Endocannabinoid system in the brain…and elsewhere.

“The endocannabinoid system is a complex system with endogenous ligands, synthesis and transport processes, specific receptors (CB1 and CB2) and intracellular degrading enzymes.

It is widely distributed in the central nervous system, but also in peripheral organs.

In the brain, endocannabinoids and CB1 receptors are almost ubiquitous and play a role in synaptic plasticity: they modulate, through an inhibitory retrograde action, the release of classical neurotransmitters such as amines, acetylcholine or amino acids.

They may exert a neuroprotective effect, but are also involved in appetite and alcohol/drug dependence.

At the periphery, they are present (and overexpressed in case of abdominal obesity) in various organs involved in energy control and metabolic regulation.

Furthermore, CB2 receptors are also present in the brain, although less numerous than CB1 receptors.

They could attenuate pain and also be neuroprotective.

Selective agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists of CB1 and CB2 receptors are currently developed and open new interesting therapeutic perspectives.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18669206

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