The action of many known cannabinoids can be attributed to their interaction with cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoid receptors are present in mammalian systems and several classes of G-Protein coupled receptors have been identified.
The receptors that are present mainly in the central nervous system are known as CB1 receptors, whereas a different type of receptor, which are found substantially in the immune system, are known as the CB2 receptors.
Cannabinoids are generally known to be cannabinoid receptor agonists.
When a cannabinoid receptor agonist binds to a cannabinoid receptor a response is triggered.
This response is known as a signalling pathway. Compounds which are known to bind to the CB1 cannabinoid receptor include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), R-(+)-WIN55212 and anandamide.
These compounds are as such described as CB1 agonists as when they bind to the CB1 receptor a specific response is produced.
Agonism at a receptor will often lead to an active response by the cell.
Many diseases or conditions can be alleviated by the administration of cannabinoid receptor agonists.
Such diseases and conditions include but are not limited to the following:
pain (including but not limited to acute pain; chronic pain; neuropathic pain and cancer pain), neurodegenerative disease (including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Huntington’s disease; multiple sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; prion disease; Lewy body dementia; progressive supranuclear palsy; vascular dementia; normal pressure hydrocephalus; traumatic spinal cord injury; HIV dementia; alcohol induced neurotoxicity; Down’s syndrome; epilepsy or any other related neurological or psychiatric neurodegenerative disease), ischemic disease (including but not limited to stroke; cardiac ischemia; coronary artery disease; thromboembolism; myocardial infarction or any other ischemic related disease), brain injury or damage (including but not limited to traumatic brain injury is taken from the group: diffuse axonal injury; concussion; contusion; whiplash or any other traumatic head or brain injury), acquired brain injury (including but not limited to stroke; anoxic brain injury; hypoxic brain injury or any other acquired brain injury), age related inflammatory or autoimmune disease, cachexia (including related conditions such as AIDS wasting disease, weight loss associated with cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or infectious diseases such as tuberculosis), nausea and vomiting, glaucoma, movement disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergy, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, renal ischemia and nephritis.
The diseases and conditions listed above may all benefit from agonism of either the CB1 and/or the CB2 cannabinoid receptor.