Article by TG Branfalt Jr, Ganjapreneur
An international group of researchers in China have created an atomic-level image of cannabinoid receptor CB1, which could lead to a deeper understanding of how the cannabinoid system works in the human body, according to an Asian Scientist report. The image “revealed an expansive and complicated binding pocket network consisting of multiple sub-pockets and channels to various regions of the receptor.”
The researchers found that the receptor is bound with AM6538, a stabilizing molecule with a long half-life that blocks the receptor’s action — potentially making it useful for the treatment of addiction disorders as next generation pharmaceuticals could be developed that target the CB1 receptor. CB1 antagonists have also been explored as potential therapies for obesity-related metabolic disorders, liver fibrosis, nicotine addiction and some mental illnesses, the study, published in Cell, said.
“To date, there remains considerable controversy with regards to CB1 ligands and their diverse medical applications,” the authors wrote. “This is likely due in part to the wide availability and illicit nature of the most famous CB1 pharmaceutical, marijuana.”
Additionally, the researchers said the image could help subsequent research as to why so-called synthetic cannabis, such as Spice and K-2, can have “toxic…serious side effects” while natural THC has “a high safety margin.”