The election cycle of November 2016 saw many statewide ballot issues pass with overwhelming support. Included in many state elections were laws related to the decriminalization and medical use of marijuana. Recent studies have found the Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, can affect the mood or consciousness of the brain and alter pain sensors in some recipients. Such shifts are conducive to pain management, especially in some cancer patients who respond to the drug. 

The National Institute of Health has been studying the cannabis sativa plant and found some interesting insights into both positive and negative effects of its use. “Cannabinoids can produce very different outcomes, depending on how they bind to the CB1 receptor,” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director, Nora D. Volkow, MD, said. 

Volkow continued, “Understanding how these chemicals bind to the CB1 receptor will help guide the design of new medications and provide insight into the therapeutic promise of the body’s cannabinoid system.”

NIDA has released a study on their findings of how the brain binds the human cannabinoid receptor. While different people react differently with the receptors, there are some great attributes for pain relief for some patients. “This complex structure will allow chemists to design diverse compounds that specifically target portions of the receptor to produce desired effects,” co-author Alexandros Makriyannis, PhD, of Northeastern University said.