Alcohol & the Endocannabinoid System

Scientists are investigating the critical role of the endocannabinoid system in alcohol addiction and various mood disorders.

A grapevine and a cannabis plant are depicted side-by-side on a bas-relief from a ruined Roman temple at Baalbek in Lebanon’s fertile Bekka Valley. One of the world’s sweet spots for growing cannabis, this region is also known for its fine wines. It is a place where wine and hashish mix geographically as well as culturally.

Poets and thinkers in the Muslim world have long debated the virtues and pitfalls of alcohol and marijuana. An epic poem written by Muhammad Ebn Soleiman Foruli, a 16th century Turkish poet from Baghdad, portrays a dialectical battle between wine and hashish. The two inebriants engage in an allegorical fencing match as the poet describes the euphoric properties of both substances and their consequences, a subject much discussed among Muslim scholars. Foruli viewed wine as the drink of the rich, “while hashish,” he said, “is a friend of the poor, the Dervishes and the men of knowledge.”

Scientists have only recently begun to investigate and understand the critical role that the endocannabinoid system plays in alcohol addiction and various mood disorders.

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Published in full in Beyond THC.

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Revision date: 
Feb 27, 2014