Term: Arachidonoylethanolamine (Anandamide or AEA)

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Anandamide was the first such compound identified as arachidonoyl ethanolamine. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss and -amide. It has a pharmacology similar to THC, although its structure is quite different. Anandamide binds to the central (CB1) and, to a lesser extent, peripheral (CB2) cannabinoid receptors, where it acts as a partial agonist. Anandamide is about as potent as THC at the CB1 receptor. Anandamide is found in nearly all tissues in a wide range of animals. Anandamide has also been found in plants, including small amounts in chocolate.
Two analogs of anandamide, 7,10,13,16-docosatetraenoylethanolamide and homo-?-linolenoylethanolamine, have similar pharmacology. All of these compounds are members of a family of signalling lipids called N-acylethanolamines, which also includes the noncannabimimetic palmitoylethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide, which possess anti-inflammatory and anorexigenic effects, respectively. Many N-acylethanolamines have also been identified in plant seeds and in molluscs.

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