Research Holds Promise for New Class of Painkiller

Research Holds Promise for New Class of Painkiller
Posted by CN Staff on June 22, 2005 at 11:59:08 PT
By Lee Bowman, Scripps Howard News Service
Source: SHNS 
Washington, D.C. -- Researchers have found that marijuana-like chemicals in the brain help animals and people under extreme stress suppress pain and keep going despite a severe injury."This shows for the first time that natural marijuana-like chemicals in the brain have a link to pain suppression," said Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine and senior author of a study published Thursday in the journal Nature.
"Aside from identifying an important function of these compounds, it provides a template for a new class of pain medications that can possibly replace others shown to have acute side effects," said Piomelli, who also directs the Center for Drug Discovery at the university.In theory, the research done on rats suggests it is possible to design a pill that would have the same pain-relieving effects as smoked marijuana, but through an indirect mechanism that wouldn't carry the psychoactive side effects or legal perils of medical pot, the authors said.The study has its roots in a phenomenon known as stress-induced analgesia. This is part of the body's primitive "fight or flight" survival kit that also makes our hearts race, our breathing quicken, reduces blood flow to some parts of the body and tightens our muscles as the parts of our brain that are key to sensing threats fire up to heightened awareness.Scientists have long known that a surge of stress hormones gives wounded soldiers, accident victims, injured athletes and others a short period of time in which the body's pain reaction is delayed and they can keep going to complete a task or reach safety.Over time, researchers have determined that there are two types of stress-induced pain blockers, opioid and non-opioid, that work in both humans and most animals. The new study provides the first evidence that the non-opioid form is produced by marijuana-like (cannabinoid) compounds, although other research has shown they play a role in blocking pain.Piomelli and lead author Andrea Hohmann, a neuroscientist at the University of Georgia, found one specific cannabinoid compound, called 2-AG, provides powerful and immediate response to the body's pain reactions during stress. And when they blocked 2-AG response in rats, they could only detect the opioid form of response to pain.Blocking receptors "where the marijuana acts virtually erased this form of stress analgesia," Hohmann said, leaving only the pathway that relies on opioids at work.Moreover, when they gave the rats a compound developed by Piomelli that blocks the breakdown of 2-AG, stress-induced pain relief increased dramatically."If we design chemicals that tweak the levels of these transmitter substances in the brain, we might be able to boost their normal effects," Piomelli said.The University of California and the universities of Urbino and Parma in Italy, where collaborators helped create the chemical, have patented the inhibitor developed by Piomelli's group.Hohmann said a new drug that increased the body's own natural marijuana-like compounds might work something like the anti-depressant Prozac, which blocks the re-uptake of the brain-signaling compound serotonin, causing it to remain active longer.She added that any new drug based on the research would probably be more effective and specific than smoked marijuana in providing pain relief.On the Net: Material: Release of the body's own natural marijuana-like compounds is critical in the process that temporarily shields a person from pain following a serious injury.Researchers hope to develop a pill that would artificially sustain this "stress-induced analgesia" effect even when a person isn't under stress as a new, possibly less addictive form of pain relief and perhaps an alternative to medical marijuana.Source: SHNS (DC)Author: Lee Bowman, Scripps Howard News ServicePublished: June 22, 2005Copyright: 2005 Script Howard News ServiceWebsite: copelandp shns.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Scientifically Speaking This Drug's on Wrong List The Brain's Own Marijuana
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Comment #6 posted by potpal on June 23, 2005 at 02:27:17 PT
bbc version
Body's own 'cannabis' helps pain 
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on June 22, 2005 at 16:35:24 PT
Sam Adams
I don't like HAVING to get a bit of high every day. But I have no choice. It's fun on occasion but gets old fast when you have to do something everyday. So, yeah, I would appreciate a non-psychoactive drug that works for me. But it's not horrible, either. Certainly better than, say, having to get medicine head every day from some of the antihistamines. And as I said, occasionally fun.In any case, I'm not going to put my life on hold for another decade or so while they work this out. 
