Targeting the Cannabinoid System to Produce Analgesia

  • Devi Rani SagarEmail author
  • Maulik Jhaveri
  • Victoria Chapman
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 1)


Cannabinoid receptors are present at key sites involved in the relay and modulation of nociceptive responses. The analgesic effects of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor are well described. The widespread distribution of these receptors in the brain does, however, also explain the side-effects associated with CB1 receptor agonists. The cannabinoid CB2 receptor also produces analgesic effects in models of acute, inflammatory and neuropathic pain. The sites and mechanisms of CB2 receptor-mediated analgesia are described herein. In addition to targeting cannabinoid receptors directly, protection of endocannabinoids (eCBs) from metabolism also produces analgesic effects. Indeed, reports that noxious stimulation elevates levels of eCBs in the spinal cord and brain provide further rationale for this approach. The effects of inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) on nociceptive responses in models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain are discussed.


Inflammation Neuropathic Fatty acid amide hydrolase Endocannabinoid Arthritis 





N-Arachidonoylethanolamine; Anandamide


Cannabinoid-1 receptor


Cannabinoid-2 receptor


Chronic constriction injury


Complete Freund’s adjuvant


Cyclooxygenase type 2


Diacylglycerol lipase


Dorsal root ganglion


Fatty acid amide hydrolase


Intraperitoneal administration

Intraplantar administration


Mitogen activated protein kinase


Monoacylglycerol lipase


N-Acylethanolamine hydrolysing acid amidase


N-Arachidonoyl dopamine










Periaqueductal grey


N-Palmitoyl ethanolamine


Phospholipase C


Phospholipase D


Oral administration


Rheumatoid arthritis


Spinal nerve ligation




Transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1



We would like to thank the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council and GlaxoSmithKline for financial support towards the original research discussed in this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devi Rani Sagar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maulik Jhaveri
    • 1
  • Victoria Chapman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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