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Analgesic, appetite-stimulating, and subjective effects of cannabigerol administered alone and in combination with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol

INVESTIGATORS: Ziva Cooper, PhD

STUDY LOCATION: University of California, Los Angeles

PROJECT TITLE: Analgesic, appetite-stimulating, and subjective effects of cannabigerol administered alone and in combination with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol

FUNDING SOURCE: Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

PROJECT TYPE: Clinical Study

STATUS: Enrollment Pending

ABSTRACT:

Chronic pain is a significant public health burden for which there are few effective treatments lacking adverse effects that limit their long-term use. Anorexia frequently co-occurs with pain; severity of appetite impairment is positively associated with pain intensity. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, holds promise as a therapeutic candidate to treat chronic pain.

THC and has also been established as a therapeutic for anorexia associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and is used to stimulate appetite associated with other disorders. However, THC’s analgesic and orexigenic effects can be accompanied by intoxication, abuse liability, and cognitive disruption limiting its clinical utility. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a minor cannabinoid that, in laboratory animals, lacks the psychoactive side effects of THC. Preclinical studies point to CBG’s potential pain-relieving and appetite stimulating effects but these findings have yet to be translated to humans. It has been hypothesized that minor cannabinoids, like CBG, may interact synergistically with THC to enhance therapeutic outcomes while reducing negative psychoactive effects. Specifically, CBG may increase the analgesic and appetite stimulating effects of low, minimally intoxicating, doses of THC, and/or reduce adverse consequences of higher THC doses. Understanding if CBG has analgesic and appetite-stimulating properties alone or in combination with THC is fundamental to developing novel cannabinoid-based therapeutics for these indications. At a time when pharmacotherapeutic strategies to decrease reliance on opioids for pain relief are desperately needed and novel orexigenic agents are warranted, probing the analgesic and appetite stimulating effects of CBG and its potential THC-sparing effects is of significant interest. The proposed double-blind, placebo-controlled study will be the first to assess the dose-dependent analgesic, appetite-stimulating, and adverse effects of CBG alone and in combination with THC in volunteers. Analysis of plasma THC, THC metabolites, and CBG will determine the degree to which effects observed under CBG-THC dose combinations are due to a pharmacokinetic interaction. The objectives of this study address a central mission of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. Study findings will be essential in understanding the clinical potential of CBG alone and in conjunction with THC for pain management and anorexia.