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Cannabis sativa, more commonly called marijuana, and its use has long been a hotly debated topic all over the world. For the most part, the public has been ignorant about the potential it holds within and thus it has remained illegal in many countries for recreational use. While most of the population remains ignorant, lots of interesting research is being carried out.
This plant contains, at the very least, 400 chemical parts and 60 of those are in the cannabinoid class. With the onset of research done on these compound in this class, people began to wonder if there were similar compounds found naturally in our bodies. They looked at what was activating the chemical receptors that were activated by cannabinoids. These receptors are linked to memory, cognition, movement, and nociception as well as modulation of the immune system. Sure enough they found molecules in the body that had many of the same properties. These are called endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids and are similar in their structure. Endogenous simply means that they are found naturally in the body. The first discovered is called anandamide (AEA) and two other common ones found later are 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and N-arachidonoyl glycine (NAGly).
AEA
These compounds have many interesting effects on the body. It is now well known that AEA can produce innability to feel pain, control motor activity, reduce vomiting, stimulate appetite, induce hypothermia, and have effects that prevent cell growth. AEA has also been seen to induce cell death of tumor cells and cervix cancer cells.
2-AG
2-AG is quite similar to AEA however the brain and reproductive tissues contain higher concentration of it. It has been seen to cause cell death in certain cells and serves as messenger molecules in systems such as the endocrine and immune systems.
NAGly
NAGly is found in brain, spinal cord, intestine, kidney, blood, and skin tissues. It has been found to have analgesic or pain killing properties and has shown an active role in sending help to places in the brain where neurons are damaged.
With the interesting research going on, it begs the question why is this not a more acceptable topic in our society? There are obviously many positive possibilities in this area. I truly believe that people are ignorant in this area and are blinded. There is an attitude of being absolutely against this plant without any constructive and informed discussion about it. Why would we not want to explore cannabinoids more when they can reduce pain for people with terrible diseases? They can help reduce cancer in people and give them the desire to eat when chemotherapy takes it away. There should be more study going on in this area. There is the problem with the way marijuana use can affect each user differently, sometimes in a negative way. Endocannabinoids open up the possibility for targeting pathways and receptors that effect only specific areas. This could potentially eliminate adverse effects and unknowns while helping people with specific issues. There is so much potential for this family of compounds. The public should be educated so that good can come from the many compounds in this plant and the effects it has on the body.

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