The cannabinoid receptors

Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2002 Aug;68-69:619-31. doi: 10.1016/s0090-6980(02)00060-6.


Cannabinoid receptors were named because they have affinity for the agonist delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC), a ligand found in organic extracts from Cannabis sativa. The two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. are G protein coupled receptors that are coupled through the Gi/o family of proteins to signal transduction mechanisms that include inhibition of adenylyl cyclase, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase, regulation of calcium and potassium channels (CB1 only), and other signal transduction pathways. A class of the eicosanoid ligands are relevant to lipid-mediated cellular signaling because they serve as endogenous agonists for cannabinoid receptors, and are thus referred to as endocannabinoids. Those compounds identified to date include the eicosanoids arachidonoylethanolamide (anandamide), 2-arachidonoylglycerol and 2-arachidonylglyceryl ether (noladin ether). Several excellent reviews on endocannabinoids and their synthesis, metabolism and function have appeared in recent years. This paper will describe the biological activities, pharmacology, and signal transduction mechanisms for the cannabinoid receptors, with particular emphasis on the responses to the eicosanoid ligands.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Eicosanoids / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Eicosanoids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug