Possible Role Of Endocannabinoids In Reducing Post-Surgical Chronic Pain?

The article of discussion this week focused on the ability of endocannabinoids to aid in the protection of the brains’ neurons. Much of the evidence that was presented confirmed this neuroprotective role and even highlighted the endocannabinoid’s ability to promote the repair of damaged neurons and synthesize new neurons. Our class briefly discussed the implications of endocannabinoids as cognitive enhancers. In the future, could these be a part of our daily vitamin regimen? Could promoting healthy practices of brain protection and improvement be as simple as an endocannabinoid supplement?

Integrating this substance into our daily vitamins may be a bit extreme. However, there might be something to say about the endocannabinoid’s ability to aid in neuron repair after a surgical procedure. I came across an article during my research that talked about the levels of endocannabinoids aiding in the inflammation levels and recovery of individuals who had undergone a surgical procedure. http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0010891 Participants in this research had undergone various surgical procedures, and researchers found that increases in endocannabinoid signaling lead to a limitation of pro-inflammation signaling. They also concluded that increased levels of endocannabinoid signaling also reduced the patients’ chances of experiencing long lasting chronic pain following surgery.

If further research into this area was conducted, could this lead to a simple solution for the chronic pain that often plagues patients after surgeries? Not only could it decrease the likelihood of chronic pain, but if endocannabinoids reduce inflammation signaling, then perhaps an endocannabinoid dose after surgery could help to reduce the length of time needed for recovery and even aid in the success rates of recovery.  Careful considerations would have to be made however, because too much of these endocannabinoids has been shown to have negative effects on neurons. Of course, there would need to be much more research conducted to see if these effects are possible, but nonetheless, the seed of idea has been planted.