The central hypothesis of Dr. Wilson-Poe’s work is that cannabis and cannabinoids can be leveraged for their pain-relieving and harm-reducing properties, to reduce societal dependence upon opioids. Dr. Wilson-Poe’s early work was focused on the mechanisms of cannabinoid/opioid analgesia, with her first grant from WSU’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program in 2004. This funding opportunity fueled all of her subsequent studies (ranging from synaptic physiology to in-vivo opto- and chemo-genetic modulation of behavior), which have been consistently funded by NIDA. Dr. Wilson-Poe’s long-term research goal is to bridge the gap between preclinical cannabinoid pharmacology and clinical cannabis medicine by using translational approaches. In support of this goal, Adie has several ongoing research tracks:
Role of the CB1 Receptor in Opioid Tolerance During Pain
These studies utilize several rodent models of chronic pain to unveil the mechanisms underlying the enhanced analgesia that is observed when opioids and cannabinoids are co-administered. Importantly, this work uses translational approaches to characterize the abuse liability of opioids after animals are exposed to full- and broad-spectrum cannabis vapor.
Efficacy of Medical Cannabis for Chronic Neck and Back Pain
In collaboration with Dr. Ari Greis of Thomas Jefferson University, Rothman Orthopaedics, and the Lambert Center for the Study of Medical Cannabis, Dr. Wilson-Poe is developing novel cannabis-based strategies to treat chronic pain, reduce opioid consumption, and quantify the efficacy and side effects of medical cannabis in a clinical setting.
Double-Blind Analysis of Adult-Use Cannabis
Leveraging an archival database of anonymous human survey data, Dr. Wilson-Poe is characterizing the psychological effects of cannabis in adult-use cannabis consumers in Oregon. The fidelity of the plant phytochemistry data and human feedback in this dataset enables profound, unbiased insights into the effects of “real-world” cannabis flower (as opposed to that provided by the NIDA drug supply program) in healthy adults.
Validation of Terpenoid Chemotypes in Cannabis Cultivars
An evidence-based taxonomy of cannabis is the first critical step in identifying cultivated varieties of cannabis that are best suited for specific ailments or uses. Currently, cultivars are classified based on their cannabinoid content (at best), but are frequently grouped by impractical genetic lineages and/or other obscure nomenclature. This ongoing work is aimed at thoroughly classifying all varieties of cannabis, from hemp to potent “drug cultivars,” based upon the plants’ production of aromatic terpenoid molecules, which are the primary component of essential oils.
Safety of Vaporizer Cartridge Diluents
The mechanisms of pulmonary injury associated with e-cigarette use, also known as vape-related illness, are unknown. These studies, conducted in collaboration with Portland State University, assess the relative safety and toxic degradative products produced by various additives found in illicit and commercially-available vaporizer cartridges.