GPR55: A third cannabinoid receptor?
The ability of the GPR55 receptor, now considered the third cannabinoid receptor identified in the human endocannabinoid system, was illustrated in a 2018 scientific study. This receptor was found to play a key role in the treatment of Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy.
According to the abstract published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a group of researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle saw potential to“extend the spectrum of CBD therapy” to autism-like activities. It would thus be feasible to provide initial mechanistic information on the therapeutic actions of CBD.
It has to be said that cannabinoid receptors are complex protein molecules, which interact with the active compounds of cannabis in the human body, in what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
Scientists have been talking about the CB1 and CB2 receptors since the 1990s. However, research on the GPR55 receptor and the role it appears to play in the endocannabinoid system as another special cannabinoid receptor is in its early stages.
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The origins of the third cannabinoid receptor GPR55
The GPR55 receptor was first identified as a “novel cannabinoid receptor” in 2007. This was in a study conducted and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). It was previously considered an “orphan receptor”, meaning that its exact function had not been determined.
In the years since, evidence has accumulated that the GPR55 receptor may be responsible for many of the documented benefits of cannabis use.
For example, the GPR55 receptor was found to play an important role in the control of osteoclast activity. That is, in bone formation and healing, which was revealed in a 2009 study published in PNAS. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), also published a report in 2016 indicating that it found a similar role in inflammation management.
Not only that, a 2015 research in Frontiers in Pharmacology, found that two orphan receptors, as well as the GPR55 receptor, may be promising therapeutic targets. This is because they fulfill various physiological functions, which ranges from providing relief to gastrointestinal disorders, to bone disorders.
What does science say about the cannabinoid receptor GPR55?
It is now known that the GPR55 receptor is present in the brain and gastrointestinal tract. It is so named because it is number 55 in a sequence of G protein-coupled receptors, which also includes CB1 and CB2 receptors. The G stands for guanine, which is a nucleotide base, and is therefore considered to be one of the “building blocks” of DNA.
Because of the way these cannabinoid receptors interact with cells, guanine is associated with all of them.
According to Robert Sindelar, who is chief scientific officer and director of product development for BAS Research, a licensed producer of cannabis products based in Berkeley, California, the cannabinoid receptor receives the chemical and then sends signals to cells such as neurons.
According to Sindelar, for many years, the endocannabinoid pathway has been something of a locked box, largely because of restrictions on federal studies. So, scientists are actually beginning to figure out how these cannabinoid receptors do what they do.
So far, CBD is known to have a positive effect on people suffering from seizures. However, so far it is not known for sure what causes this to happen. Scientists are catching up with what conventional experience and anecdotal data have allowed them to learn about the GPR55 receptor.
Its relationship to Dravet syndrome
Sindelar refers to Dravet syndrome, in the sense that it is a genetic condition that was previously considered incurable. However, many patients have found that taking CBD every day is their only source of relief.
Researchers have discovered the mechanism or mode of action by which CBD sends a message to a part of the brain that informs a child with Dravet syndrome whether or not to have a seizure.
As there is a growing body of evidence surrounding the GPR55 receptor, including a 2017 study that uncovered the receptors role in the treatment of Dravet syndrome, researchers are under more pressure to continue investigating the GPR55 receptor. The above as a potential target for epilepsy treatment, especially in terms of how it interacts with CBD.
And according to Sindelar, such investigations would have other implications. That is, the research is revealing the empirical mystery surrounding what people observe in reality or anecdotally.
This may provide the proof needed to deprogram these chemicals. In many ways, all of this would eventually lead to a change in the way governments classify cannabinoids. Such a change would allow for further study of these issues. Even research on cannabinoids would be eligible for federal funding.
GPR55 could be the key to CBD efficacy
CBD has grown in popularity and acceptance in recent years as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. In addition, it is known to have a wide variety of medicinal applications.
Its antitumor, anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory properties have been investigated with promising results. Because CBD has not shown affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, it is believed to work through other pathways. Everything suggests that the cannabinoid is attracted to the vanilloid receptors and the 5-HT1A receptor.
Other cannabinoids have also been shown to bind to the GPR55 receptor, but in these cases CBD inhibits its function. This may explain some of its medicinal benefits.
In addition, GPR55 is believed to play an important role in cancer during early in vitro research. The invasive potential of metastatic cells as well as the development of bone metastases in various tumor types are linked by GPR55 signaling.
GPR55 signaling has also been linked to cancer progression, particularly in lymphoproliferative diseases.
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