Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control (Review) (Oct 2014)

by Wen-Juan Huang, Wei-Wei Chen and Xia Zhang

Depression and pain co-exist in the majority of patients and often contribute to high mortality. Most patients who suffer from the comorbid depression and pain are not responsive to pharmacological treatments that address either the pain or depression, exacerbating this comorbidity disorder. Cannabinoids present in marijuana are well-known to contain pain and depression, and Δ9-THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, exerts its activity by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are activated by naturally present endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG, which exert cannabinomimetic effects. The endocannabinoid system is involved in eliciting potent effects on neurotransmission, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory processes, which are known to be deranged in depression and chronic pain. Several synthetic cannabinomimetic drugs are being developed to treat pain and depression. However, the precise mode of action of endocannabinoids on different targets in the body and whether their effects on pain and depression follow the same or different pathways, remains to be determined in future studies.

Find the article by Molecular Medicine Reports here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042796/

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