Endocannabinoids and related fatty acid derivatives in pain modulation

Chem Phys Lipids. 2002 Dec 31;121(1-2):159-72. doi: 10.1016/s0009-3084(02)00152-4.


The brain produces at least five compounds that possess sub-micromolar affinity for cannabinoid receptors: anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, noladin ether, virodhamine, and N-arachidonoyldopamine (NADA). One function of these and/or related compounds is to suppress pain sensitivity. Much evidence supports a role of endocannabinoids in pain modulation in general, and some evidence points to the role of particular endocannabinoids. Related endogenous fatty acid derivatives such as oleamide, palmitoylethanolamide, 2-lineoylglycerol, 2-palmitoylglycerol, and a family of arachidonoyl amino acids may interact with endocannabinoids in the modulation of pain sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug