Cannabinoid research underwent a tremendous increase during the last 10 years. This progress was made possible by the discovery of cannabinoid receptors and the endogenous ligands for these receptors. Cannabinoid research is developing in two major directions: neurobehavioral properties of cannabinoids and the impact of cannabinoids on the immune system. Recent studies characterized the cannabinoid-induced response as a very complex process because of the involvement of multiple signalling pathways linked to cannabinoid receptors or effects elicited by cannabinoids without receptor participation. The objective of this review is to present this complexity as it applies to immune response. The functional properties of cannabinoid receptors, signalling pathways linked to cannabinoid receptors and the modulation of immune response by cannabinoid receptor ligands are discussed. Special attention is given to 'endocannabinoids' as immunomodulatory molecules.