Article by Mark Prigg, Daily Mail
It is an incredible image of the moment that a cannabis users feels the drug’s ‘high’.
When someone smokes cannabis, molecules including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient – bind to a receptor in their brain called human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1).
Now, researchers have created the most accurate model of that moment ever seen and claim it could clear the way for the development of safe cannabis-based medicines.
Their high-resolution structure of the human cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and its binding site for the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) should lead to a better understanding of how marijuana affects the brain, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center say.
The research also could aid discovery of new treatments for conditions that target the receptor, said Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum, Assistant Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern.
‘What is most exciting from a therapeutic standpoint is that the same receptor pocket that binds THC also binds cannabinoid inhibitors that have been studied as possible treatments for conditions such as obesity,’ said Dr. Rosenbaum, senior author of the study published online today by Nature.