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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2004 Sep;3(9):771-84.

The endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation.

Author information

  • 1Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council, Via Campi Flegrei 34, Comprensorio Olivetti, 80078 Pozzuoli, Napoli, Italy. vdimarzo@icmib.na.cnr.it

Abstract

The term 'endocannabinoid' - originally coined in the mid-1990s after the discovery of membrane receptors for the psychoactive principle in Cannabis, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and their endogenous ligands - now indicates a whole signalling system that comprises cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands and enzymes for ligand biosynthesis and inactivation. This system seems to be involved in an ever-increasing number of pathological conditions. With novel products already being aimed at the pharmaceutical market little more than a decade since the discovery of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoid system seems to hold even more promise for the future development of therapeutic drugs. We explore the conditions under which the potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system might be realized in the years to come.

PMID:
15340387
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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