Cannabinoids and their Role in the Central Nervous System | cannabisMD

Cannabinoids and their Role in the Central Nervous System

Cannabinoids and their Role in the Central Nervous System; Wiley Blackwell

Wiley Blackwell

Review article: endocannabinoids and their receptors in the enteric nervous system

Cannabinoids are a collection of compounds that are situated in the marijuana plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is the main chemical within the cannabis plant and it is said by the wide scientific community that it has anti inflammatory effects when induced into animal cells. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these chemicals and it is said to have a psychotropic effect. Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are located in the endocannabinoid system and gives cannabinoids power to bind and thrive in the body. This paper will describe the role that cannabinoids have in the central nervous system and the brain-gut axis.

Main Points

  • Cannabinoids have a therapeutic potential
  • Cannabinoids could help with irritable bowel syndrome

Cannabinoids have a therapeutic potential

The analgesic actions of cannabinoids have been understood for centuries. In the last 25 years this area of study has gone from strength to strength with the discovery of unique cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids. In the gastrointestinal tracts nervous system, cannabinoid receptors are located on enteric nerve terminals where they show inhibitory effects on neuronal signalling to decrease gut movement and secretion. Endocannabinoids are available in the enteric nervous system, as are the degradative enzymes that are needed to start their action.The cellular mechanism of action of endocannabinoids has not been understood yet in the enteric nervous system. Endocannabinoids not only work at cannabinoid receptors, but possibly also at vanilloid and 5‐HT3 receptors. The two of these receptors are found in the gut. The relationship between endocannabinoids and these other detrimental receptor systems have not really been reviewed.

Cannabinoids could help with irritable bowel syndrome

A broader knowledge of the endocannabinoid system in the enteric nervous system might give way to developments with important therapeutic potential in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, secretory diarrhoea and gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease. This paper describes the enteric nervous systems importance in endocannabinoid regulation of gastrointestinal function in health and disease, and thus a detrimental therapeutic site possibility. Endocannabinoids can also work at other places in the brain–gut axis and more research is needed to understand the work that the endocannabinoid system does in gastrointestinal regulation and the full therapeutic possibilities of drugs, which change or act through endocannabinoids.


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