The Endocannabinoid System and Its Relationship to Human Reproduction

Physiol Res. 2023 Dec 17;72(S4):S365-S380. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.935229.


The endocannabinoid system is among the most important regulators of human reproduction. It already applies at the level of the sperm and the egg, plays an important role in the fertilization of the egg, its implantation, regulates the function of the placenta and participates in childbirth. The aim of this work is to summarize the knowledge accumulated so far and to show that the endocannabinoid system must be perfectly regulated in order to maintain a physiological pregnancy from implantation to delivery. Only an exceptional interplay of enzymes such as NAPE-PDL or FAAH, endogenous cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 can ensure the proper functioning of the reproductive organs and thus lead to delivery on time. Changes in the endocannabinoid system can lead to a number of pathological conditions, e.g., during blastocyst implantation, retardation of embryo development, impaired placental function or miscarriage. Soon, we can expect not only an understanding of all the regulatory events associated with the endocannabinoid system and other regulatory systems that participate in reproduction, but also several possibilities for pharmacotherapeutic interventions that can modify the formation, degradation and effect of endocannabinoids. It cannot be ruled out that some components of the endocannabinoid system could become a marker for monitoring pregnancy and childbirth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous*
  • Endocannabinoids* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Semen / metabolism


  • Endocannabinoids