Getting Stoned Without Inhaling: Anandamide Is the Brain's Natural Marijuana

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The brain makes its own morphine, so why not its own marijuana? Marijuana has been in use for over 4000 years as both a therapeutic agent and a recreational drug. Until 10 years ago, however, the exact mechanism of marijuana’s psychoactive properties was relatively obscure, even though the psychoactive ingredient has long been known to be delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Analogous to how the endogenous opiates were discovered, isolation and characterization of cannabinoid (CB) receptors provided the key for their use as a tool in isolating an endogenous ligand for marijuana receptors in the brain.

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(11):566-567