Neurodegenerative disorders carry a significant social and economic burden, and the effective treatment of such illnesses remains a challenge for neuroscientists and neurologists. Although significant advances have been made on our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, the translation of this knowledge into effective therapeutic treatments has been limited. There is still a dearth of curative treatments for most neurodegenerative disorders, with symptomatic relief being the principal target for drug action. Endocannabinoids belong to an evolutionary conserved neuro-signaling system and certain endogenous and exogenous components of this system are emerging as clinically promising neuroprotective agents due to their anti-oxidative, anti-excitotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties. The cannabinoid system is, therefore, a potential target for several neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Research on the therapeutic potential of drugs that modulate endogenous cannabinoid tone is intense. Recent evidence implicates the endocannabinoid system as a potential pharmacological target to circumvent neurodegenerative disease pathology. WIREs Membr Transp Signal 2012, 1:633–639. doi: 10.1002/wmts.64

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