The endocannabinoid system is a ubiquitous endogenous neuromodulatory signaling system that has widespread functions in the brain and throughout the body. This diverse system is highly conserved and involved in the regulation of many physiological systems. It is comprised of endogenously produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), which are small lipophilic signaling molecules; their receptors and the enzymes involved in their synthesis and degradation. The classical endocannabinoid system comprised N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA or anandamide) of the N-acylethanolamines (N-EAs) lipid family, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) of the 2-monoacylglycerols (2-MAGs) lipid family, and their respective cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Today, many additional endocannabinoids, receptors and turnover enzymes are considered a part of the extended eCBS.

Mother’s milk

Mother's milk is the recommended and exclusive source of nutrition for newborn babies during their initial months of life. Extensive research has been devoted to understanding its composition and how it evolves after delivery. Among the compounds found in significant quantities in mother's milk are endocannabinoids. In our laboratory, we have developed the distinctive capability to comprehensively characterize a large number of different endocannabinoids from diverse matrices by employing cutting-edge mass spectrometry methods. At present, our team is focused on investigating the variability of endocannabinoids in mother's milk and exploring their potential relationship to the overall well-being of the infant.

Autistic spectrum disorder

The incidence of children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder is on the rise, currently standing at one in 59 children. The conventional drug treatments targeting associated irritability and behavioral difficulties offer only limited relief. Consequently, a considerable number of parents have turned to complementary and alternative medicine in search of more effective solutions. Among these alternative approaches, medical cannabis has garnered attention for its potential to address certain symptoms. In a recent collaborative observational study with Dr. Orit Stolar from Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, we found medical cannabis treatment led to 75% improvement in autistic spectrum disorder parameters such as calmness, mood, sleep quality, sensory balance, and regulation. As cannabinoids exert their effect through the endocannabinoid system, it is possible dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system plays an important role. We are currently working to decipher which endocannabinoids are associated with improved autistic spectrum disorder symptoms.