Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Opiates and cannaboids the fight against pain

18.03.2003


Opiates and cannaboids, apart from being drugs, have curative properties. Thus, opiates (morphine, methadone, etc.) have been used for some time as a pain-reducer and many cannaboids have also analgesic properties.



Regarding their curative aspects, it is very important to know the effects produced after a prolonged period of treatment. Carrying out this analysis with opiates and cannabinoids, two important problems arise: given that they are drugs, they create psychological dependency and, in the long term, physical dependency and tolerance appears.

Psychological dependency involves the need to consume the drug while physical tolerance, on the other hand, means a cellular adaptation. Apart from the two dependencies, however, the tolerance effect is of great importance, for example in the case of pain. Tolerance appears when the drug loses its effect, i.e., when the body gets used to the medication, and then the pain-killing process begins to disappear. Thus, in order to achieve the same effect, to eliminate pain, the dose to be supplied to the patient has to be greater.


The hypothesis of a solution

According to a research team at the Pharmacy Faculty at the Basque University at Leioa (Bizkaia) Campus, one of the keys to the problem presented by opiates and cannabinoids could lie in nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmisor found in the brain in gaseous form. According to the hypothesis, if nitric oxide inhibitors are supplied together with the opiates and cannabinoids, the therapeutic effect is maintained and, moreover, the dependence on and tolerance to the narcotic can be avoided.

A number of results have confirmed this hypothesis; but the conclusions are not so clear-cut. For example, nitric oxide inhibitors have been shown to partially minimise tolerance but, at the same time, they increase blood pressure, because the inhibitors do not act only on the brain and so they have side reactions. This is why researchers are currently trying to find inhibitors which are specific for the brain.

Opiates have been around for some time, but cannabinoids when?

The research being carried out at Leioa is, in many aspects, innovative. Given that, although opiates have been used and studied for a long time, its mechanism of operation is still unresolved; with cannabinoids, very few studies have been carried out.

This is why the Leioa group will also carry out the greatest part of their research on the opiates, more specifically on morphine. They will analyse the effects of nitric oxide inhibitors on neuronal activity and its effect on pain. To this end, they will analyse neuronal activity at different parts (locus coeruleus and spinal medula) and, by measuring brain reflexes, they will find out if pain is felt more acutely or less so. Moreover, the reserve of receptors will be measured and their pharmacodynamic characteristics will be evaluated.

The final tests will be carried out with the cannabinoids. Their effect on the locus coeruleus will be assessed so that a subsequent measurement of the tolerance to this effect can be made.

Notes

Main researcher: Joseba Pineda Ortiz
Research-team: Mª I. Ulibarri, M. Torrecilla, M. Santamarta, A. Mendiguren, J. Llorente
Department: Pharmacology
Faculty: Medicine and Odontology Faculty (Leioa)


Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.ehu.es

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>