How many sites of action for endocannabinoids to control energy metabolism?

Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Apr;30 Suppl 1:S39-43. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803277.


The promising results obtained by clinical trials using Rimonabant to tackle visceral obesity and related disorders recently promoted a remarkable impulse to carry out detailed investigations into the mechanisms of action of endocannabinoids in regulating food intake and energy metabolism. The endocannabinoid system has been known for many years to play an important role in the modulation of the neuronal pathways mediating the rewarding properties of food. However, in the last few years, with the advanced understanding of the crucial role of the hypothalamic neuronal network in the regulation of appetite, several studies have also directed attention to the orexigenic role of the endocannabinoid system, substantiating the well known appetite stimulating properties of derivatives of Cannabis sativa. Furthermore, the last 2 years have seen a number of relevant publications emphasizing the role of endocannabinoids as significant players in various peripheral metabolic processes. To date, the roles of the endocannabinoid system in influencing energy metabolism have proved to be more complex than was formerly believed. However, the diverse ability to modulate both central and peripheral processes highlights the pivotal involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the control of metabolic processes. This review describes the roles of endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1) in the control of energy balance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Leptin
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1