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Br J Pharmacol. 2004 Mar;141(5):765-74. Epub 2004 Jan 26.

The endocannabinoid system: a general view and latest additions.

Author information

1
Endocannabinoid Research Group, Istituto di Chimica Biomolecolare, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Campi Flegrei 34, Comprensorio Olivetti, Fabbricato 70, 80078 Pozzuoli (Napoli), Italy.

Abstract

After the discovery, in the early 1990s, of specific G-protein-coupled receptors for marijuana's psychoactive principle Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid receptors, and of their endogenous agonists, the endocannabinoids, a decade of investigations has greatly enlarged our understanding of this altogether new signalling system. Yet, while the finding of the endocannabinoids resulted in a new effort to reveal the mechanisms regulating their levels in the brain and peripheral organs under physiological and pathological conditions, more endogenous substances with a similar action, and more molecular targets for the previously discovered endogenous ligands, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or for some of their metabolites, were being proposed. As the scenario becomes subsequently more complicated, and the experimental tasks to be accomplished correspondingly more numerous, we briefly review in this article the latest 'additions' to the endocannabinoid system together with earlier breakthroughs that have contributed to our present knowledge of the biochemistry and pharmacology of the endocannabinoids.

PMID:
14744801
PMCID:
PMC1574255
DOI:
10.1038/sj.bjp.0705666
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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