Some cancers love bone. They thrive in its nutrient-rich environment while gnawing away at the very substrate that sustains them, all the while releasing inflammatory substances that cause pain—pain so severe that opioids often are prescribed to allay the agony.
But opioids recently have been denounced for their addictive nature. This summer, the nation’s opioid crisis was declared a national emergency.
Long before that, Todd Vanderah of the University of Arizona had been seeking ways to create alternative analgesics. He and his colleagues are now seeing promise in a specific class of chemical compounds that may help people find pain relief brought about by metastatic breast cancer.
Those compounds, says Vanderah, head of the Department of Pharmacology in the College of Medicine – Tucson, are unique, non-psychotropic cannabinoids. In other words, they do not bring about the euphoria typically associated with cannabinoids. What’s…