Endocannabinoids and Metabolic Disorders

Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2015;231:367-91. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20825-1_13.


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is known to exert regulatory control on essentially every aspect related to the search for, and the intake, metabolism and storage of calories, and consequently it represents a potential pharmacotherapeutic target for obesity, diabetes and eating disorders. While the clinical use of the first generation of cannabinoid type 1 (CB(1)) receptor blockers has been halted due to the psychiatric side effects that their use occasioned, recent research in animals and humans has provided new knowledge on the mechanisms of actions of the ECS in the regulation of eating behavior, energy balance, and metabolism. In this review, we discuss these recent advances and how they may allow targeting the ECS in a more specific and selective manner for the future development of therapies against obesity, metabolic syndrome, and eating disorders.

Keywords: CB1 receptor; CB2 receptor; Eating disorder; Endocannabinoid; Metabolic disorder; Obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Drug Design
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Energy Metabolism* / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Metabolic Diseases / psychology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1