Insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and obesity are the major cardiometabolic risk factors contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Owing to the increasing prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and CVD, new and effective pharmacologic therapies are urgently needed. In this regard, the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS), a neuromodulatory system involved in the regulation of various aspects of energy balance and eating behaviour through central and peripheral mechanisms, may present the potential to meet this need. In the central nervous system (CNS), cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors and their respective ligands, the endocannabinoids, have a significant role in the modulation of food intake and motivation to consume palatable food. CB1 receptors have also been found in organs involved in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis, such as liver, white adipose tissue, muscle and pancreas. Dysregulation of the ECS has been associated with the development of dyslipidaemia, glucose intolerance, and obesity, and CB1 receptor blockade may have a role in ameliorating these metabolic abnormalities. Thus, pharmacologic options targeting the ECS may provide a novel, effective approach to the prevention and management of CVD, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.