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Mitochondria are key organelles providing energy supply and many other vital functions to cells. Shortly after the discovery of plant-derived cannabinoid compounds, some studies indicated their impact onto mitochondrial functions. The later identification of cannabinoid receptors as classical seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors suggested that these mitochondrial effects might be due to unspecific membrane-altering properties of cannabinoids. However, the recent discovery that brain mitochondria contain significant amounts of functional type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) shed new light on cannabinoid physiology and pharmacology. In this chapter, we will summarize historical and recent evidence of the cannabinoid impact on mitochondrial functions in peripheral and central organs of the body.

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The work in Marsicano’s lab is supported by INSERM, EU–Fp7 (REPROBESITY, HEALTH–F2–2008–223713 and PAINCAGE, HEALTH-603191), European Research Council (Endofood, ERC–2010–StG–260515, and CannaPreg, ERC-2014-PoC-640923), Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale (DRM20101220445, DPP20151033974), Human Frontiers Science Program, Region Aquitaine, and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR Blanc NeuroNutriSens ANR-13-BSV4-0006 and BRAIN ANR-10-LABX-0043). We thank all the members of Marsicano’s lab for the useful discussions. The work of Etienne Hebert-Chatelain is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Discovery grant: RGPIN-2015-05880), Alzheimer Society of Canada (New Investigator Award: 17-09), the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (Research grant 16880-2015-17342), Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute (Seed Fund), New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, and Université de Moncton.

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Correspondence to Etienne Hebert-Chatelain .

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Hebert-Chatelain, E., Marsicano, G., Desprez, T. (2017). Cannabinoids and Mitochondria. In: Melis, M. (eds) Endocannabinoids and Lipid Mediators in Brain Functions. Springer, Cham.

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