The use of different natural and/or synthetic preparations of Cannabis sativa is associated with therapeutic strategies for many diseases. Indeed, thanks to the widespread diffusion of the cannabinoidergic system in the brain and in the peripheral districts, its stimulation, or inhibition, regulates many pathophysiological phenomena. In particular, central activation of the cannabinoidergic system modulates the limbic and mesolimbic response which leads to food craving. Moreover, cannabinoid agonists are able to reduce inflammatory response. In this review a brief history of cannabinoids and the protagonists of the endocannabinoidergic system, i.e. synthesis and degradation enzymes and main receptors, will be described. Furthermore, the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids will be outlined. An overview of the involvement of the endocannabinoidergic system in neuroinflammatory and metabolic pathologies will be made. Finally, particular attention will also be given to the new pharmacological entities acting on the two main receptors, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), with particular focus on the neuroinflammatory and metabolic mechanisms involved.
PMID: 29601300 DOI: 10.1515/hmbci-2018-0013