Endocannabinoids as molecular instruments of health promotion
Esch T, Michalsen A, Stefano GB.
Studiengang der Integrierenden Gesundheitsforderung,
Hochschule fur Angewandte Wissenschaften Coburg,
Friedrich-Streib-Str. 2, D-96450 Coburg.
Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2006 Nov;29(11):397-403.


Endocannabinoids may be a physiological model for our self-healing capacities, since they are part of a complex system of natural auto-regulatory processes. This system has been examined via neurobiology, where the experimental invertebrate model is useful. Endocannabinoids, as well as endogenous morphine, activate constitutive nitric oxide (NO) release, which exerts a variety of positive physiological effects. By doing so, we surmise endogenous stress reduction emerges. Therefore, in the context of endocannabinoid auto-regulation, it seems adequate to speak of "health promotion on a molecular level". The convergence of endogenous auto-regulation on NO pathways critically relies upon common or overlapping neurobiological molecular components, as they are represented by limbic reward and motivation mechanisms. To our knowledge, endogenous auto-regulation--involving deep limbic brain activities--plays a crucial role in successful modern strategies of applied and integrative health promotion. More research, however, is necessary before the different aspects of neurobiological science and clinical medicine in the field of prevention may be integrated extensively and with profound reason. Conclusions: Successful preventive programs, such as integrative medical stress management, include auto-regulative mechanisms on the physiological level. This leads to an interesting research potential, particularly when one considers the long-term effects of applied health promotion and its coupling to motivational neurobiological phenomena.

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