The endocannabinoid system is involved with many basic functions. It is believed to play a role in memory, mood, sleep, appetite, pain and immune response. It also affects a number of physiological processes including circulation, energy metabolism and organ function.
Besides maintaining basic functions, the endocannabinoid system acts in response to illness. For example, tumor cells have been shown to express more cannabinoid receptors than healthy cells. Studies also show a rise in endocannabinoid levels in patients with disorders such as arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.
As a result, some scientists believe the overall function of this system is to regulate homeostasis.
Homeostasis is a key element in the biology of all living things. It is best described as the ability to maintain stable internal conditions that are necessary for survival. Disease is a result of a failure in achieving homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system’s role in maintaining homeostasis makes it a unique and promising target in medicine.
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