Cannabinoid Receptor-1 (CB-1) & THC

Photo Credit: High Times

Photo Credit: High Times

We know that the cannabinoids in cannabis are able to produce their therapeutic relief by interacting directly or indirectly with the cannabinoid receptors found within the endocannabinoid system, but how exactly does this work? Well, for the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical can bind directly the cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB-1). The CB-1 receptor is part of a class of proteins called the g-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which are responsible for managing cellular signal transduction to communicate between cells. The proteins are so important, in fact, that they account for 60% of drug targets. The CB-1 receptor is involved in combating varying diseases and abnormalities, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and obesity.

Researchers have recently discovered that their are two types of agonists that bind to and activate the CB-1 receptors, one being very similar in structure to THC. With this information, we will not only be able to better understand how the receptor moves, but also why THC and other cannabinoids are able to produce such positive effects within the body.

This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Scientists Zero In On Marijuana Receptor To Figure Out How it Functions

Photo Credit: High Times

Photo Credit: High Times

Scientists have long known about the CB1 receptor, the endocannabinoid system, and that THC and other phytocannabinoids have the ability to bind with these receptors. While previously researchers thought CB1 receptors would bind with THC in a "lock and key" sort of scenario, they are now understanding that CB1 receptors are mobile and malleable, giving them the ability to conform to a wide range of molecules. CB1 receptors are flexible spirals composed of amino acids that eave through a cell's membrane. These spirals coalesce around the receptor's binding site upon entry of a cannabinoid. This new research was further substantiated when researchers led by Alexandros Makriyannis, director of Northeastern University's Center for Drug Discovery, were able to crystallize a CB1 receptor as it was in the process of binding with a THC-like molecule, a breakthrough that will help researchers to better understand the binding process so that they can develop synthetic chemicals that reproduce the desirable medicinal effects found in cannabis. 

This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Terpene Profile: What Is Myrcene?

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

The medical benefits of marijuana can be attributed to its cannabinoids and terpenes. While the cannabinoids are well researched, the terpenes are a little less known. Researchers have found at least 100 terpenes can be found in cannabis, and one of the more abundant of these compounds is Myrcene. Myrcene is a small monoterpene that can be found in the essential oils of a variety of plants, including cannabis. Myrcene is thought to provide a "couch-lock" effect, it lowers resistance across the blood-to-brain brain barrier, and it acts to increase the saturation levels of CB1 receptors, which react to THC. Myrcene has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, sedative, and pain relieve properties. It may be able to mitigate the effects of diabetes and prevent peptic ulcer disease, as well as treat pain, muscle tension, and insomnia.

This information is brought to you by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Cannabinoid Receptor-1

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

Scientists recently identified the structure of the cannabinoid-1 receptor, which is the receptor of the endocannabinoid system responsible for binding with THC. The CB1 receptor is classified as a GPCR protein, which is the most common class of receptor proteins in our body and of which 40% of drugs are developed to target. Technological advancements in X-Ray crystallography have allowed scientists to develop CB1 crystals. With this new information, scientists will be able to understand how THC binding affects the protein differently from other binding partners, and how the receptor functions at an atomic scale so that they can better understand its role in the treatment of diseases like epilepsy and obesity.

This information has been provided by High Times Magazine and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Researchers Make Breakthrough In Understanding How Marijuana Medicates

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

The fact that THC binds to and activates the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system is nothing new, but now scientists better understand this process. Research from the iHuman Institute of Shanghai Tech University that was published in the journal Cell has led scientists to discover that the receptor is a three dimensional crystal structure. Knowing the structure of the receptor allows scientists to discover insight into how different molecules can bind to it, which could be crucial in understanding how cannabinoids can target receptors to provide symptom relief. Co-author of the study, Raymond Stevens, says, "What is important is to understand how different molecules bind to the receptor, how they control the receptor function, and how this can affect different people."

