Understanding endocannabinoid-induced pain relief and how to enhance its effects.

Disease - Chronic pain

Lead applicant - Professor Ana Valdes

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Special strategic award

Status of grant - Approved

Amount of the original award - £180,144

Start date - 01 April 2022

Reference - TBC

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research aims to understand how of the body’s own cannabis-like system produces pain relief through diet and exercise and how to safely enhance these effects to treat chronic pain.

Why is this research important?

For many people with arthritis, the treatments currently available are not effective at reducing their pain. Drugs that can target the body’s own cannabis-like molecules (endocannabinoids) have shown great potential for decreasing pain but have often come with lots of side effects. Previous research has shown that both the microbes in our gut and exercise can influence the levels endocannabinoids in the blood. This research will help us to understand how lifestyle factors like exercise and diet affect endocannabinoid levels and pain and explore the best way to combine them to create maximum effects. The researchers will also use artificial intelligence to look at data from nutritional studies to identify which molecules and substances in our blood are able to reduce pain and how they interact with each other.

How will these findings benefit patients?

By learning more about how endocannabinoids can reduce pain, researchers may be able to see how this can be targeted to create newer, more effective treatments for arthritis pain.