Possible therapeutic applications of cannabis in the neuropsychopharmacology field

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2020 Jul:36:217-234. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2020.01.013. Epub 2020 Feb 10.


Cannabis use induces a plethora of actions on the CNS via its active chemical ingredients, the so-called phytocannabinoids. These compounds have been frequently associated with the intoxicating properties of cannabis preparations. However, not all phytocannabinoids are psychotropic, and, irrespective of whether they are psychotropic or not, they have also shown numerous therapeutic properties. These properties are mostly associated with their ability to modulate the activity of an intercellular communication system, the so-called endocannabinoid system, which is highly active in the CNS and has been found altered in many neurological disorders. Specifically, this includes the neuropsychopharmacology field, with diseases such as schizophrenia and related psychoses, anxiety-related disorders, mood disorders, addiction, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa and other feeding-related disorders, dementia, epileptic syndromes, as well as autism, fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopment-related disorders. Here, we gather, from a pharmacological and biochemical standpoint, the recent advances in the study of the therapeutic relevance of the endocannabinoid system in the CNS, with especial emphasis on the neuropsychopharmacology field. We also illustrate the efforts that are currently being made to investigate at the clinical level the potential therapeutic benefits derived from elevating or inhibiting endocannabinoid signaling in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: Cannabinoid; Cannabis; Neurology; Neuropsycho-pharmacology; Therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Cannabis
  • Dronabinol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use


  • Cannabinoids
  • Medical Marijuana
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Dronabinol