Understanding Cannabinoid Receptor Signaling Complexity: Keys for Improved Therapeutic Drug Development

A special issue of Receptors (ISSN 2813-2564).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 1332

Special Issue Editor

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
Interests: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs); cannabinoid receptors; cannabinoid receptor signaling; bias signaling; synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs); synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist toxicity; drug abuse; drug development; drug metabolism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The endocannabinoid system is widely expressed throughout the body and regulates many important physiological and pathophysiological processes. Cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) are G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and, ligands modulating activity of these receptors are structurally diverse. CBR activation results in both therapeutic, and unfortunately adverse, effects, which currently limits the clinical use of drugs in this class. However, mechanisms controlling cannabinoid receptor activation and subsequent intracellular signaling processes are highly complex and thus might be exploited to overcome these limitations to preferentially activate pathways responsible for therapeutic rather than adverse effects. For example, ligand-specific modulation of CBRs can result in distinct intracellular signaling patterns via a number of mechanisms including functional selectivity, biased signaling and allosteric modulation. CBR signaling specificity can also be achieved by tissue-selective receptor expression and activity of ligands at non-canonical CBRs. Therefore, articles for this Special Issue are sought to provide improved knowledge to help harness these and other mechanisms of producing CBR signaling diversity and to lead to the development of cannabinoid-based drugs with enhanced therapeutic activity and reduced toxicity.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  1. Orthosteric and allosteric CBR signaling;
  2. CBR functional selectivity and bias signaling;
  3. CBR-interacting proteins;
  4. Signaling of non-canonical CBRs;
  5. CBR-signaling networks;
  6. Tissue-specific CBR signaling;
  7. CBR signaling in cancer cells;
  8. Molecular modeling of CBR ligands;
  9. CBR structure and function.

Prof. Dr. Paul L. Prather
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Receptors is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs)
  • endocannabinoids
  • functional selectivity
  • bias signaling
  • molecular modeling
  • synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists
  • CB1 receptors
  • CB2 receptors

Published Papers (1 paper)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:


23 pages, 4948 KiB  
Molecular Targets for Cannabinoids in Natural Killer Cells: Do They Modulate the Antitumor Activity?
by Miguel Olivas-Aguirre, Cecilia Gutiérrez-Iñiguez, Igor Pottosin and Oxana Dobrovinskaya
Receptors 2024, 3(2), 122-144; https://doi.org/10.3390/receptors3020007 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 888
Recent research has emphasized the potential of natural and synthetic cannabinoids as anticancer agents. Yet it remains unclear whether and in which sense cannabinoids affect the anticancer activity of NK cells, an important branch of anticancer immunity. Similar uncertainty exists regarding NK cells-based [...] Read more.
Recent research has emphasized the potential of natural and synthetic cannabinoids as anticancer agents. Yet it remains unclear whether and in which sense cannabinoids affect the anticancer activity of NK cells, an important branch of anticancer immunity. Similar uncertainty exists regarding NK cells-based immunotherapy. Here we presented an overview of multiple cannabinoid targets as canonical (mainly CB2) and non-canonical receptors, ion channels, transporters, and enzymes, expressed in NK cells, along with underlying molecular mechanisms. Through them, cannabinoids can affect viability, proliferation, migration, cytokine production, and the overall anticancer activity of NK cells. Respective holistic studies are limited, and, mostly, are phenomenological, not linking observed effects with certain molecular targets. Another problem of existing studies is the lack of standardisation, so that diverse cannabinoids at variable concentrations and ways of administration are applied, and often, instead of purified NK cells, the whole lymphocyte population is used. Therefore, there is an urgent need for more focused, systemic, and in-depth studies of the impact of the cannabinoid toolkit on NK cell function, to critically address the compatibility and potential synergies between NK activity and cannabinoid utilization in the realm of anticancer interventions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop