Cannabinoids Biology: The Search for New Therapeutic Targets

  1. Christian C. Felder,
  2. Amy K. Dickason-Chesterfield and
  3. Steven A. Moore
  1. Eli Lilly and Co., Neuroscience Division, Indianapolis, IN 46285


Cannabinoids, in the form of marijuana plant extracts, have been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of medical conditions, ranging from general malaise and mood disorders to more specific ailments, such as pain, nausea, and muscle spasms. The discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active principal in marijuana, and the identification and cloning of two cannabinoid receptors (i.e., CB1 and CB2) has subsequently led to biomedical appreciation for a family of endocannabinoid lipid transmitters. The biosynthesis and catabolism of the endocannabinoids and growing knowledge of their broad physiological roles are providing insight into potentially novel therapeutic targets. Compounds directed at one or more of these targets may allow for cannabinoid-based therapeutics with limited side effects and abuse liability.


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