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Comment #4 posted by jose melendez on June 22, 2005 at 16:04:32 PT
code x ailments
Everyone on this fax and email list was sent an affidavit by me today alleging fraud and false claims:I'm sure they would appreciate more input.Contact Information for Codex Steering Committee Members
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Comment #3 posted by Shishaldin on June 22, 2005 at 14:35:01 PT
Codex Alimentarius
Nope, Sam, they've got more PROFITABLE ways to do business concerning herbs, vitamins, and minerals. Namely, lower the potency, restrict their access as "control of dietary supplements", and then jack up the prices to the current obscenely high pharmaceutical levels. Everyone here at CNEWS should know about this. The folks fighting against this new regulation scheme are OUR allies...------------From Life Extention Foundation (
Consumer access to dietary supplements in the USA is being threatened by illegal FDA actions at the UN Codex Alimentarius Commission where the FDA has been working hard to create a mindlessly restrictive global trade standard for vitamins and minerals.At the 28th General Session of the UN's Codex Alimentarius Commission between July 4-9th 2005, barring a miracle, a very restrictive global trade standard for vitamins and minerals will be ratified. Codex standards can be imposed on the USA via membership in the WTO and via regional harmonization through an expansion of NAFTA via CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) and FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas).
More on this from: : European Union Food Supplements Directive 
The collection of countries making up the European Union (EU) will be severely impacted by the activation of the EU Food Supplements Directive on August 1, 2005. The Directive is purported to provide reassurance for EU consumers that the ingredients used in food supplements have been thoroughly assessed for safety. There is a "positive list" that includes 28 vitamins and minerals that are deemed safe. After August 1, EU stores can legally only sell supplement products containing these ingredients. What is causing grave concerns, however, is the long list of 200 vitamins and minerals that did not make the "positive list." While a supplement would normally need to be proved dangerous to be removed from public consumption, the Directive works in just the opposite way. The supplement must be proved safe to get onto the "positive list" and be available to the EU consumer. The process of proving that a vitamin or mineral is safe is very costly.
 ...and here at home: 
It is expected that these bills will be reintroduced in the current (109th) session in April-May time frame, with serious committee hearings in the following months. While the bill numbers will be different, the content is expected to be very similar. A few of the bills to watch for are:* Dietary Supplement Safety Act (was S. 722)
This bill would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require that manufacturers of dietary supplements submit to the FDA reports on adverse experiences with dietary supplements. Opponents question whether dietary supplements need to be held to a higher standard than drugs. Would it be fair to have a supplement taken off the market based on one negative reaction while a drug can remain available even as it harms many?* Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act (was H.R. 3377)
This bill would grant the FDA authority to regulate supplements in the same way that it regulates over-the-counter drugs. Opponents are concerned that this is working toward the day when you would need a doctor's prescription to get vitamin and mineral supplements.* Safe Food Act of 2004 (was S. 2910)
This bill would create a new federal food safety agency. Ten separate federal agencies handling various food matters would be combined into one. This sounds like an efficient administrative approach. However, the bill stated that the term "food" would not include dietary supplements. If not food, what's left? Drugs? ---------Big Brother/Big Pharma wants total control over our health and our lives. It appears that they'll settle for nothing less...Peace and Strength,Shishaldin
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on June 22, 2005 at 14:00:22 PT
Getting closer to...the truth
In theory, the research done on rats suggests it is possible to design a pill that would have the same pain-relieving effects as smoked marijuana, but through an indirect mechanism that wouldn't carry the psychoactive side effects or legal perils of medical pot, the authors said.Ah-ha! So finally somone is recognizing that only because cannabis is illegal do we need prescription cannabinoids. Gee, how much will this cost? $10,000 per year maybe? I wonder if they'll come up with some convoluted process to synthesize it, or if they'll just cut to the chase & extact it right out of the plant, which is probably very easy.Question: has anyone actually complained about the "high" of medical marijuana? I wonder if anyone's actually researched this. It would be easy to go to California or Holland & survey med MJ patients. I've got a feeling a very small percent of people compain about the "high", I'll be it's a lower number than for the side effects of many other meds.Honestly, I'm surprised Big Pharm hasn't taken this and run. They already profit handsomely by the laws making opium, belladonna, and cannabis tinctures illegal. There are lots of other herbs & chemicals that could be banned for more profit - echinicea, aspirin....I'm surprised they don't just ban herbal medicine outright! Oh yeah, I forgot Mormon Tea, I guess they are constantly adding new ones to the list. 
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on June 22, 2005 at 12:38:02 PT
Now we know why it's illegal
***********************************Washington, D.C. -- Researchers have found that marijuana-like chemicals in the brain help animals and people under extreme stress suppress pain and keep going despite a severe injury.************************************Like during the American Revolution.Maybe the Americans won the Revolution because our side smoked hemp cigarettes and were able to survive losing battle after battle until the French arrived to bail them out.Louis Armstrong enhanced his natural cannabinoids and survived a tough childhood where young men like him could be killed for being black in the wrong neck of the woods.I think there's a link between the neurochemistry and the politics.
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