Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 7, 438-455 (May 2008) | doi:10.1038/nrd2553

Targeting the endocannabinoid system: to enhance or reduce?

Vincenzo Di Marzo1  About the author


As our understanding of the endocannabinoids improves, so does the awareness of their complexity. During pathological states, the levels of these mediators in tissues change, and their effects vary from those of protective endogenous compounds to those of dysregulated signals. These observations led to the discovery of compounds that either prolong the lifespan of endocannabinoids or tone down their action for the potential future treatment of pain, affective and neurodegenerative disorders, gastrointestinal inflammation, obesity and metabolic dysfunctions, cardiovascular conditions and liver diseases. When moving to the clinic, however, the pleiotropic nature of endocannabinoid functions will require careful judgement in the choice of patients and stage of the disorder for treatment.

Author affiliations

  1. Endocannabinoid Research Group, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, National Research Council (CNR), Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078, Pozzuoli, Naples, Italy.

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