Researchers at Ontario, Canada’s University of Guelph say they have unlocked how cannabis is potent at reducing pain. The team announced findings on Wednesday that cannabis creates “important pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more powerful at reducing inflammation than Aspirin.”
The researchers found that flavinoids called cannflavin A and cannflavin B — both non-psychoactive compounds — reduce inflammation. The flavonoids were first discovered in 1985 but research on them was stymied due to Canadian drug laws.
Prof. Tariq Akhtar, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, one of the study’s authors, explained that the molecules “target inflammation at the source” but his co-author, MCB professor Steven Rothstein, noted that the flavinoids “are present in cannabis at such low levels, it’s not feasible” to engineer plants to create more of the compounds. He noted that the team is partnering with Toronto-based Anahit International Corp., which has licensed a patent from the university, to biosynthesize the flavinoids outside of the cannabis plant.
“There’s clearly a need to develop alternatives for relief of acute and chronic pain that go beyond opioids.” — Akhtar, in a statement
Anahit chief operating officer Darren Carrigan indicated the company would commercialize products containing the compounds “through a variety of medical and athletic products such as creams, pills, sports drinks, transdermal patches and other innovative options.”
“Being able to offer a new pain relief option is exciting, and we are proud that our work has the potential to become a new tool in the pain relief arsenal,” Rothstein said in a statement.
The study was published in the journal Phytochemistry.
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