Endocannabinoids and fatty acid amides in cancer, inflammation and related disorders.
The long history of the medicinal use of Cannabis sativa and, more recently, of its chemical constituents, the cannabinoids, suggests that also the endogenous ligands of cannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoids, and, particularly, their derivatives may be used as therapeutic agents. Studies aimed at correlating the tissue and body fluid levels of endogenous cannabinoid-like molecules with pathological conditions have been started and may lead to identify those diseases that can be alleviated by drugs that either mimic or antagonize the action of these substances, or modulate their biosynthesis and degradation. Hints for the therapeutic applications of endocannabinoids, however, can be obtained also from our previous knowledge of marijuana medicinal properties. In this article, we discuss the anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory activity of: (1) the endocannabinoids anandamide (arachidonoylethanolamide) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol; (2) the bioactive fatty acid amides palmitoylethanolamide and oleamide; and (3) some synthetic derivatives of these compounds, such as the N-acyl-vanillyl-amines. Furthermore, the possible role of cannabimimetic fatty acid derivatives in the pathological consequences of cancer and inflammation, such as cachexia, wasting syndrome, chronic pain and local vasodilation, will be examined.
- [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
- Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/metabolism
- Cannabinoid Receptor Modulators
- Chronic Disease
- Fatty Acids/chemistry*
- Feeding Behavior