Discovering opioid receptors was one of the first steps in the discovery of endorphins. In this video, Riley teaches us about the timeline researchers came to the conclusion of endorphins!
Opium and Papaver Somniferum Plants
When using opium and papaver somniferum plants was popular, researchers noticed that the people using them were experiencing effects they hadn’t seen before. It was a state of euphoria and happiness. After conducting scientific research, researchers were able to figure out that the main opiates in papaver somniferum were morphine and codeine.
Further research found that the opioid receptors were the receptors reacting to opium and papaver somniferum. The only known opioid receptor at the time was the Mu receptor, but since then researchers discovered two more: the Cappa and the Delta receptors. The question of “Why are we producing all of these receptors if we don’t make our own molecules for them?” was brought up pretty quickly and researchers were determined to find the answer.
The reason we produce the Mu, Cappa, and Delta receptors are because of our endorphins. Endorphins are small peptide molecules in our brain. The name comes from endogenous morphines, thus creating the term endorphins.
Keeping Up With Riley
You can keep up with Riley Dee on her Tik Tok account named Cannabichem, as well as right here on the Arbor Vita8 website!
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So one last anecdotal story, because I just can’t help myself. The discovery of opioid receptors is really similar to the discovery of cannabinoid receptors. So essentially, everyone and their mother’s taking opium or Papaver somniferum, the plant, right? It’s getting really high and they’re just loving life. So then obviously science comes along and says, “Okay, let’s figure out what’s causing this.” So that led to the discovery of morphine and codeine, the main opiates in Papaver somniferum.
So then we said, “Okay, well what’s the receptor that these are working on?” Then we discovered the opioid receptors. At that time, it was just the Mu opioid receptor, but now we discovered the Kappa and the Delta opioid receptors as well. Then you guys said, someone said, “Well, why on earth are we producing all these receptors if we don’t make our own molecules for this?” That led to the discovery of the endorphins, and the endorphins are small little peptide molecules in our brain that are named after endogenous morphines, endorphins.