Cannabinoids and GI Disorders: Endogenous and Exogenous

Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2016 Dec;14(4):461-477. doi: 10.1007/s11938-016-0111-1.


Despite the political and social controversy affiliated with it, the medical community must come to the realization that cannabinoids exist as a ubiquitous signaling system in many organ systems. Our understanding of cannabinoids and how they relate not only to homeostasis but also in disease states must be furthered through research, both clinically and in the laboratory. The identification of the cannabinoid receptors in the early 1990s have provided us with the perfect target of translational research. Already, much has been done with cannabinoids and the nervous system. Here, we explore the implications it has for the gastrointestinal tract. Most therapeutics currently on the market presently target only one aspect of the cannabinoid system. Our main purpose here is to highlight areas of research and potential avenues of discovery that the cannabinoid system has yet to reveal.

Keywords: CB1 receptor; CB2 receptor; Cannabinoids; GI motility; GPR55; Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); Visceral hypersensitivity.

Publication types

  • Review