Medical Research News

New Research Program Launches to Investigate Ensemble Effect

Written by Lydia Kariuki

EMMAC Life Sciences Group and Imperial College of London have partnered to reexamine the entourage or ensemble effect as a mechanism in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

The research will look into the efficacy of a range of EMMAC combination cannabis products in managing neuropathic pain. The aim of the study is to investigate the ensemble effect as a mechanism through which cannabinoids can produce analgesia.

The research will be carried out with an in vitro mouse model, and the results obtained will lay a framework for future clinical trials in this area. Such studies help shape the future of cannabinoid-based therapies in disease-specific models. The results will also add to the pool of available knowledge on cannabis therapeutics and will be published and cited in EMMAC information documents for future reference.

Cannabis Entourage Effect

The psychopharmacologist Dr. Ethan Russo helped popularize the term “entourage effect” after it was coined in Raphael Mechoulam’s lab circa 1998. [1] Dr. Russo uses the term to describe the greater therapeutic response experienced by users when they consume a range of cannabinoids and terpenes as opposed to a single molecule such as cannabidiol (CBD) isolate. [1] We can summarize this in one thought: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Cannabis is made of numerous bioactive compounds that include cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. How different bioactive compounds in cannabis work together to target specific symptoms, including pain, is a subject of ongoing interest. [2]

Highlights of the Study

  • EMMAC is to fund a post-doctoral research fellow for a period of one year (period is extendable)
  • Study to investigate ensemble effect as a mechanism for treatment of neuropathic pain
  • Results from the study may pave way for clinical trials in the same area
  • The results will provide intellectual property for EMMAC and potentially valuable data relating to the use of cannabinoids in treating pain, nausea, and vomiting

EMMAC plans to continue to partner with Imperial College on additional research programs in medicinal cannabis in the future.

Cannabis use in the management of neuropathic pain has been investigated before. In the same breath, the ensemble effect in cannabis therapy has been studied in the past. However, no study has been conducted to investigate the ensemble effect as it relates directly to the management of neuropathic pain.

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  1. Russo EB. “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid‐Terpenoid Entourage Effects.” Bri J Pharmacol, vol.163, no.7, 2011, pp.1344-1364. Times Cited = 566; Journal Impact Factor = 6.81
  2. Baron EP. “Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science.” Journal of Head and Face Pain, vol.58, no.7, 2018, pp.1139-1186. Times Cited = 19; Journal Impact Factor = 3.749

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Lydia Kariuki

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