Endocannabinoids and related compounds: walking back and forth between plant natural products and animal physiology

Chem Biol. 2007 Jul;14(7):741-56. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2007.05.014.


Cannabis sativa has been known, used, and misused by mankind for centuries, and yet only over the last two decades has research stemming from the chemical constituents specific to this plant, the cannabinoids, started to provide fundamental insights into animal physiology and pathology, resulting in the development of new therapeutics. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system, and its targeting with two new pharmaceutical preparations now on the market in several countries, represent the most recent example of how studies on medicinal plants and on the mechanism of their biological effects can reveal, through a chain of breakthroughs, new systems of endogenous signals and physiological phenomena that can become the source of novel strategies for unmet therapeutic challenges.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / pharmacology*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism


  • Amides
  • Biological Products
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty Acids