Endocannabinoid Levels Elevated in Fibromyalgia, but They’re Not Ideal as Biomarkers, Study Finds

Endocannabinoid Levels Elevated in Fibromyalgia, but They’re Not Ideal as Biomarkers, Study Finds
Endocannabinoid (EC) levels in the blood are elevated in women with fibromyalgia. However, the findings do not support using these factors as disease biomarkers, researchers said. Their study, “The relationship of endocannabinoidome lipid mediators with pain and psychological stress in women with fibromyalgia – a case control study,” appeared in The Journal of Pain. Researchers currently regard the endocannabinoidome, which generally describes the endocannabinoid system, as a potential therapeutic target for chronic pain. This system is composed of lipid (fat)-based neurotransmitters known as ECs, which bind to specific receptors throughout the central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is part of the immune system and affects pain and inflammation. Different ECs have shown analgesic properties via activation of cannabinoid (CB) receptors 1 and 2. The endocannabinoid system also includes N-acylethanolamines (NAEs), which are lipid mediators that do not target CB receptors. Besides their role in pain and inflammation, research suggested that components of the endocannabinoid system could be crucial regulators of emotions and cognition. The research team from Sweden had previously described different levels of NAEs in women with chronic widespread pain, a typical manifestation in fibromyalgia, than in controls. However, the evidence on these mediators is still limited. The scientists now analyzed plasma levels of different ECs — arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), oleoylethanolamide (OEA), stearoylethanolamide (SEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) 
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