Cannabinoids have Opioid-Sparing Effects on Morphine Analgesia

Opioid-Sparing Effects of Cannabinoids on Morphine Analgesia- Participation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors

In Summary

Researchers have recently provided evidence that synthetic cannabinoids are able to work synergistically with morphine to provide maximum pain relief while limiting opioid doses. In an effort to control the current opioid epidemic researchers have been looking into the possible benefits of cannabinoids due to the interaction of the opioid and endocannabinoid systems. The results of this study showed that various synthetic cannabinoids (WIN and GP1a) were able to work synergistically with morphine in two separate pain models to maximize analgesic effects. Further evidence is still needed to validate these claims before patient use but this paper provides further evidence that medical cannabis may help put an end to the opioid crisis. 

Highlighted in this paper is the lingering uncertainty of exact mechanisms within the endocannabinoid system. The authors of this article are left without definite answers as to whether or not the analgesic effect is mediated completely through cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) or if cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is also involved. Research into cannabinoids is slow within the United States as there are currently only privately funded studies which is severely hindering the medical community from taking full advantage of all it has to offer. The better a system is understood the more definite answers can be found. Critics may never support the rescheduling of cannabis but without moving cannabis to Schedule II or III it remains impossible to back even their claims. 

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Benjamin Caplan, MDCannabinoids have Opioid-Sparing Effects on Morphine Analgesia
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How Opioids Act as Immunosuppressants

Opioid Drug Abuse and Modulation of Immune Function.

In Summary:

 A recent review article has pieced together part the mechanism behind the fact that opioids have immune system suppression properties. Morphine, a popular opioid, and one of the main actors in the modern opiate epidemic of dependence and addiction interacts with factors within the immune system that break down the coordination of the two main cells involved in innate and adaptive immunity. A disruption in one of the primary immune defense operators, this action may leave users susceptible to a multitude of illnesses. This review highlights the importance of understanding the mechanism of opioid-related immunosuppression so that physicians can better treat patients and the public is more aware of the risks. Addicts, especially, should be made aware of the risks posed by illicit intravenous drug use.

Morphine modulates IL-2 promoter activity
morphine skews the lineage bias of CD4 T-cells
schematic outline showing modulation of innate and adaptive immunity following morphine treatment

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Benjamin Caplan, MDHow Opioids Act as Immunosuppressants
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