This discovery could provide important information when comparing the different ways synthetic and natural cannabinoids interact with the receptors, as natural cannabinoids provide symptom relief, and synthetic cannabinoids can have adverse and even deadly side effects.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Cannabis Treats Epilepsy

Photo Credit: Wikimedia (http://bit.ly/1PK481Q

Photo Credit: Wikimedia (http://bit.ly/1PK481Q

Epilepsy is characterized by disturbed nerve cell activity in the brain that results in seizures, and research shows cannabis, and specifically its cannabinoid CBD, can act as an anticonvulsant to offer seizure relief. One study from the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Neurology found that cannabis can combine with and activate the CB1 receptors in our brain in order to reduce seizure activity. A 2013 study published in Epilepsy & Behavior found CBD-enriched cannabis helped reduce seizures in 84% of the child with epilepsy who participated in the study.

Most studies revolve around CBD's interaction with epilepsy, but another cannabinoid, THC, can work in tangent with antiepileptic drugs to enhance their benefits and reduce their side effects. There are many patients who suffer from intractable forms of epilepsy that are unresponsive to traditional drugs. For these patients, a study found in The Lancet Neurology found CBD reduces seizures at a rate that compares to existing medications. Lastly, a study published in Epilepsy Behavior found oral cannabis extracts benefited seizure control for half of the children who participated, and it also boosted their alertness and improved overall behavior. 

This information has been brought to you by Health MJ and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Cannabis Treats Huntington’s Disease

Photo Credit:  Lindsay Hanford, Geoff B Hall , Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hanford, Geoff B Hall, Wikipedia

Huntington's disease damages nerve cells in the brain and causes patients to suffer physically and mentally, resulting in symptoms like involuntary movements, slurred speech, amnesia, and personality changes. Cannabis may be to relieve symptoms associated with the disease and even slow its progression. In the area of the brain most affected by Huntington's, the striatum, patients lack sufficient levels of CB1 receptors, When activated by cannabinoids, these receptors help preserve nerve cells. One study in Brain: A Journal of Neruology found THC activated these receptors in order to decrease symptom severity and the halt the progression of the disease. 

Another study published in Movement Disorders found medications that mimic THC like nabilone improved chorea, cognition, and behavior in patients. Another cannabinoid, CBD, could provide neuroprotective benefits for Huntington's disease patients, and one study in the Journal of Neuroscience Research found a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC decreased inflammation and shielded striatal neurons from damage. A study from the Journal of Neuroscience found that activating CB2 receptors actually extended life span and suppressed motor deficits in patients. Lastly, a study found in the Journal of British Pharmacology, found that by activating CB receptors, cannabinoids controlled the brain's antioxidant defenses and limited the toxicity of microglial cells. 

This information has been provided by Health MJ and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Understanding Cannabinoid Receptors: Why Cannabis Affects Humans

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Many medical marijuana patients are familiar with basic cannabinoids and terpenes that are responsible for providing the medical efficacy found in cannabis, but not everyone understands how these molecules function to produce therapeutic relief. Cannabinoids and terpenes bind with and activate special receptors found in the body's endocannabinoid system, a mechanism that helps to modulate various bodily functions like appetite, sleep, anxiety level, and cognition, and it is linked closely with the nervous system and immune system. Humans produce their own endocannabinoids in the brain using the endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis merely supplement the body's natural endocannabinoids when cannabis is consumed. When the endocannabinoid system lacks sufficient endocannabinoids, it causes a condition called endocannabinoid deficiency, which many medical professionals and researchers theorize can lead to a variety of diseases related to the immune system and nervous system and cause inflammation, pain, and nausea.

Many researchers attribute the level of relief a patient may experience to the level of binding affinity between these molecules and their CB1 or CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the brain, central nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and related organs, giving them the ability to relieve pain, inflammation, nausea, and depression when they bind with the cannabinoid THC. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and related organs, gastrointestinal system, and even the brain in smaller quantities than CB1 receptors. CB2 receptors commonly bind with CBD and other cannabinoids, and they are responsible for reducing inflammation and treating a variety of different conditions, including but not limited to Crohn's, Lupus, IBD, some cancers, epilepsy, and other seizure disorders. The experience a patient has after consuming cannabis also varies in part due to their own unique expression of receptors, making them more or less sensitive to certain cannabinoids.

This information has been provided by Whaxy and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.