Peripheral effects of the endocannabinoid system in energy homeostasis: adipose tissue, liver and skeletal muscle

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2011 Sep;12(3):153-62. doi: 10.1007/s11154-011-9167-3.


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of lipid signalling ligands, their G-protein coupled receptors and the enzymes involved in ligand generation and metabolism. Increasingly, the ECS is emerging as a critical agent of energy metabolism regulation through its ability to modulate caloric intake centrally as well as nutrient transport, cellular metabolism and energy storage peripherally. Visceral obesity has been associated with an upregulation of ECS activity in several systems and inhibition of the ECS, either pharmacologically or genetically, results in decreased energy intake and increased metabolic output. This review aims to summarize the recent advances that have been made regarding our understanding of the role the ECS plays in crucial peripheral systems pertaining to energy homeostasis: adipose tissues, the liver and skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism*
  • Endocannabinoids*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / metabolism


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid