Background and Purpose: Chronic neuropathic pain (NEP) is associated with growing therapeutic cannabis use. To promote quality of life without psychotropic effects, cannabinoids other than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabidiol, including cannabidiol and its precursor cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), are being evaluated. Due to its instability, CBDA has been understudied, particularly as an anti-nociceptive agent. Adding a methyl ester group (CBDA-ME) significantly enhances its stability, facilitating analyses of its analgesic effects in vivo. This study examines early treatment efficacy of CBDA-ME in a rat model of peripherally induced NEP and evaluates sex as a biological variable. Experimental Approach: After 14 consecutive days of intraperitoneal CBDA-ME administration at 0.01, 0.1 and 1 μg·kg−1, commencing 1 day after surgically implanting a sciatic nerve-constricting cuff to induce NEP, the anti-nociceptive efficacy of this cannabinoid was assessed in male and female Sprague–Dawley rats relative to vehicle-treated counterparts. In females, 2 and 4 μg·kg−1 daily doses of CBDA-ME were also evaluated. Behavioural tests were performed for hind paw mechanical and thermal withdrawal thresholds once a week for 8 weeks. At endpoint, in vivo electrophysiological recordings were obtained to characterize soma threshold changes in primary sensory neurons. Key Results: In males, CBDA-ME elicited a significant concentration-dependent chronic anti-hyperalgesic effect, also influencing both nociceptive and non-nociceptive mechanoreceptors, which were not observed in females at any of the concentrations tested. Conclusion and Implications: Initiating treatment of a peripheral nerve injury with CBDA-ME at an early stage post-surgery provides anti-nociception in males, warranting further investigation into potential sexual dimorphisms underlying this response.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by funding from the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care. Special thanks to Cheryl Limebeer at the University of Guelph for providing assistance with the reconstitution of CBDA-ME.
© 2020 The British Pharmacological Society