Endocannabinoids and basal ganglia functionality

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Feb-Mar 2002;66(2-3):257-67. doi: 10.1054/plef.2001.0350.


In recent years, our knowledge on the cannabinoid pharmacology has shown a significant rise in terms of both quantity (more compounds and more targets) and quality (more selective compounds). This allows to consider cannabinoids and related compounds as a promising new line of research for therapeutic treatment of a variety of conditions, such as brain injury, chronic pain, glaucoma, asthma, cancer and AIDS-associated effects and other pathologies. Motor disorders are another promising field for the therapeutic application of cannabinoid-related compounds, since the control of movement is one of the more relevant physiological roles of the endocannabinoid transmission in the brain. There are two pathologies, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea, which are particularly interesting from a clinical point of view due to the direct relationship of endocannabinoids and their receptors with neurons that degenerate in those disorders. However, other neurological pathologies, such as Alzheimer's disease or multiple sclerosis, which are not motor disorders in origin, but present a strong alteration in the control of movement, have also been a subject of interesting research for a cannabinoid therapy. This review will summarize our current knowledge on the role of these endogenous substances in the control of movement and, in particular, on the possible therapeutic usefulness of these compounds in the treatment of motor pathologies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / drug effects*
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use
  • Eicosanoids / pharmacology*
  • Eicosanoids / therapeutic use
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / agonists
  • Receptors, Drug / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids
  • Eicosanoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug