Role of endocannabinoid system in mental diseases.Neurotox Res 2004; 6(3):213-24NR
In the last decade, a large number of studies using Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active principle derivative of the marijuana plant, or cannabinoid synthetic derivatives have substantially contributed to advance the understanding of the pharmacology and neurobiological mechanisms produced by cannabinoid receptor activation. Cannabis has been historically used to relieve some of the symptoms associated with central nervous system disorders. Nowadays, there are anecdotal evidences for the use of cannabis in many patients suffering from multiple sclerosis or chronic pain. Following the historical reports of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, recent research has highlighted the potential of cannabinoids to treat a wide variety of clinical disorders. Some of these disorders that are being investigated are pain, motor dysfunctions or psychiatric illness. On the other hand, cannabis abuse has been related to several psychiatric disorders such as dependence, anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, and psychosis. Considering that cannabis or cannabinoid pharmaceutical preparations may no longer be exclusively recreational drugs but may also present potential therapeutic uses, it has become of great interest to analyze the neurobiological and behavioral consequences of their administration. This review attempts to link current understanding of the basic neurobiology of the endocannabinoid system to novel opportunities for therapeutic intervention and its effects on the central nervous system.