Researchers have discovered a new cannabinoid receptor, CB3, one that could open a new door of healing possibilities.
Before we go into more detail, let’s go over some brief history:
After the U.S. government belatedly allowed scientists to move forward in research of the possible medical uses of cannabis, whole dimensions of human biochemistry which formerly existed in the shadows suddenly shifted into the light. In the 1990s, the discovery of the endocannabinoid system came about—a vitally essential component of the central nervous system that plays a role in everything; from cognitive processes and pain sensation to appetite regulation and physical activity.
It was the discovery of the decade. In a phenomenally narrow window, science has gained a deeper comprehension of how the mammalian body manages and regulates itself.
Because the endocannabinoid system grasps various domains of the human experience, it is a gargantuanly productive ground for research.
The biggest focus in the endocannabinoid system is two cannabinoid receptors most commonly referred to as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are where the magic happens. Like all biochemical receptors, CB1 and CB2 are protein molecules that receive chemical signals from outside the cell. Think of them like the area on your television that you point the remote control at. They sit dormant until they receive a signal, then they spring into action.
What is the CB3 Cannabinoid Receptor?
For years, CB1 and CB2 stood by themselves. But now, scientists think they’ve pinpointed a new cannabinoid receptor, one that could change everything we know about the endocannabinoid system.
The molecular receptor in question goes by the name GPR55 but may soon be known as CB3. The receptor site itself was first discovered in 1999 in various parts of the brain—the hippocampus, cerebellum, thalamus, etc. But newer research has discovered that it also hides out in more remote parts of the body, such as the spleen, GI tract and adrenal glands.
If this receptor is truly a cannabinoid receptor, that means the current understanding of the endocannabinoid system is immensely fragmentary. This molecule is distinctly different from CB1 and CB2, which share a lot of similar characteristics. In comparison, GPR55 shares less than 15% of its amino acid identity with either.
The potential here is extremely huge. It could explain why CBD oil has such a diverse range of health benefits, a variety of which are proven through trials but poorly understood from a scientific perspective. If researchers could unlock the mechanism by which medical cannabis operates, it could lead us toward developing new and more effective therapies for all kinds of diseases. Woo!!
But it’s not just that. The new receptor is also found in cancer cells.
The presence of GPR55 in cancer cells might sound scary, but it’s worth getting excited about.
While the exact functions and pharmacology of GPR55 are far from understood, if research discovers what it’s doing in cancer cells, we’ll know more about cancer itself: How it emerges, how it spreads and how to stop it.
And if turns out that we can influence cancer by manipulating a cannabinoid receptor or the body’s endocannabinoid system, we’ll have more weapons in our arsenal of anti-tumor remedies. That’s huge!!!
One of the noteworthy theories circulating about the properties of CB3 is that the body may have the ability to transform one kind of cannabinoid to another. If that’s true, and cancer cells use CB3 for some corrupt purpose, it could be possible to engineer a change-resistant form of cannabinoid that slows the progression of tumors.
Of course, that’s entirely theoretical. However, the possibilities are worth the hype! CB3 could present the next breakthrough in treating human suffering. It’s another level up in hope of reversing diseases previously believed uncurable.