Distinct antinociceptive and conditioned behavioral effects are produced by individual cannabinoids and a cannabis-derived mixture

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Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior


Cannabinoids have been proposed as therapeutics for pain mitigation. Therefore, the antihyperalgesic effects of a proprietary cannabis-derived mixture, Non-Euphoric Phytocannabinoid Elixir #14 (NEPE14), were examined in a persistent Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA)-induced model of inflammatory pain. The acute antinociceptive and operant behavioral effects of NEPE14 were then compared with single cannabinoid preparations of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), Δ8-THC, the synthetic cannabinoid (−)-CP 55,940 (CP), and cannabidiol (CBD). The THC isomers and CP were also administered with cannabinoid-type-1 receptor (CB1R) antagonist, AM251, and NEPE14 was administered in combination with THC or CP. To induce inflammation, CFA or saline was administered into the paw of male and female Wistar rats. After injections, mechanical hypersensitivity was assessed with Von Frey filaments, and thermal hyperalgesia with a thermal probe. Nine Sprague Dawley rats were also trained to respond under a fixed-ratio 30 schedule for food reinforcers during a 60-min session. Response rates were recorded during the session and warm-water tail-withdrawal latency post session. In CFA-administered rats, mechanical and thermal paw-withdrawal thresholds significantly decreased compared to vehicle, indicating hyperalgesia. Both i.p. (6.6–20.7 ml/kg) and o.m. (30–300 μL) NEPE14 significantly reduced the mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia. In contrast, neither NEPE14 (3.7–20.7 mL/kg i.p., 100–1000 μL o.m.) nor CBD (10–100 mg/kg) significantly decreased response rates or increased tail-withdrawal latency. Acute Δ9-THC, Δ8-THC (1–5.6 mg/kg), and CP (0.032–0.18 mg/kg) significantly and dose-dependently decreased overall response rate and increased tail-withdrawal latency compared to vehicle. AM251 significantly antagonized the rate-decreasing effects of THC, and CP, as well as the antinociceptive effects of CP. Combinations of NEPE14 with Δ9-THC or CP were not significantly different from these cannabinoids alone. In summary, while NEPE14 significantly reduced CFA-induced hyperalgesia, it was more similar to CBD than Δ9-THC, Δ8-THC, and CP for significantly reducing thermal nociception and disrupting conditioned behavior.

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