Cannabis has been used for more than twelve thousand years and for many different purposes (i.e. fiber, medicinal, recreational). However, the endocannabinoid signaling system has only recently been the focus of medical research and considered a potential therapeutic target.
Endocannabinoids mimic the pharmacological actions of the psychoactive principle of marijuana. They are are endogenous lipid-signaling molecules, and generated in the cell membrane from phospholipid precursors and possess cannabimimetic properties. They bind and activate one or more cannabinoid receptor subtypes.
Endocannabinoids are implicated in different physiological and pathological functions (regulation of food intake, immunomodulation, inflammation, analgesia, cancer, addictive behavior, epilepsy, and others.
The overall goal is to understand the physiological role of the endogenous ligands at different levels of the pain pathway and in different models of pathological pain.
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