Targeting the Endocannabinoid System: A Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine-Directed Approach to the Management of Brain Pathologies

EPMA J. 2020 Apr 15;11(2):217-250. doi: 10.1007/s13167-020-00203-4. eCollection 2020 Jun.


Cannabis-inspired medical products are garnering increasing attention from the scientific community, general public, and health policy makers. A plethora of scientific literature demonstrates intricate engagement of the endocannabinoid system with human immunology, psychology, developmental processes, neuronal plasticity, signal transduction, and metabolic regulation. Despite the therapeutic potential, the adverse psychoactive effects and historical stigma, cannabinoids have limited widespread clinical application. Therefore, it is plausible to weigh carefully the beneficial effects of cannabinoids against the potential adverse impacts for every individual. This is where the concept of "personalized medicine" as a promising approach for disease prediction and prevention may take into the account. The goal of this review is to provide an outline of the endocannabinoid system, including endocannabinoid metabolizing pathways, and will progress to a more in-depth discussion of the therapeutic interventions by endocannabinoids in various neurological disorders.

Keywords: 2-Arachidonyl glycerol; Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid lateral sclerosis; Anandamide; Anxiety; Cancer; Cannabinoid receptor; Depression; Disease management; Endocannabinoid system; Epilepsy; Health policy; Huntington’s disease; Multi-professional expertise; Multiple sclerosis; Neurological disorder; Pain; Parkinson’s disease; Predictive preventive personalized medicine (PPPM); Schizophrenia; Stroke; Therapeutic strategies; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review