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Two distinctive antinociceptive systems in rats with pathological pain
by Mao J, Price DD, Lu J, Keniston L, Mayer DJ


A common obstacle in clinical management of pathological pain is the poor response to opioid analgesics. We now report that delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC)-induced antinociception remained effective in rats with pathological pain. The selective central cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR141716A, but not the generic opioid receptor antagonist naloxone, blocked the delta9-THC antinociception. Moreover, there is no cross-tolerance between the antinociceptive effects of morphine and delta9-THC in pathological pain states. The results indicate that delta9-THC antinociception is both effective and independent of opioid receptors in rats with pathological pain. Thus, the cannabinoid analgesic system may be superior to opioids in alleviating intractable pathological pain syndromes.