[Functional role of the endocannabinoid system in emotional homeostasis]

Rev Neurol. 2009 Jan 1-15;48(1):20-6.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction and development: Cannabis and derivatives induce complex effects on anxiety in humans and experimental animals. At low doses, cannabinoid agonists seem to exert anxiolytic actions, while at high doses anxiety and panic estates are often reported. Diverse animal models confirm this particular biphasic profile; however, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms have not been completely elucidated. The anxiogenic-like behavioral phenotype observed following both pharmacological and genetic blockade of cannabinoid CB1 receptors, together with the abundant expression of cannabinoid receptors within brain areas particularly involved in emotional control, such as amygdala, hippocampus and cortex, are among the numerous evidences that account for the participation of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of anxiety states. Moreover, blockade of endogenous cannabinoid ligands deactivation has been reported to induce anxiolytic-like responses.

Conclusions: Taken together, present data reinforce the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the control of emotional homeostasis and further suggest the pharmacological manipulation of the endocannabinoid system as a potential therapeutic tool in the management of anxiety-related disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / agonists
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / physiology*
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Limbic System / drug effects
  • Limbic System / physiology
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / deficiency
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / drug effects
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / genetics
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / physiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / physiology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid