The cannabinoid 1 receptor and cannabinoid 2 receptor can both be targeted in the treatment of pain; yet, they have some important differences. Cannabinoid 1 receptor is expressed at high levels in the central nervous system, whereas cannabinoid 2 receptor is found predominantly, although not exclusively, outside the central nervous system. The objective of this study was to investigate potential interactions between cannabinoid 2 receptor and the mu-opioid receptor in pathological pain. The low level of adverse side effects and lack of tolerance for cannabinoid 2 receptor agonists are attractive pharmacotherapeutic traits. This study assessed the anti-nociceptive effects of a selective cannabinoid 2 receptor agonist (JWH-133) in pathological pain using mice subjected to inflammatory pain using the formalin test. Furthermore, we examined several ways in which JWH-133 may interact with morphine. JWH-133 produces dose-dependent anti-nociception during both the acute and inflammatory phases of the formalin test. This was observed in both male and female mice. However, a maximally efficacious dose of JWH-133 (1 mg/kg) was not associated with somatic withdrawal symptoms, motor impairment, or hypothermia. After eleven once-daily injections of 1 mg/JWH-133, no tolerance was observed in the formalin test. Cross-tolerance for the anti-nociceptive effects of JWH-133 and morphine were assessed to gain insight into physiologically relevant cannabinoid 2 receptor and mu-opioid receptor interaction. Mice made tolerant to the effects of morphine exhibited a lower JWH-133 response in both phases of the formalin test compared to vehicle-treated morphine-naïve animals. However, repeated daily JWH-133 administration did not cause cross-tolerance for morphine, suggesting opioid and cannabinoid 2 receptor cross-tolerance is unidirectional. However, preliminary data suggest co-administration of JWH-133 with morphine modestly attenuates morphine tolerance. Isobolographic analysis revealed that co-administration of JWH-133 and morphine has an additive effect on anti-nociception in the formalin test. Overall these findings show that cannabinoid 2 receptor may functionally interact with mu-opioid receptor to modulate anti-nociception in the formalin test.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine