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Among the drugs considered illicit in the West, the Cannabis sativa plant is the most consumed: around 4% of the adult population, 10% of these users are in a situation of dependence. However, the medicinal use of this herb dates back to the early days of the emergence of our own species: some anthropologists theorize that some of the genus Homo has progressed in the struggle for survival with other hominids precisely because of the advanced knowledge – kept to the proper proportions – it possessed of plants like Cannabis. Millennia later, science – even focusing intensely on the chemical characterization of its more than 530 bioactive components – was still not able to generate verifiable hypotheses in order to explain two of the most remarkable characteristics of the recreational use of this plant: because small chemical changes potentiated the effect of the drug up to 100 times and, mainly, because it would be virtually impossible for an individual to suffer a lethal overdose of the substance. To overcome this paradigm, some compounds derived from delta-ninetetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) - the main component of cannabis – were radioactively marked in an experimental study and, after their induction, it was discovered that they had tropism by brain membranes and that their binding was saturated and stereosleptic. Such evidence strongly suggested the existence of endogenous receptors for the drug and it was these findings that led to the discovery of the Endocanabinoid System (SEC): a physiological apparatus made up of endogenous receptors and binders, philogenetically conserved, responsible for several controls related to neuronal homeostasis.
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