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Balkan Med J. 2014 Jun;31(2):115-20. doi: 10.5152/balkanmedj.2014.13103. Epub 2014 Jun 1.

The endocannabinoid system as a potential therapeutic target for pain modulation.

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Department of Medical Pharmacology, Trakya University Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey.


Although cannabis has been used for pain management for millennia, very few approved cannabinoids are indicated for the treatment of pain and other medical symptoms. Cannabinoid therapy re-gained attention only after the discovery of endocannabinoids and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the enzymes playing a role in endocannabinoid metabolism. Nowadays, research has focused on the inhibition of these degradative enzymes and the elevation of endocannabinoid tonus locally; special emphasis is given on multi-target analgesia compounds, where one of the targets is the endocannabinoid degrading enzyme. In this review, I provide an overview of the current understanding about the processes accounting for the biosynthesis, transport and metabolism of endocannabinoids, and pharmacological approaches and potential therapeutic applications in this area, regarding the use of drugs elevating endocannabinoid levels in pain conditions.


2-AG; FAAH; MAGL; anandamide; endocannabinoids; pain

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