An Historical Introduction to the Endocannabinoid and Endovanilloid Systems

  • Istvan Nagy
  • John P. M. White
  • Cleoper C. Paule
  • Attila Köfalvi

Cannabis and chili pepper have been used for medical, gastronomical and recreational purposes for at least 8,000 years. Nevertheless, it was discovered only eight years ago that the cloned neuronal targets of their active principles, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and capsaicin are related to each other, as they all can be activated by some arachidonic acid-derivative endogenous ligands. Here, we will summarize the history of man's relationship with cannabis and capsaicin, and we will detail the most important scientific keystones in the evolution of cannabinoid and vanilloid research, featuring the list of cannabinoid and capsaicin effects, the discovery of endogenous ligands and the cloning of receptors, namely, the CB1 and the CB2 cannabinoid receptor as well as the TRPV1 vanilloid receptor, where the endogenous and the plant-derived substances act upon. This chapter serves, therefore, as an introduction to Cannabinoids and the Brain, the book which will extensively describe the neuronal and, to some extent, the peripheral cannabinoid and vanilloid systems in molecular, pharmacological, physiological, pathological and neuropsychiatric viewpoints.


Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid Primary Sensory Neuron Chili Pepper Receptor Knockout Mouse Vanilloid Receptor 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Istvan Nagy
    • 1
  • John P. M. White
  • Cleoper C. Paule
  • Attila Köfalvi
    1. 1.Department of Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine and Intensive CareImperial College London, Chelsea and Westminster HospitalLondonUK

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