CBD, the second major cannabinoid in pot after THC, has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, but no psychoactive effects, according to the scientists, reports Tom Avril at Philly.com.
In a study using lab mice, CBD showed promise in preventing the kind of neuropathic pain that can result from the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (sold as the brand-name Taxol, among others).
Mice that were given paclitaxel and also received CBD were much less sensitive to pain than mice that receive only chemo.
Researchers tested the rodents' sensitivity to pain with two tests that normally get little reaction from drug-free mice, but cause mild pain in mice on chemo.
|Temple University School of Pharmacy|
|Sara Ward, Temple University: "From what we've seen so far, it's almost a complete prevention of the onset of neuropathic pain"|
They administered acetone to the animals' paws, which results in a cold sensation as the liquid evaporates. The scientists also prodded the little mouse paws with flexible filaments to test how much pressure they had to apply before the mice pulled their paws away.
Chemo mice that had been dosed with CBD had near-normal sensitivity, according to Sara Jane Ward, a research assistant professor at Temple's School of Pharmacy.
"From what we've seen so far, it's almost a complete prevention of the onset of the neuropathic pain," said Ward in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia. Ward is the lead author of the study.
The scientists did not test CBD's ability to prevent nausea, which is another common use for medical cannabis.
CBD has also shown great promise in that it can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in animals.
Scientists still aren't sure exactly how it works in the body. This hasn't stopped them from testing it as a treatment for conditions ranging from schizophrenia to Crohn's disease.
Unfettered research into the vastly promising future applications of CBD can only be done when marijuana and all its derivatives are taken off Schedule I of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are, by definition, useless for any medical purpose, and too dangerous to even test on human subjects under laboratory controls.