Narrator: This is Science Today. In the past
decade, scientists have discovered two receptors in
the brain which are affected by synthetic drugs called
cannibinoids. These drugs mimic the active ingredient
found in marijuana. Ian Meng, a researcher at the
University of California, San Francisco, likens the
relationship between these brain receptors and cannibinoids,
to a lock and key.
The receptors are on the cell membrane and they're
sort of like the lock and the cannibinoid, or the
synthetic drugs we now have in the laboratory, can
fit into that lock like they key and unleash all of
Narrator: Meng discovered these actions include
a process similar to the release of natural endorphins
which results in pain reduction.
Meng: And what we have now found is that the
cannabinoids do the same thing. They can tap into
this same brain circuitry and activate a very specific
population of neurons to reduce the pain signal -
just like the natural endorphins do.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.