The purpose of our Biomedical Laboratory is to:
• Identify novel cannabinoids and to obtain a basic characterization of their physiological properties
Identifying new cannabinoids
We define cannabinoids as compounds that bind to known cannabinoid receptors and exert a biological effect. Similarly, we define cannabinoid receptors as proteins that are biologically active upon binding of a known cannabinoid.
To date, we have identified 40 receptors that are activated by known cannabinoids. We will transfect these receptors into HEK293 cells to create stabile cell lines for each receptor. Each potential new cannabinoid will be tested for biological activity and characterized using basic cell biological and electrophysiological methods.
It is not likely that the therapeutic actions of cannabis for any given disease are due to the straightforward effect of one cannabinoid on one receptor. Rather, cannabinoids are likely to act in synergy to exert a complex effect on multiple receptors. We will investigate synergistic effects in cell lines expressing multiple cannabinoid receptors using basic cell biological and electrophysiological methods. For a more test of cannabinoid action in specific diseases, we will test these cannabinoids in primary cells obtained from tissues relevant to that particular disease.
Despite major scientific advances, cancer is still one of the major death causes in the West and it carries a tremendoes socio-economic burden to society. Cannabis extracts, especially extracts rich in THC, have great potential to alleviate the adverse effects of existing cancer therapies and even to cure cancer. However, so far, most evidence of cannabinoid-based cancer therapy is anecdotal, not backed by pre- clinical research and not tested in clinical trials.