The endocannabinoid system and neurogenesis in health and disease

Neuroscientist. 2007 Apr;13(2):109-14. doi: 10.1177/1073858406296407.


The endocannabinoid system exerts an important neuromodulatory function in different brain areas and is also known to be involved in the regulation of neural cell fate. Thus, CB(1) cannabinoid receptors are neuroprotective in different models of brain injury, and their expression is altered in various neurodegenerative diseases. Recent findings have demonstrated the presence of a functional endocannabinoid system in neural progenitor cells that participates in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation. In this Research Update, the authors address the experimental evidence regarding the regulatory role of cannabinoids in neurogenesis and analyze them in the context of those pathological disorders in which cannabinoid function and altered neuronal or glial generation is most relevant, for example, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / drug therapy
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / genetics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1