New Endocannabinoid Found in Dolphins

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by Storm Crow, Oct 30, 2022.

  1. Endocannabinoids are your body's own versions of THC, CBD and other plant cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are responsible for the "Runner's High" and they ease pain, lift your mood, etc. - just like the plant cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is involved in just about everything your body does, so the endocannabinoids are rather important.

    Dolphin Study Identifies Hitherto Unknown Endocannabinoid (news – 2022)

    How many endocannabinoids are there? You’d be forgiven for thinking just two, but several others have been identified – and researchers in San Diego, California, say they just found another one.

    Before we get into that news, let’s back up. Endocannabinoids are sometimes called the body’s own cannabis: molecules that activate and modulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS), both to make you feel good and to help keep you well, via a pair of cellular receptors known as cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2, or CB1 and CB2.

    The two most famous endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG, discovered in the early 1990s. They are synthesized in the body from arachidonic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid obtained through meat, eggs, milk, and fish, or converted from another omega-6 called linoleic acid, found in nuts, seeds, and some refined vegetable oils.

    Essential Fatty Acids
    While anandamide and 2-AG get most of the attention and are certainly very important, they are not alone in interacting with CB1 and CB2. In a 2019 paper, researchers at the University of Illinois reported on recent discoveries of another four endocannabinoids and their derivatives, all synthesized in the body from two omega-3 essential fatty acids found primarily in fish and supplements

    At the risk of getting lost in alphabet soup: from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) come both DHA-EA (also called synaptamide) and DHG. And from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) come EPA-EA and EPG. They’re not yet household names (and may never be), but still appear to be critically important to the ECS’s mission of maintaining homeostasis and overall health, in part as a counterbalance to the omega-6-derived endocannabinoids.

    Which brings us to the latest discovery, a mouthful of a molecule called pentadecanoylcarnitine (PDC). According to the recent paper in Scientific Reports describing its discovery and preliminary testing, PDC is synthesized in the body from another dietary fatty acid known as pentadecanoic acid or C15:0 (found mostly in full-fat dairy but also some fish, plants, and other foods). It binds with both CB1 and CB2, among other receptors, and may play a role in a variety of physiological processes related to the regulation of inflammation, pain, mood, and sleep.

    Dolphins, Supplements, and the ECS
    The story of PDC’s discovery is a strange one. It involves the US Navy Marine Mammal Program, a drug-discovery company called Epitracker, and an Epitracker spinoff called Seraphina Therapeutics that is currently marketing and selling C15:0 as a dietary supplement called Fatty 15.

    Both companies are run by the husband-and-wife team of Stephanie and Eric Venn-Watson. Both also hold exclusive licensing rights from the US Navy to commercialize odd-chain saturated fatty acids as human and animal health products. On top of that, Eric is a longtime Navy physician. Suffice to say there are conflicts of interest upon conflicts of interest.

    With that in mind, let’s look at what they did – starting with the dolphins. Stephanie Venn-Watson has been studying bottlenose dolphins as an animal model for understanding the metabolism and health effects of fatty acid intake in humans for years; she served as lead author of a pair of related papers published in 2015
    and 2020.

    The latest paper summarizes her previous work thusly: “Similar to humans, bottlenose dolphins are long-lived, large-brained mammals with demonstrated associations between higher circulating C15:0 and C17:0 concentrations and lower risks of chronic metabolic conditions. When dolphins were fed a modified, high-C15:0 fish diet, their serum metabolome shifted, resulting in lower insulin and cholesterol, as well as attenuated anemia.” (snipped)

    Granny :wave:
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  2. So, after we catch a dolphin, how do we extract the cannabinoid?
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