The revolution on cannabinoid research started when the primary psychoactive constituents of cannabis, Δ 8 ‐THC and Δ 9 ‐THC, were isolated in 1964 (Gaoni & Mechoulam ). This finding triggered the identification (Devane et al . ; Herkenham et al . ) and cloning (Matsuda et al . ) of its cellular target, the cannabinoid receptor (CB1), and a second mainly peripheral CB2 receptor (Munro, Thomas & Abu‐Shaar ). The next cornerstone in cannabinoid research was the identification of natural ligands for the CB1 receptor: arachidonoylethanolamide, named anandamide from the Sanskrit ‘internal bliss’ (Devane et al . ), and 2‐arachidonoylglycerol (Mechoulam et al . ; Sugiura et al . ). The complete picture of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was achieved with the description of a biochemical pathway for the synthesis, release (Di Marzo et al . ; Cadas et al . ), transport (Beltramo et al . ) and degradation (Cravatt et al . ) of the endocannabinoids. The relevance of this system in the organism is extensive and involves not only the central nervous system, affecting memory, cognitive and mood processes, but also the autonomic, immune and reproductive system, the endocrine network and the gastrointestinal tract
Addiction Biology – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 2013
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