First Atomic-Level Image Of Human Brain's Marijuana Receptor

Posted: Oct 21 2016, 9:04am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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First Atomic-Level Image of Human Brain's Marijuana Receptor
This image shows a drawing of the cannabinoid receptor, called CB1. The receptor is the yellow, ribbon-like structure, and it is shown bound to a stabilizing molecule called AM6538, which is represented by orange sticks. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is shown as yellow sticks. (The image of the receptor is superimposed over the shadow of a marijuana leaf and artistic smoke.) Credit: Yekaterina Kadyshevskaya, The Stevens Laboratory, University of Southern California
  • Group of Researchers creates First Small-Scale Image of Marijuana Receptor

A group of researchers created the first small-scale image of the marijuana receptor in the human brain.

A discovery took place that will upgrade the work being done to understand how marijuana works in the human brain. Scientists collaborated to make the first atomic level 3D image of a THC molecule in the brain.

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol which is the chemical found in marijuana. The research that has gone into the imaging of CB1 which is the receptor for marijuana will support future efforts at understanding the complexity and harmful effects of this soft drug.

Also designer drugs that target inflammation, obesity, fibrosis and several other diseases will be made all the more readily thanks to this worthy research effort. The novel study was published in the journal Cell.

At the beginning of the research, the team tried to manufacture a crystal form. This would embody the high resolution structure of the receptor which was linked with AM6538.

This is basically a stabilizer molecule that hinders the receptor’s functionality. The CB1 receptor is a challenge as far as its crystallization is concerned. Also currently its regulation and signaling are being understood in a more mature manner by the research team.

The moment the scientists discovered the crystalline structure of the receptor, they also uncovered a vast network of pockets and sub-pockets that reached various other key areas of the human brain.

Cannabinoid receptors are a part and parcel of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR). These are responsible for the palliative effects of 40% of pharmaceutical drugs found in the market.

When a substance binds with the GPCR, it activates a G-protein which causes a cellular response. AM6538 is what binds with the receptor in the end. It has a lengthy half-life too.

Thus addiction can be beaten on its own grounds via this novel treatment. As marijuana usage becomes common with the coming times, such treatment options will proliferate.

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