The skeletal endocannabinoid system: clinical and experimental insights

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2016 May 1;27(3):237-45. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2015-0073.


Recently, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the role of cannabinoids in the regulation of skeletal remodeling and bone mass, addressed in basic, translational and clinical research. Since the first publications in 2005, there are more than 1000 publications addressing the skeletal endocannabinoid system. This review focuses on the roles of the endocannabinoid system in skeletal biology via the cannabinoid receptors CB1, CB2 and others. Endocannabinoids play important roles in bone formation, bone resorption and skeletal growth, and are sometimes age, gender, species and strain dependent. Controversies in the literature and potential therapeutic approaches targeting the endocannabinoid system in skeletal disorders are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2 / metabolism
  • Skeleton / metabolism*


  • Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB2