The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the NIH, announced funding for nine new research awards totaling $3 million to study the potential pain-relieving properties of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced funding for nine new research awards totaling $3 million to study the potential pain-relieving properties of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis (1). According to the NCCIH press release, these awards will strengthen the evidence regarding cannabis components and whether they have potential roles in pain management.
“The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis,” said Helene Langevin, MD, director of NCCIH. “There’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.”
The focus of this research is reportedly on minor cannabinoids (other than THC) and certain terpenes found in the cannabis plant that may have analgesic properties. The cannabis plant contains more than 110 cannabinoids and 120 terpenes.
“THC may help relieve pain, but its value as an analgesic is limited by its psychoactive effects and abuse potential,” said David Shurtleff, PhD, deputy director of NCCIH. “These new projects will investigate substances from cannabis that don’t have THC’s disadvantages, looking at their basic biological activity and their potential mechanisms of action as pain relievers.”
The NCCIH explained that natural products, including cannabinoids, have shown promise for potential use as nonopioid analgesics; however, they need to know more about whether those cannabinoids work, what they do in the body, and how they might be integrated into multidisciplinary pain management. These new awards support a broad range of cannabinoid and terpene studies, including: