What are Endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids are a group of lipid compounds (fatlike) that are produced by some invertebrates and all vertebrates including humans.

Their classification is based on their biological activity, which is often similar to that of the main psychoactive phytocannabinoid (plant cannabinoid) delta-9 tetrahydrocanabinol (THC) found in the marijuana plant.

The first endocannabinoid discovered was, arachidonyl ethanolamine, and was named anandamide (ananda is Sanskrit for bliss, hence the blissful amide).

Subsequently, 2- arachidonoyl glycerol was isolated from canine gut and identified as a second endocannabinoid. Both of these chemicals are ultimately made from essential fatty acids such as are found in fish and seed oils.

An as yet unanswered question is how much of the health benefits attributed to essential fatty acids such as omega 3’s are due to their products, endocannabinoids?

When cannabinoid receptors are activated, various biochemical properties in cells are altered, as is communication with other cells. The Pandora’s Box of endocannabinoids and their modes of action has been opened.

Today a number of additional endocannabinoids have been reported and their possible therapeutic applications are under investigation. 

Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, and the associated cardiometabolic complications, are critical areas of investigation. The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate the central control of energy balance and peripheral metabolic processes, both of which may contribute to cardiometabolic risk factors. 

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Endocannabinoids: Marijuana from Within. 

Marijuana has been used medicinally for thousands of years, having been documented in the world’s first pharmacopeia, written around 2700 BC in China, as well as on clay tablets from the ancient Assyrians. [Read more…]

 

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