In a recent study (ironically funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse), researchers at the University of Washington discovered yet another endocannabinoid. Endocannabinoids are bodily-manufactured chemicals that resemble the chemicals found in cannabis. It is thought that these chemicals “...could eventually be turned into a smokeless cannabis replacement that offers and increases the full efficacy of marijuana's most useful effects.”
The recently discovered endocannabinoid, 2-AG, appears to “stimulate microglia, whose function is to defend the brain by cleaning up debris like dead cells and plaque." The study also showed that 2-AG connects with the enzyme called ABHD6; a mysterious enzyme whose purpose was not previously known, but is now “a bona fide member of the endocannabinoid signaling system."
Furthermore, they discovered that the enzyme, ABHD6, “uses water to break down 2-AG, degrading the signal and reducing its effectiveness.” This curious discovery allows scientists to work on new ways to “inhibit the enzyme, increasing the potency of cannabis chemicals or their synthetic analogues.”
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