Evaluating the Antinociceptive Efficacy of Cannabidiol Alone or in Combination with Morphine Using the Formalin Test in Male and Female Mice

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10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Phytocannabinoids have emerged as a potential alternative treatment option for individuals experiencing persistent pain. However, evidence-based research regarding their clinical utility in both males and females remains incomplete. In addition, it is unknown whether combining readily available cannabinoids with opioids has a synergistic or subadditive effect on pain modulation. To begin to fill this knowledge gap, we investigated the antinociceptive effects of the phytocannabinoid, CBD, either alone or in combination with opioids in male and female C57BL/6J mice. Results: Using the formalin test, our results show that CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) treatment evoked antinociception in phase I, but not in phase II, of the formalin test in male mice. However, in female mice, CBD showed no significant antinociceptive effect. In addition, a direct sex comparison showed that CBD evoked a significant increase in nociceptive behaviors in female versus male mice during phase I of the formalin test. Furthermore, we show that CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) in combination with low-dose morphine (1 mg/kg, i.p.) was ineffective at eliciting a synergistic antinociceptive response in both male and female mice. Lastly, consistent with previous literature, we showed that females treated with a relatively higher dose of morphine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) displayed a significant increase in the variability of nociceptive behaviors compared to morphine-treated male mice. Conclusion: Overall, our results suggest that CBD treatment may have beneficial antinociceptive effects during the acute phase of persistent pain, but these effects are more beneficial to males than females. We provide further pre-clinical support that treatments geared toward reducing nociceptive behaviors differentially affect males and females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-657
Number of pages10
JournalCannabis and Cannabinoid Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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