Thursday, April 14, 2011

The science of chocolate.

Not really though. I had been recommended a video on the science of chocolate and I though oo, that'll be fun, I'll write about that. I watched it. It was vaguely informative and generally annoying. I think it was the narrator.

So instead, you get a link to something much more interesting. Via ArsTechnica there is a report regarding a study which is suggesting that THC doesn't just act on cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors are involved in the response to pain, which is one of the reasons that cannabis is good as a painkiller. They all help with the psychoactive effects.  There's another receptor that is triggered by doses of glycine and if you have mice that don't have the cannabinoid receptors there is still a pain response mediated, they think, through a glycine receptor on neurons. If you up the THC levels, you also get more of the glycine receptors being activated. They then went and had a look at the structure of the glycine receptor and the structure of THC, finding a bit on the surface of the glycine receptor that THC can interact with. So they modified a bunch og THC molecules to see what would happen. One of them still caused the glycine response, but stopped it working with the cannabinoid receptor. So potentially (there's still a lot of work to be done, all this was done in mice) we have a modified THC molecule which still acts as a painkiller but doesn't get you high. Not so good for potheads, possibly brilliant for people in pain.

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