סדרת הרצאות מדוע
הרצאות מדוע תשס"ז
Less than 20 years ago research on Cannabis (hashish) was considered a minor, somewhat quaint, area of scientific investigation. Although the active constituent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had been discovered in the 1960's, it was not seen to be of major biological interest. However in the late 1980's a specific receptor for THC in the brain was found. Receptors are not formed in the body for the sake of plant constituents. They exist as part of biological systems, which include substances (ligands) made by our organs that bind and thus activate these receptors. Indeed, in the 1990's 2 major brain constituents that activate these receptors were found: anandamide and 2-AG. These compounds are mainly produced when needed in specific brain areas. It is now known that they are involved in neuroprotection, pain, appetite, anxiety, inflammation, learning and memory, and even bone formation.
A new drug that blocks the activity of the cannabinoid receptor has been introduced, which reduces appetite and lowers lipid formation. Thus it may represent a major new drug against obesity.