The endocannobinoid system is a complex system for the transmission and control of signals in the body. Endocannabinoid disorders are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders and immune system vulnerability. The ECS receptors are cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). They are predominantly present in different parts of the body – CB1 mainly in the brain and nervous system, and CB2 in the cells of the immune system. There, they wait for contact with the corresponding molecules, which either trigger the signal cascade (agonists) or block them (antagonists). The substances present in the body that assume these roles are anandamide and 2-AG. Even cannabinoids applied externally, such as the cannabis plant (called phytocannabinoids), can affect and influence this system. Is this also true of the new cannabinoids now being discovered?
Cannabinoids in focus of research
More than one hundred different phytocannabinoids have been detected in the cannabis plant. The most commonly used and best studied are THC and CBD. Of the many phytocannabinoids, it is not yet known what function they perform and what effects they have on humans.
But cannabinoids have become a hotbed of research in recent years. The reason why these substances are so interesting to medicine is that the endocannabinoid system is involved in many very central regulatory processes (e.g., sleep, pain, mood, appetite, and others). Whether an ECS system that is superior or inferior to other regulatory mechanisms is not yet known in detail, but participation in many key processes suggests that accurate ECS control is of great importance to humans. Therefore, other substances that bind to cannabinoid receptors and have beneficial effects in the disease are sought.
Cannabinoids and Chinese medicine
Chinese medicine has used some herbs or extracts for thousands of years in traditional medicine. Among them are five plants from the daisy family, dandelion from the olive family, plants of redness, rose and sacrum plants, and five species of fungi from the Reishi family of medicinal mushrooms, which have now been looked at more closely by Chinese scientists.
In Chinese medicine, plants and fungi are used for the following symptoms:
|Name of the plant||plant family||scope|
|Carthamus tinctorius L.||Daisy Family||Encouragement of blood circulation and menstruation, menstrual cramps, pain, treatment of deaf limbs|
|Epilepsy, rheumatic pain, muscle injuries|
|Arabica coffee||Rötegewächse||Antioxidant, treatment of the liver, stimulating effect on the central nervous system|
|Prinsepia utilis||the Rose family||Anti-inflammatory effect|
|Lepidium meyenii||cruciferous||Raise energy levels, improve hormonal imbalance|
|The name of the mushroom||fungal genus||applications|
|Ganoderma hainanense||Ganoderma /|
|Treatment of chronic diseases, improvement of longevity, maintenance of vitality, neuroprotective effects|
|Ganoderma kapusa||Ganoderma /|
|Ganoderma cochlear||Ganoderma /|
|Ganoderma resinaceum||Ganoderma /|
|Ganoderma applanatum||Ganoderma /|
What ingredients are responsible for the corresponding effect, which has not yet been clearly elucidated. Chinese scientists have therefore been researching plants and fungi to find out if they contain new substances that can interact with CB receptors. They identified a total of seven substances in three of the ten candidates to which this feature applied.
Four of them were found in Reishi mushrooms. Of these four, three acted as antagonists. This means that these substances can bind to the receptor but block the drainage of the later reaction cascade. The substances that trigger the reaction cascade by binding to the receptor are called agonists. Agonists and antagonists compete for the receptor binding site. The fourth substance found in Reishi mushrooms is a special agonist.
Of the plants, only one, Lepidium meyenii, contained three unknown cannabinoids capable of binding to cannabinoid receptors.
New phytocannabinoids have been identified
With that, scientists have found seven new cannabinoids. These are somewhat non-spectacular Kfb77, Kfb68, Kga1, Kfb28, Kmk38-1, Kmk38-2 and Kmk38-3. What the functions of these new members of the cannabinoid family are is not yet certain. Whether other medicines can be included in the effects has not been tested.
Nevertheless, the authors doubt the direct relationship, since the Reishi mushrooms have traditionally been used to boost the immune system and improve life energy, which might be in line with the known functions of ECS.
New members of the cannabinoid family
Further research is needed to clarify how newly discovered cannabinoids work. The exciting thing about the investigation is that cannabinoids can still be found and used in numerous other plants, fungi, algae and other living things for medical purposes.
Other articles on this topic at Leafly.de:
Liver moss as an alternative to THC?
Phytocannabinoids and their therapeutic potential