“Most of the drugs of abuse affect the brain by interacting with naturally expressed molecular receptors. Marihuana affects a series of receptors including cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1R) and CB2R, among others. Endogenous molecules with cannabinoid activity interact with these receptors naturally. Receptors, ligands, synthesizing and degrading enzymes, as well as transporters, have been described.
This endocannabinoid system modulates behaviors and physiological processes, i.e. food intake, the sleep-waking cycle, learning and memory, motivation, and pain perception, among others. The rather broad distribution of endocannabinoids in the brain explains the different effects marihuana induces in its users. However, this very same anatomical and physiological distribution makes this system a useful target for therapeutic endeavors.
In this review, we briefly discuss the potential of small molecules that target the endocannabinoids as therapeutic tools to improve behaviors and treat illnesses. We believe that under medical supervision, endocannabinoid targets offer new advantages for patients for controlling multiple medical disorders.”