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5 Psychiatric Diseases Linked to Impaired Cannabinoid CB2 Receptor

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The cannabinoid CB2 receptor has important regulatory functions in the brain. Your risk of several psychiatric diseases may be heightened if you have certain genetic variants.
 
The cannabinoid CB2 receptor was originally known as the “immune cannabinoid receptor”. This is certainly true to the extent that it has a very important role in limiting inflammation. In fact, 9 different immune diseases have been linked to reduced CB2 receptor activity.
 
More recently, we have learned that the CB2 receptor is also found in the brain, although at much lower levels than the CB1 receptor. It is expressed both in neurons and in microglia, brain immune cells that have many important regulatory functions.
 
So what is the CB2 receptor doing in the brain? There is genetic evidence that it can help protect us from a variety of psychiatric diseases. Most studies have focused on the “Q63R” polymorphism (rs2501432), in which the 63rd amino acid of the receptor can be either a glutamine (Q) or an arginine (R). This change results in reduced CB2 receptor signaling.
 
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