Intended for healthcare professionals

Science Commentary

High hopes for cannabinoid analgesia

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 29 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:257
  1. Geoff Watts, science editor, BMJ1 (
  1. 1 28 New End Square, London NW3 1LS

    Several decades of irrational prejudice may have hampered clinical research on cannabis as a medicine, but work on the pharmacology of its active ingredients has been making steady progress. Just as the body has a natural counterpart to the opiate drugs, so too it makes its own endogenous cannabinoids. These act through receptors, of which two variants—CB1 and CB2—have been definitely identified and at least one other is suspected. The CB1 receptors are located only in the brain; their CB2 counterparts are found peripherally, and especially on the cells of the immune system. Cannabinoid receptors are present not just in vertebrates but also in molluscs, …

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