Analgesia Without Analgesics

Analgesia Without Analgesics

Author: David Bradley

Researchers have previously demonstrated that placebo analgesics have an effect on the opioid receptors in the brain, but insights into non-opioid placebo effects have remained elusive.

Fabrizio Benedetti and co-workers, University of Turin Medical School and National Institute of Neuroscience, Italy, have found that an antagonist, rimonabant (SR141716), blocks a specific CB1 cannabinoid receptor and so prevents non-opioid placebo analgesics from working. These apparently paradoxical findings in which a drug that blocks the pain-relief receptors in the brain stops the placebo effect from working, show that the endocannabinoid system may underpin some forms of placebo analgesia.


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