The Endocannabinoid System

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The Endocannabinoid System

The human body is enormously complex, and even after doubling human life expectancy in a mere century, the medical and scientific communities have barely scratched the surface of how our minds and bodies really work. The recent and ongoing discovery of the endocannabinoid system has opened the door to the underlying mechanisms of observable phenomena that even Freud predicted but could not identify.

What makes up the endocannabinoid system?

Like most other signaling systems, endocannabinoid system is composed of three essential parts:

  • - several Gi/o protein-coupled receptors;
  • - their endogenous arachidonyl ligands;
  • - enzymes which synthesize and degrade those ligands.

The receptors of the endocannabinoid system are the most abundant protein receptors in the human body – more numerous than all other protein receptors – dopamine, serotonin, GABA, glutamate, etc. – combined.

58% of transmembrane receptors in the brain are CB1 cannabinoid receptors.

This ubiquitous and pervasive system plays a key role in many nervous system functions, regulating:
  • - Pleasure;
  • - Memory;
  • - Cognition;
  • - Mood;
  • - Neural Plasticity;
  • - Concentration;
  • - Motor Activity;
  • - Awareness of Time;
  • - Appetite;
  • - Pain Threshold and Perception;
  • - Integration of the Senses.

It also plays several roles in the immune system:

  • - cell differentiation and activation;
  • - gene transcription;
  • - anti- and pro-inflammatory cascades;
  • - cellular chemotaxis.
 

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