The antinociceptive effect of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in the arthritic rat.Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 Jun 16; 493(1-3):65-74.EJ
Our study addressed the hypothesis that spinal release of endogenous opioids underlies Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC)-induced antinociception in Freund's adjuvant-induced arthritic and nonarthritic rats. The paw-pressure test was used to assess the antinociceptive effects of Delta9-THC versus those of morphine, and opioid and cannabinoid receptor-selective antagonists were used to characterize the involved receptors. Cerebrospinal fluid was collected after Delta9-THC injection (i.p.) for the measurement of endogenous opioid peptides. Our results indicate that morphine or Delta9-THC is equally potent and efficacious in both nonarthritic and arthritic rats. Delta9-THC-induced antinociception is attenuated by the kappa opioid receptor antagonist, nor-binaltorphimine, in arthritic rats only. Delta9-THC induces increased immunoreactive dynorphin A (idyn A) levels in nonarthritic rats while decreasing idyn A in arthritic rats. We hypothesize that the elevated idyn A level in arthritic rats contributes to hyperalgesia by interaction with N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, and that Delta9-THC induces antinociception by decreasing idyn A release.