Cardiovascular effects of endocannabinoids--the plot thickens

Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2000 Apr;61(1-2):71-84. doi: 10.1016/s0090-6980(00)00056-3.


Cannabinoids, the bioactive ingredients of the marijuana plant, are best known for their psychoactive properties, but they also influence other physiological processes, such as cardiovascular variables. Endocannabinoids are recently identified lipid mediators that act as natural ligands at cannabinoid receptors and mimic most of the biological effects, including the cardiovascular actions, of plant-derived cannabinoids. In experimental animals, the most prominent component of the cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids is prolonged hypotension and bradycardia. This review focuses on the possible mechanisms underlying these effects. The emerging evidence suggesting that endocannabinoids may be involved in the peripheral regulation of vascular tone under certain conditions is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism*
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Biological Factors / chemistry
  • Biological Factors / pharmacology
  • Bradycardia / chemically induced
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glycerides / metabolism*
  • Glycerides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / chemically induced
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Biological Factors
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Glycerides
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • endothelium-dependent hyperpolarization factor
  • glyceryl 2-arachidonate
  • anandamide