Imagine a pain reliever 30 times stronger at reducing inflammation than Aspirin. Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada are the first to uncover the pain-relief potential of cannabis, demonstrating just how strong the plant could be.
What makes this discovery so interesting is that by using cannabis plants as a means to reduce pain would mean natural pain relief medication, which in turn would reduce the addiction risks of other non-natural pain killers.
How did the team discover cannabis’ potential?
It’s all at the molecular level.
The researchers, led by Professor Tariq Akhtar of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), working alongside MCB professor Steven Rothstein who combined biochemistry and genomics.
In doing so, the team discovered how cannabis creates two molecules: cannflavin A, and cannflavin B – also known as ‘flavonoids.’ Flavonoids are a type of plant secondary metabolites, a substance necessary for metabolism.
When carefully observed, cannabis’ flavonoids gave anti-inflammatory benefits that were 30 times higher than the regular Aspirin we use over the counter.
As Akhtar said, “Our objective was to better understand how these molecules are made,[…]. If you know what you’re looking for, one can bring genes to life, so to speak, and piece together how molecules like cannflavins A and B are assembled.”
Chronic Pain Reliever
At the moment, those suffering from chronic pain rely heavily on opioids, which block the pain receptors in the brain, and have many side effects and a high chance of addiction.
Rothstein said, “Being able to offer a new pain relief option is exciting, and we are proud that our work has the potential to become a new tool in the pain relief arsenal.”
University of Guelph researchers are the first to uncover how the cannabis plant creates important pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more powerful at reducing inflammation than Aspirin https://t.co/v0icq4uxJh #UofG @UofGuelphNews
— University of Guelph (@uofg) July 23, 2019
The team is working hand in hand with Anahit International Group, a Toronto-based company.
The company’s CEO, Darren Carrigan, said: “Anahit looks forward to working closely with University of Guelph researchers to develop effective and safe anti-inflammatory medicines from cannabis phytochemicals that would provide an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”
There’s still some way to go with the research, but it’s looking promising for the development of new pain-relief alternatives.