Animal study



Pain. 2019 Jan;160(1):136-150. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001386. PMID: 30157131; PMCID: PMC6319597.

Article name

Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain


De Gregorio D, McLaughlin RJ, Posa L, Ochoa-Sanchez R, Enns J, Lopez-Canul M, Aboud M, Maione S, Comai S, Gobbi G.

How Cannabidiol (CBD) Can Help with Neuropathic Pain and Anxiety

Neuropathic pain and anxiety are common conditions that affect many people. A recent study by Danilo De Gregorio, Ryan J. McLaughlin, Luca Posa, and their team from various institutions, including McGill University, has shed light on how cannabidiol (CBD), a component of cannabis, can help alleviate these conditions. The study, titled "Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain", was conducted on adult male Wistar rats.

What the Study Found

  • Acute and repeated doses of CBD decreased the firing rate of serotonin neurons, which are involved in mood regulation and pain perception.
  • Seven days of CBD treatment reduced mechanical allodynia (pain response to normally non-painful stimuli) and decreased anxiety-like behavior in rats.
  • The analgesic effects of CBD were linked to the activation of TRPV1 receptors, while its anxiolytic effects were associated with the activation of 5-HT1A receptors.

Diving into the Methodology

The study was conducted over 24 days, with the researchers inducing neuropathic pain in the rats using a procedure called Spared Nerve Injury (SNI). The rats were then treated with CBD for seven days, starting from day 15 after the SNI procedure. The researchers used in vivo single-unit extracellular recordings to measure the activity of serotonin neurons in the rats' brains. They also assessed the rats' mechanical allodynia and anxiety-like behavior using various behavioral tests.

Potential Implications

The findings of this study suggest that CBD could potentially be used as a treatment for neuropathic pain and anxiety. By modulating the activity of serotonin neurons and activating certain receptors, CBD was able to reduce pain and anxiety-like behavior in the rats.

Limitations to Consider

While the results are promising, it's important to note that this study was conducted on rats, not humans. Therefore, further research is needed to determine whether the same effects would be observed in humans. Additionally, the study did not explore the long-term effects of CBD treatment.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, this study provides valuable insights into the potential therapeutic effects of CBD on neuropathic pain and anxiety. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved and to confirm these findings in humans.


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