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Effects of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol in a mouse model of migraine

Andrea Cippitelli
Florida Atlantic University

Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive ingredient present in the Cannabis sativa, has therapeutic potential over a wide range of disorders that result from an equally wide range of CBD’s pharmacological actions. In particular, CBD has been reported to hold anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, modulates neuronal transmission, and delivers pain relief.

Therefore, CBD may serve as a potential treatment for migraine, a complex condition characterized by the tendency to have headache with sensory disturbances associated with various symptoms including comorbid anxiety and depression. Surprisingly there is limited research on CBD for migraine and there is no scientific evidence to prove that CBD is an effective treatment.

The effects of CBD are examined here using a calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP)-induced headache model that reliably provides measures of cephalic allodynia, spontaneous pain, altered light sensitivity (photophobia) and conditioned place aversion (CPA) in C57BL/6J mice. As migraine has a strong sex bias toward females, the experiments are conducted in mice of both sexes.

We found that cephalic allodynia, as measured by periorbital application of von Frey filaments, induced by peripherally administered CGRP (0.1 mg/kg) was successfully blocked by CBD (30 mg/kg, ip) both in male and female mice. The painful responses manifested as a facial grimace were also attenuated by systemic administration of the same dose of CBD in females. CBD effectively reversed anxiety-like behavior induced by CGRP only in male mice, whereas photophobia and CGRP-induced CPA were unaltered by CBD treatment.

Collectively, these results suggest that CBD may help to relieve migraine-like pain and anxiety associated with headache pain, but may fail in providing protection from other symptoms experienced by migraineurs including photophobia.

Co-authors: Katarzyna M. Targowska-Duda1, Gilles Zribi1, Megan Barnes1, Lawrence Toll1
1Florida Atlantic University

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