The Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System mainly comprises two receptors (CB1 and CB2), two endogenous ligands and two metabolism enzymes. It regulates many aspects of embryonic development and is involved in many homeostatic mechanisms.
Although it was thought that CB2 only regulates immune response on a peripheral level, a study published in the Science journal in 2005 showed that it was found in the brain under normal conditions. Since then many authors have linked it to the regulation of emotional behaviour and cognitive functions.
For example, the same group of Spanish researchers has contributed greatly in applying this receptor in regulating anxiety and depression. Furthermore, others studies have demonstrated how their altered role is linked to increased chances of becoming depressed or anxious or taking drugs.
Virtue or defect?
Impulsivity is a personality trait characterised by behavioural actions that lack forethought or in which the subsequent consequences are not considered. The authors outline that this is “a normal behaviour that allows us as human beings to adapt to our surroundings under certain circumstances that require an immediate reaction.”
Nonetheless, such behaviour can cause a disproportionate response and lead to a pathological state. There a multitude of psychiatric illness that are characterised by a high level of impulsivity. One of these includes substance abuse, which is extremely problematic for society in general.