Functional MRI investigation of the neural processes underlying pain modulation in human participants
Cannabis has been known to treat ailments for thousands of years, including conditions such as pain, cancer, arthritis, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Despite an increase in research dedicated to molecular and behavioural effects of cannabinoids, there has been no direct evidence to elucidate the effect of cannabis on pain-related areas in the human central nervous system. Using functional MRI we will identify how neural processes involved in pain are altered by cannabis in the brain, brainstem and spinal cord in healthy participants, and also how these processes are altered by fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a prevalent chronic pain disorder. This project will be an essential first step toward future research into cannabis-based treatment of acute and chronic pain for a variety of conditions including FMS.