CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonists: Pain relief without psychoactive effects?

T. Philip Malan, Mohab M. Ibrahim, Josephine Lai, Todd W. Vanderah, Alexandros Makriyannis, Frank Porreca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

172 Scopus citations


Cannabinoid receptor agonists significantly diminish pain responses in animal models; however, they exhibit only modest analgesic effects in humans. The relative lack of efficacy in man may be because of the dose limitations imposed by psychoactive side effects. Cannbinoid agonists that selectively target CB2 (peripheral) cannabinoid receptors should be free of psychoactive effects, perhaps allowing for more effective dosing. CB2 receptor activation inhibits acute, inflammatory and neuropathic pain responses in animal models. In preclinical studies, CB2 receptor agonists do not produce central nervous system effects. Therefore, they show promise for the treatment of acute and chronic pain without psychoactive effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-67
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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