Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 113–128 | Cite as

Cannabinoids in Eating Disorders and Obesity



Cannabinoid system is a crucial mechanism in regulating food intake and energy metabolism. It is involved in central and peripheral mechanisms regulating such behavior, interacting with many other signaling systems with a role in metabolic regulation. Cannabinoid agonists promote food intake, and soon a cannabinoid antagonist, rimonabant, will be marketed for the treatment of obesity. It not only causes weight loss, but also alleviates metabolic syndrome. We present a review of current knowledge on this subject, along with data from our own research: genetic studies on this system in eating disorders and obesity and studies locating cannabinoid receptors in areas related to food intake. Such studies suggest cannabinoid hyperactivity in obesity, and this excessive activity may have prognostic implications.


Cannabinoid system Obesity Eating disorders Food intake Energy metabolism 



agouti-related protein






arcuate hypothalamic nucleus


blood–brain barrier


body mass index


brain-derived neurotrophic factor


cannabinoid receptor type 1




cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript


corticotropin-releasing hormone


diet-induced obesity


dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus


eating disorders


endocannabinoid system


fatty-acid amide hydrolase


fatty-acid synthase


ghrelin receptor


glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase


high-density lipoprotein


hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis




lateral hypothalamic nucleus


mitogen-activated protein kinase


melanine concentrating hormone


melanocyte stimulating hormone


neuropeptide Y


nucleus accumbens


nucleus of the tractus solitarius




paraventricular nucleus


peptide YY




Rimonabant in Obesity clinical trials


sterol response element-binding protein 1c


Studies with Rimonabant and Tobacco Use




thyrotropin-releasing hormone


ventral tegmental area


ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatric UnitFundación Hospital AlcorcónAlcorcón (Madrid)Spain

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