Anandamide transport

Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Nov;104(2):117-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2004.07.008.


N-Arachidonylethanolamine (anandamide) is an endogenous agonist of the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and displays many of the same receptor-mediated physiological effects as delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC), the active component of marijuana. As with any neurotransmitter, there must be tight control of anandamide receptor-mediated signaling and a means of rapid removal of the molecule from the system. Thus, the process by which anandamide is transported into the cell for metabolism has been a topic of much interest and has been implicated as a potential drug target in the treatment of several disease states that are reported to have an association with the endocannabinoid system. In this review, we will discuss the current models proposed for the mechanism of anandamide transport, the progress that has been made in the development of compounds that specifically inhibit anandamide transport, the observed effects of anandamide transport inhibition in vivo, and finally, potential therapeutic applications of compounds that inhibit anandamide transport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / chemistry
  • Arachidonic Acids / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cannabinoids / chemistry
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Humans
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / metabolism


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • anandamide