Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common disease of joints, which are complex organs where cartilage, bone and synovium cooperate to allow a range of movements. During progression of the disease, the function of all three main components is jeopardized. Nevertheless, the involvement of each tissue in OA development is still not established and is the topic of the present review. The OA therapies available are symptomatic, largely targeting pain management rather than disease progression. The strong need to develop a treatment for cartilage degeneration, bone deformation and synovial inflammation has led to research on the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the development of OA. The current review discusses the research on this topic to date and notes the advantages of exploiting endocannabinoid system modulation for cartilage, bone and synovium homeostasis, which could prevent the further progression of OA. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on 8th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v176.10/issuetoc.
© 2018 The British Pharmacological Society.