MAR 12, 2022 7:00 AM PST

The Role of Cannabinoid Receptors

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A recent review of research on cannabinoid receptors and their influence on signaling pathways provides insights into how the endocannabinoid system boost energy, stimulates appetite, reduces pressure, lessens pain, and controls nausea. Additionally, this review identified endocannabinoid mechanisms that mitigate the symptoms of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. 

Cannabinoid compounds like THC and CBD alter central nervous system functions. The endocannabinoid system in the brain regulates mood, memory and stress responses. When THC binds to CB1 receptors, it triggers a release of the transmitter dopamine onto the nucleus accumbens (NAc). This stimulation of neurons produces a psychoactive effect. 

CB 1 receptors are expressed in the central nervous system at a higher rate than CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are also found in the basal ganglia and cerebellum, and they influence an individual’s activity level and motor control. Scientists used to believe CB2 receptors were peripheral players in the endocannabinoid system, but several studies found CB2 receptors throughout the central nervous system and affect neuroprotective activity. Targeting CB1 and CB2 receptors can be an effective strategy in treating neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases. 

The main signaling molecules known as endocannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors and alter physiological activities. The signaling molecules Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) affect cardiovascular and other functions. When AEA binds to CB1 receptors, it causes changes in mood, perception, and motor control. 2-AG activates the CB1 receptor and studies have determined 2-AG can reduce tumor growth, pain, and nausea. 

Previous studies have observed biased signaling differences between CB1 and CB2 receptors. Although these receptors activate multiple pathways, they differ in how they affect certain pathways. This finding has implications for targeting pathways to ensure desired therapeutic effects like anti-inflammatory relief and prevent undesirable ones like grogginess. 

Sources: Cannabis Cannabinoid Research, Nature 

 

About the Author
BA and MA in English, MPS in Human Relations, and Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
You May Also Like
DEC 09, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Considering Cannabinoids as a COVID-19 Treatment
DEC 09, 2021
Considering Cannabinoids as a COVID-19 Treatment
Research suggests that Cannabis sativa-derived cannabinoids – such as cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9tetrahydrocannabi ...
DEC 10, 2021
Neuroscience
Cannabis Use Linked to Poor Sleep Quality
DEC 10, 2021
Cannabis Use Linked to Poor Sleep Quality
Recent cannabis use is linked to either less than 6 hours- short sleep- or more than 9 hours of sleep- long sleep. The s ...
JAN 27, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Hemp-Mediated Synthesis of Gold & Silver Nanoparticles for Bacterial Biofilm Inhibition
JAN 27, 2022
Hemp-Mediated Synthesis of Gold & Silver Nanoparticles for Bacterial Biofilm Inhibition
For many years, antibiotic resistance has been urgently rising as a globally-significant public health concern. More rec ...
FEB 24, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Brain-based Method of Cannabis Detection
FEB 24, 2022
Brain-based Method of Cannabis Detection
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered a noninvasive method to detect THC (tetrahydrocannab ...
MAY 11, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Legal Recreational Cannabis Reduces Prescription Drug Demand
MAY 11, 2022
Legal Recreational Cannabis Reduces Prescription Drug Demand
A research study published in Health Economics found a link between the availability of legal recreational cannabis, and ...
JUL 01, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Firefly Genes Provide Insights into Cannabis Biology
JUL 01, 2022
Firefly Genes Provide Insights into Cannabis Biology
A team of University of Connecticut researchers are using firefly genes to understand molecular mechanisms involved in t ...
Loading Comments...