The Cannabinoid-Like Compound, VSN16R, Acts on Large Conductance, Ca2 -Activated K Channels to Modulate Hippocampal CA1 Pyramidal Neuron Firing
Researchers have recently found a cannabinoid-like compound, VSN16R, which is able to modulate Ca2+– activated potassium channels and may reduce seizure severity. By hyperpolarizing the neurons through the opening of Ca2+– activated potassium channels VSN16R ultimately results in the reduction of hyperexcitability seen in individuals who suffer from seizures. The compiled data reveals that cannabinoids or compounds structurally similar to cannabinoids may prove useful in the treatment of seizures or epileptic disorders, similar to the cannabinol-based Epidiolex® medication for rare forms of epilepsy, reducing the chance of a seizure or minimizing its duration. Further research is needed to aid the development of more readily available cannabis-based therapies for seizure activity and more general forms of epilepsy.
Highlighting in this article are the options for treatment that the endocannabinoid system provides us, even in the absence of naturally occurring cannabinoids. If structurally similar compounds like VSN16R are able to be synthesized and proven effective, it could mean novel therapies could be developed even while red tape surrounds cannabis. The endocannabinoid system affects a myriad of systems within the human body and is severely under-researched considering its potential. Epidiolex® is the only cannabinoid-based medication currently approved by the federal government but cannabis has shown promise in so many other areas where the current treatment is either ineffective or lacking. Research utilizing the endocannabinoid system as a target should continue and be pushed to the forefront of the medical community.
The study is available for review or download here
Effects of Cannabinoid Administration for Pain- A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression
A recent meta-analysis has found that cannabis is an effective treatment for those dealing with chronic pain. Researchers analyzed studies that compared cannabinoid-based therapies to placebos, concluding that those therapies served as an effective replacement or adjunctive therapy for more common pain relievers, such as opioids. Some studies included in the analysis disqualified the effectiveness of cannabinoids due to the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but the featured piece suggests future work should aim to synthesize cannabinoids that highlight cannabis’s analgesic effects while minimizing any psychoactive effects. Future research needs to discover more about the endocannabinoid mechanism within the body before this can occur.
The authors take care to emphasize the need for alternative pain therapies for opioids that are safer and more economically responsible. Currently, pain-related costs from patients, caretakers, and healthcare facilities continue to grow beyond $600-billion annually, as more people grow dependent on opioids. Cannabis is much more cost-effective, and even if it does not entirely replace opioid therapies and is simply an adjunct therapy, it has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of opioid prescribed and lower the necessary dose. Opioids are highly addictive whereas cannabis has a much better safety profile, yet cannabis is still deemed medically irrelevant by the federal government. More research needs to be conducted to reduce the chance of addiction, the opioid crisis in general, and reduce the economic burden of pain-related costs in the United States.
The Study is available for review or download here