Cannabinoids in the Cardiovascular System

Adv Pharmacol. 2017:80:329-366. doi: 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


Cannabinoids are known to modulate cardiovascular functions including heart rate, vascular tone, and blood pressure in humans and animal models. Essential components of the endocannabinoid system, namely, the production, degradation, and signaling pathways of endocannabinoids have been described not only in the central and peripheral nervous system but also in myocardium, vasculature, platelets, and immune cells. The mechanisms of cardiovascular responses to endocannabinoids are often complex and may involve cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors or non-CB1/2 receptor targets. Preclinical and some clinical studies have suggested that targeting the endocannabinoid system can improve cardiovascular functions in a number of pathophysiological conditions, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, sepsis, and atherosclerosis. In this chapter, we summarize the local and systemic cardiovascular effects of cannabinoids and highlight our current knowledge regarding the therapeutic potential of endocannabinoid signaling and modulation.

Keywords: Artery; Atherosclerosis; Blood pressure; Endocannabinoid system; Heart; Ischemia; Metabolic diseases; Sepsis; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular System / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Metabolome
  • Models, Biological


  • Cannabinoids