Only a few years ago the endocannabinoid system was unknown. Today we are aware that endocannabinoids are involved in many of the functions of the mammalian body – in neuroprotection, appetite and suckling, pain, reproduction, anxiety, memory, bone formation etc. This volume presents an up-to-date picture of some of the major fields of endocannabinoid research. It summarizes the actions of the endocannabinoids on various physiological systems and opens new therapeutic windows to a large number of diseases.
The first chapter, on the use of Cannabis in India, can be viewed as an expression of thanks to the herbal practitioners, who for centuries passed on the medical traditions associated with the drug. The chapter on chemistry is a short summary of active plant, synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids being investigated today, many of which are mentioned later in the book. Cannabidiol is an unusual cannabinoid – it does not bind to the known receptors and yet exerts a variety of effects. Hence a chapter is devoted to it. Further chapters deal with the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoids in a variety of conditions and physiological systems. The concluding chapter describes the research done on Sativex®, a standardized plant extract, shortly to be introduced in Canada as a drug for multiple sclerosis.
The intended audience is drug researchers (medicinal chemists, pharmacologists, clinicians), neuroscientists, physiologists, and clinicians interested in the effect of the endocannabinoid system in various physiological systems.