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Nonopioid placebo analgesia is mediated by CB1 cannabinoid receptors

Nature Medicine volume 17, pages 12281230 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Placebo analgesia is mediated by both opioid and nonopioid mechanisms, but so far nothing is known about the nonopioid component. Here we show that the specific CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist 5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichloro-phenyl)-4-methyl-N-(piperidin-1-yl)-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (rimonabant or SR141716) blocks nonopioid placebo analgesic responses but has no effect on opioid placebo responses. These findings suggest that the endocannabinoid system has a pivotal role in placebo analgesia in some circumstances when the opioid system is not involved.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by grants from Istituto San Paolo di Torino and Regione Piemonte (Turin, Italy) and from the Volkswagen Foundation (Hannover, Germany).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin Medical School and National Institute of Neuroscience (INN), Turin, Italy.

    • Fabrizio Benedetti
  2. Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

    • Martina Amanzio
    •  & Rosalba Rosato
  3. Unit of Cancer Epidemiology, San Giovanni Battista Hospital, Preventive Oncology Center (CPO)-Piemonte, Turin, Italy.

    • Rosalba Rosato
  4. Center for Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Aoste, Italy.

    • Catherine Blanchard

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Contributions

F.B. planned and conducted the experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. M.A. and R.R. analyzed the data and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. C.B. conducted the experiments and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fabrizio Benedetti.

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    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary Tables 1–4 and Supplementary Methods

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.2435

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