The endocannabinoid system refers to a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors that are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. It is named for endocannabinoids, the endogenous lipids that bind cannabinoid receptors (the same receptors that mediate the psychoactive effects of cannabis). Broadly speaking, the endocannabinoid system refers to:
- The cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, two G protein-coupled receptors primarily located in the central nervous system and periphery, respectively.
- The endogenous arachidonate-based lipids, anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamine, AEA)) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), collectively termed the "endocannabinoids", that are ligands for the cannabinoid receptors.
- Enzymes synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. Unlike neurotransmitters, endogenous cannabinoids are not stored in vesicles after synthesis, but are synthesized on demand (Rodriguez de Fonseca et al., 2004).
The endocannabinoid system has been studied using genetic and pharmacological methods. These studies have revealed a broad role for endocannabinoid signaling in a variety of physiological processes, including neuromodulator release, motor learning, synaptic plasticity, appetite, and pain sensation.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 CB1 -/- phenotype
- 3 ECS changes induced by cannabis consumption
- 4 ECS and multiple sclerosis
- 5 Role in human female reproduction
- 6 Role in hippocampal neurogenesis
- 7 References
- 8 External links