NIH funding opportunity – Developing the Therapeutic Potential of the Endocannabinoid System for Pain Treatment (R01)

May 4, 2015 by School of Medicine Webmaster

This NIH Pain Consortium-endorsed FOA will support projects examining the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system across a variety of pain conditions.  Research supported under this FOA is wide-ranging.  In general, the goal is to understand the role of cannabinoids in the management of chronic pain, in part, to help mitigate the high rate of use and abuse of opioids.

Applicants responding to this FOA should consider the following points:  1) If plant derived cannabis material is proposed, it should be well-justified, with a statement on where the material or compounds will be obtained, and the status of a schedule 1 license should be noted.  2) Explicit sex/gender analyses of effects are highly encouraged. 3) Role of cannabinoids in the modulation of HIV pain is also encouraged.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Understand the role of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in the transition of acute pain to chronic pain;
  • Understand the interactive role of cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and opioid system in pain signaling;
  • Study the spatial and temporal regulation of cannabinoid receptor expression at various stages of pain processes
  • Understand the role of endocannabinoid ligands and ligand-metabolizing enzymes in pain conditions.
  • Determine if the endocannabinoid system genes are regulated differently under pain conditions (role of epigenetics, gene expression, cis-/trans-effects, etc)
  • Determine the potential for biased agonists, hybrid dual ligands, or allosteric modulators that include cannabinoid receptor targets with other targets (e.g. opioid receptors, TRP channels, etc) as possible mechanisms for analgesia
  • Study the potential therapeutic efficacy of non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBD, Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), or others.
  • Parse the effects of cannabis vs. Δ9-THC vs CBD and their role in modulating the endocannabinoid system in various pain states
  • Understand interaction between cannabinoids, endocannabinoid system, inflammation, and pain
  • Understand the role of cannabinoids in co-morbid pain conditions (e.g. diabetes, depression, HIV, cancer, etc)
  • Use of novel approaches such as social media or hospital/clinical-based observational studies on the use of medical marijuana by patients with pain indications.

In addition to the topics listed above, additional specific areas of interest for some of the participating ICs are outlined below.  Applicants are encouraged to contact the participating IC’s Scientific/Research contact to discuss the submission and gauge the interest of the participating institute.

NIDA: Examine the role of various combinations and potencies of the two main cannabinoids (Δ9-THC and cannabidiol; CBD) and their effects on modulating the endocannabinoid system for pain perception and analgesia; effects of long-term endocannabinoid system therapies on addiction liability.

NCI: The role of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of metastatic bone pain, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, and aromatase inhibitor arthralgias.

NCCIH: The role of naturally occurring phytocannabinoids and their derivatives either alone or in conjunction with other complementary approaches (e.g. other natural products, mind-body programs) as well as their effects on modulating the biological and neural systems associated with pain perception and analgesia in relevant model organisms or human subjects.

NIA:  Research on the mechanisms by which endocannabinoids influence the pain processing in older adults with pain conditions or relevant aging animal models; the therapeutic effects, pharmacodynamics, or side effects of endocannabinoids in the aged; the interaction of endocannabinoids with other commonly used medications in older adults; and research comparing the effectiveness of endocannabinoids with that of other pain treatments for older adults.

NICHD:  Characterization of the cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system as potential targets

for treatment of dysmenorrhea, vulvodynia, and chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis and other gynecologic disorders.  Studies into the role of these systems in the management of  spasticity, neuropathic pain, bone pain, musculoskeletal pain and pain secondary to other    disabling conditions. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system and their therapeutic and adverse effects in pregnancy and its outcomes.

NIAAA: Alcohol abuse/dependence causes increased pain sensitivity and neuropathic pain. The role of endocannabinoids in mediating the actions of alcohol in inducing and regulating pain responses will be the primary interest.

NINDS: Interest is exclusively focused on the effect of the endogenous ligands for the cannabinoid receptors in the neural mechanisms of pain and the transition from acute to chronic pain.

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Deadline:  Standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities