Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can Marijuana Potentially Treat Overactive Bladder?

First, a disclaimer. This blog post does not endorse the use of marijuana as it is illegal; however I recently read several studies of interest on this topic.

THC, tretrahydrocannabinol, is the major active ingredient in the marijuana and well known for inducing euphoria and relaxation, as well as sedation and drowsiness. It has been used for treating nerve pain, or neuropathic pain, cancer pain and even convulsions seen with multiple sclerosis.

AJA, Ajulemic acid, is the synthetic equivalent to THC, and is a strong pain reliever an anti-inflammatory but does not have the mind altering effects the THC has. In lab studies, it mimics many of the same properties as the popular anti-inflammatories known as NSAIDs, such a motrin or naproxen. In studies on neuropathic pain and volunteers, AJA did not cause dependency after withdrawal at the end of a one-week treatment period.

So, how would AJA potentially treat overactive bladder? A recent study on rats showed that AJA was able to suppress normal bladder activity and urinary frequency induced by bladder irritants. The researchers believe that AJA blocks the outgoing pain signal from the bladder by one of the receptors it and THC can bind to in the bladder. In the experiment, two different bladder irritants were administered to rats. Bladder pressure and contractions were measured. After injection of AJA, the bladder muscle contraction intervals and bladder pressures were blocked reversing the effect of the irritants.

So what does this mean? AJA is a promising compound that can have potentially broad application in treating the pain and overactivity symptoms that occur in many bladder conditions such as overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, and perhaps even the bladder pain after surgery or urinary tract infections. One wonders if it many also be effective in not only treating the pain or symptoms after they occur but also given before to prevent them as well. Hmm….

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