Availability of selective pharmacological tools enabled a great advance of our knowledge of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) role in pathophysiology. In particular CB2 emerged as an interesting target for chronic pain treatment as demonstrated by several studies on inflammatory and neuropathic preclinal pain models. The mechanisms at the basis of CB2-mediated analgesia are still controversial but data are pointing out in two main directions: an effect on inflammatory cells and/or an action on nociceptors and spinal cord relay centers. In this review will be described the second messenger pathways activated by CB2 agonists, the data underpinning the analgesic profile of CB2 selective agonists and the mechanisms invoked to explain their analgesic action. Finally the ongoing clinical trials and the potential issues for the development of a CB2 agonist drug will be examined.
Keywords: Analgesia, agonist, neuropathic pain, signalling pathways
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