evidence that activation of the cannabinoid and opioid endogenous systems via WIN 55,512-2 (0.4-10 mg/kg) and morphine (1.0-10 mg/kg), respectively, produces similar levels of relapse to alcohol in operant alcohol self-administration tasks. Finally, we discuss genetic studies that reveal significant associations between polymorphisms in MOR1 and CB1 receptors and drug addiction. For example, the SNP A118G, which changes the amino acid aspartate to asparagine in the MOR1 gene, is highly associated with altered opioid system function. The presence of a microsatellite polymorphism of an (AAT)n triplet near the CB1 gene is associated with drug addiction phenotypes. But, studies exploring haplotypes with regard to both systems, however, are lacking.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20196742cannabinoid op

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