A recent study published by the National Institute of Health has found the first clear evidence that acupuncture activates cannabinoid receptors, which likely plays a vital role in the procedure’s ability to reduce pain.
While studying mice subjects, researchers “found that repeated EA at Zusanli (ST36) and Kunlun (BL60) acupoints resulted in marked improvements in thermal hyperalgesia. Both western blot assays and FQ-PCR analysis results showed that the levels of CB1 expression in the repeated-EA group were much higher than those in any other group (P = 0.001). The CB1-selective antagonist AM251 inhibited the effects of repeated EA by attenuating the increases in CB1 expression.”
The study concludes; “These results suggested that the strong activation of the CB1 receptor after repeated EA resulted in the concomitant phenomenon of the upregulation of D1 and D2 levels of gene expression.”
Researchers for the study point to “the latest reports in the American journal of Nature Neuroscience”, which found that acupuncture can cause the body to “release some natural painkillers.” This study is the first to confirm that these natural painkillers are related to cannabinoid receptors.
This study indicates that cannabis consumption – which naturally activates the body’s cannabinoid receptors – may have similar pain reducing effects as acupuncture, a procedure which is officially endorsed by the World Health Organization.