A new oil extraction technique could help tackle a growing epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.
The research was published today in Scientific Reports.
Dr. Michael S. Brown, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), led the research.
The NIDA’s NIDA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology is responsible for administering new medications and products to the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration.
The goal of this research was to test an extraction technology for an oil that could be used to extract an opioid from a cannabis plant.
Brown and his colleagues took cannabis oil, extracted it, and then processed the oil to isolate its active compounds.
They then tested the resulting oil on rats, which are known to metabolize opioids.
In addition, the researchers tested a THC-infused cannabis oil extract against the human endogenous opioid receptor agonist, or HU-210.
HU is also a potent inhibitor of opioid receptors.
Brown said that, unlike other opioids, the THC-based cannabis oil extracted from cannabis could be safely used as a treatment for a wide range of pain and anxiety disorders.
“It’s not just about the active compounds that are extracted from the plant, it’s also about the properties of the cannabinoids in the oil,” Brown said.
Brown said the research was motivated by the fact that cannabinoids have shown promise as treatments for anxiety, depression, and addiction. “
In the last decade, there has been a lot more work on this issue, and the new research really opens up new possibilities for this.”
Brown said the research was motivated by the fact that cannabinoids have shown promise as treatments for anxiety, depression, and addiction.
“We have known for a long time that cannabinoids could be effective in treating anxiety and depression,” he said.
But the problem is, the evidence is lacking, and it’s still unclear how cannabinoids might work in treating these conditions.
“That’s where our work comes in.”
Brown explained that, while cannabinoids can have a number of active compounds in them, they also have some “potentially toxic” ones.
The toxic ones include cannabidiol (CBD), a compound in cannabis that is thought to be one of the main active compounds for cannabinoids.
“CBD is one of these potentially toxic compounds that we’re trying to get a handle on,” Brown explained.
The team also tested a synthetic version of CBD, called N-(2-methoxy-4-methylphenyl)-2-methylpiperidinyl)piperazine, or 2MPPP, which was produced using a “nucleotide-based synthesis” technique.
“When you make a nucleotide-free molecule, you can create a molecule that’s more like a natural molecule, but with a higher molecular weight and a smaller amount of the active compound, like THC,” Brown told the New Scientist.
“Theoretically, this could be a potential therapeutic compound for people with anxiety disorders, depression and addiction, because it has some of the same cannabinoid receptors as THC.”
In a clinical trial, the team tested the efficacy of CBD-based treatment in a subset of people with opioid withdrawal.
“Our study showed that, in the subset of patients who were given CBD, they actually responded better to CBD than placebo,” Brown continued.
The NACA, NIDA, and DEA support this research because CBD is a federally-designated substance, and as such, it can be used in clinical trials. “
For those patients, we can provide a better understanding of how the CB2 receptor works and why cannabinoids can be effective against opioid withdrawal, and how they could work in the future to treat opioid withdrawal and opioid use disorders.”
The NACA, NIDA, and DEA support this research because CBD is a federally-designated substance, and as such, it can be used in clinical trials.
Brown explained, however, that, because CBD isn’t a pharmaceutical or a synthetic, it will be difficult to produce and market.
“You can’t do this in the traditional way, which is to make a pharmaceutical product,” Brown noted.
“They can’t use it to treat anxiety or depression, because that would be an illegal activity.
So that’s a major limitation of this study.”
Brown also noted that, so far, CBD has only been used in one clinical trial.
“I’m not sure how they would know if this worked in a larger clinical trial,” he added.
“What we can say is that this is a very promising new study, and we’re going to be looking to expand our research to see if this technology can be utilized in clinical settings.”
For more information about this research, please visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also supported the study.
References: DOI: 10.3390/mnh2205227, DOI: 11.5061/mnhp.22.71921.