Cannabinoid-2 Agonism with AM2301 Mitigates Morphine-Induced Respiratory Depression.

TitleCannabinoid-2 Agonism with AM2301 Mitigates Morphine-Induced Respiratory Depression.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWiese BM, Liktor-Busa E, Levine A, Couture SA, Nikas SP, Ji L, Liu Y, Mackie K, Makriyannis A, Largent-Milnes TM, Vanderah TW
JournalCannabis Cannabinoid Res
Date Published2020 Nov 13

An escalating number of fatalities resulting from accidental opioid overdoses typically attributed to respiratory depression continue to define the opioid epidemic. Opioid respiratory depression results from a decrease in reflexive inspiration within the preBötzinger complex in the brainstem. Cannabinoid receptor agonism is reported to enhance opioid analgesia, yet whether cannabinoids enhance or inhibit opioid-induced respiratory depression is unknown. Studies herein sought to define the roles of cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1R) and cannabinoid-2 receptor (CB2R) on respiratory depression using selective agonists alone and in combination with morphine in male mice. Using whole body plethysmography, the nonselective CB1R and CB2R agonist (Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol) and the CB1R synthetic cannabinoid, AM356, induced respiratory depression, whereas the well-published selective CB2 agonist, JWH 133, and the novel CB2 agonist (AM2301) did not. Moreover, a selective CB2R agonist (AM2301) significantly attenuated morphine sulfate-induced respiratory depression. Notably, findings suggest that attenuation of opioid-induced respiratory depression relies on CB2R activation, supporting selective CB2R agonism as an opioid adjunct therapy.

Alternate JournalCannabis Cannabinoid Res
PubMed ID33998869
Faculty Member Reference: 
Erika Liktor-Busa, PhD, PharmD
Tally Largent-Milnes, PhD
Todd Vanderah, PhD