The THC Molecule

The THC Molecule

The pharmacological actions of THC result from its binding to the cannabinoid receptor CB1, located in the brain. The presence of these specialized receptors in the brain implied to researchers that endogenous cannabinoids are manufactured by the body, so the search began for a substance normally manufactured in the brain that binds to these receptors, the so-called natural ligand or agonist, leading to the eventual discovery of anandamide, 2-arachidonyl glyceride (2-AG), and other related compounds. This story resembles the discovery of the endogenous opiates (endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphin), after the realization that morphine and other opiates bind to specific receptors in the brain.

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