Endogenous cannabinoid system as a modulator of food intake.

D Cota, G Marsicano, B Lutz, V Vicennati, G K Stalla, R Pasquali, U Pagotto
Int J Obes. 2003-03-01; 27(3): 289-301
DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802250

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1. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Mar;27(3):289-301.

Endogenous cannabinoid system as a modulator of food intake.

Cota D(1), Marsicano G, Lutz B, Vicennati V, Stalla GK, Pasquali R, Pagotto U.

Author information:
(1)Neuroendocrinology Group, Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.

The ability of Cannabis sativa (marijuana) to increase hunger has been noticed
for centuries, although intensive research on its molecular mode of action
started only after the characterization of its main psychoactive component
Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in the late 1960s. Despite the public concern
related to the abuse of marijuana and its derivatives, scientific studies have
pointed to the therapeutic potentials of cannabinoid compounds and have
highlighted their ability to stimulate appetite, especially for sweet and
palatable food. Later, the discovery of specific receptors and their endogenous
ligands (endocannabinoids) suggested the existence of an endogenous cannabinoid
system, providing a physiological basis for biological effects induced by
marijuana and other cannabinoids. Epidemiological reports describing the
appetite-stimulating properties of cannabinoids and the recent insights into the
molecular mechanisms underlying cannabinoid action have proposed a central role
of the cannabinoid system in obesity. The aim of this review is to provide an
extensive overview on the role of this neuromodulatory system in feeding behavior
by summarizing the most relevant data obtained from human and animal studies and
by elucidating the interactions of the cannabinoid system with the most important
neuronal networks and metabolic pathways involved in the control of food intake.
Finally, a critical evaluation of future potential therapeutical applications of
cannabinoid antagonists in the therapy of obesity and eating disorders will be

DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802250
PMID: 12629555 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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