Endocannabinoids…..what???

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, produces significant psychoactive effects in our brain through its active ingredient, THC.  The actions of THC are a result of its binding and interaction with protein receptors on neurons called cannabinoid receptors.  Why do our brains have these receptors?  What naturally occurring molecules interact with these receptors?  The answer to these questions is the endocannabinoids – the molecules our brains produce that interact with the cannabinoid receptors.  The scientific community has been actively engaged in learning more about these molecules and what roles they play in a healthy brain.  In this week’s literature article, we are looking at the involvement of the endocannabinoids in protecting neurons from injury and inflammation.