Il sistema endocannabinoide degli animali
The Endocannabinoid System of Animals
Robert J. Silver
Chief Medical Officer, RxVitamins, Niwot, CO 80544-0590, USA;
Received: 12 August 2019; Accepted: 6 September 2019; Published: 16 September 2019
Animals (Basel). 2019 Sep 16;9(9). pii: E686. doi: 10.3390/ani9090686.
Our understanding of the Endocannabinoid System of animals, and its ubiquitous presence in nearly all members of Animalia, has opened the door to novel approaches targeting pain management, cancer therapeutics, modulation of neurologic disorders, stress reduction, anxiety management, and inflammatory diseases. Both endogenous and exogenous endocannabinoid-related molecules are able to function as direct ligands or, otherwise, influence the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS). This review article introduces the reader to the ECS in animals, and documents its potential as a source for emerging therapeutics.
The endocannabinoid system has been found to be pervasive in mammalian species. It has also been described in invertebrate species as primitive as the Hydra. Insects, apparently, are devoid of this, otherwise, ubiquitous system that provides homeostatic balance to the nervous and immune systems, as well as many other organ systems. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been defined to consist of three parts, which include (1) endogenous ligands, (2) G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and (3) enzymes to degrade and recycle the ligands. Two endogenous molecules have been identified as ligands in the ECS to date. The endocannabinoids are anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Two G-coupled protein receptors (GPCR) have been described as part of this system, with other putative GPC being considered. Coincidentally, the phytochemicals produced in large quantities by the Cannabis sativa L plant, and in lesser amounts by other plants, can interact with this system as ligands. These plant-based cannabinoids are termed phytocannabinoids. The precise determination of the distribution of cannabinoid receptors in animal species is an ongoing project, with the canine cannabinoid receptor distribution currently receiving the most interest in non-human animals.