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YZ: What makes the endocannabinoid system interesting and exceptional in your opinion?
RP: We know that the endocannabinoid system is involved in many different bodily processes. Interestingly, cannabinoids are made in the body only when and where they are needed to produce particular effects, effects that are often beneficial. Also, they are not stored in the body, and indeed, shortly after interacting with their pharmacological targets, they are broken down by enzymes. The consequences of exposing the body to cannabis are of course quite different, because when people take cannabis the THC it contains indiscriminately activates all cannabinoid receptors in the body at the same time. Such "flooding" of the endocannabinoid system does not occur when endocannabinoids are released endogenously because they are then only produced when and where needed so that their effects on bodily processes are much more selective, resulting for example in "autoprotective" effects such as the alleviation of pain.