There was a time, not too long ago, that I was not doing science. Because I remember that time, I also remember how completely ignorant I was of science.
This is no more apparent than the science of cannabinoids, i.e., the stuff in marijuana. My only knowledge of cannabinoids was that marijuana got you high and cured every disease. Having spent five years researching THC, I learned that there was a much richer, deeper story than that.
You see, the term cannabinoids, itself, is not operationally defined very easily. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive constituent (not ingredient) of marijuana. However, there are many, many more "phytocannabinoids" contained in marijuana, which have no known pharmacological actions. Cannabidiol, another constituent of marijuana, also has no psychoactive properties, and is called non-THC oil (or so I see on the internet). Cannabidiol (CBD) is also found in Sativex along with THC, and has some pharmacological actions distinct from THC.
There are also endogenous cannabinoids, which are molecules synthesized within our body that act as part of an endogenous cannabinoid system. They are referred to as cannabinoids because they bind to cannabinoid receptors, which currently include cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2). These two endogenous cannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).
In one sense, cannabinoids are defined as constituents of marijuana, even though they have no pharmacological efficacy that is known. In another sense, they are those molecules that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. In a third sense, cannabinoids are also classified by their actions in a preclinical behavioral battery known as the "tetrad." The tetrad is composed of four behavioral measures: catalepsy, locomotor inhibition, antinociception and hypothermia. In rodents, THC, other synthetic cannabinoids and endogenous cannabinoids (2-AG more so than AEA) produce these four behaviors.
When I was testing the effects of THC, I carried out tetrad studies. I can tell you that the tetrad is so repeatable that it was nice to have such a positive control. In one sense, it should be a law that THC produces the tetrad in rats or mice. Therefore, when someone refers to THC as a cannabinoid, ask them what a cannabinoid is, and you may be surprised by the answer. For now, this will be my first post on this subject. I apologize for the brevity, but I would like to get input on what people desire to know about THC/cannabinoids.
My next post will focus on the endogenous cannabinoid system and the pharmacological profile of THC, spice compounds and the endogenous cannabinoids.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Science Left Behind: The Anti-Vaccine Update Update
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
- Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment
- Ashes And Vegetables: The Diet Of Roman Gladiators Was Rather Poor
- Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones
- Dopamine Receptor Agonist Drugs Linked To Gambling And Hypersexuality
- "Have you seen posts made by some people who have other reasons for being homophobic than religion..."
- "Great to see the other side of the story come out. There is usually so much fuss about some molecule..."
- "As someone who is very interested in longevity and pushing healthy eating with less sugars, this..."
- "While people extoll the fact that 2014 was a hot year it is not anywhere near where they said it..."
- "As a Cooley Kid of the early 70's, and involved in SEQ and the various projects, your article is..."
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- Egg freezing: a smart career move?
- Despite resistance, China will dominate future of GMOs
- Should Science and Nature run advertorial by wacky Dr. Bronner’s that misleads on GMOs?
- Jack the Ripper’s identity remains a mystery after error in DNA analysis revealed
- Seed patent primer: Is the use of GMOs preventing farmers from reusing their seeds?
- Studies must be carried out to determine whether exercise slows the onset of type 1 diabetes in children and adults
- Clot dissolver tPA's tardy twin could aid in stroke recovery
- NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test
- UMD researchers formulate cyber protection for supply chains
- NASA sees Himalayan snow from Cyclone Hudhud's remnants