Growing evidence suggests that a major physiological function of the cannabinoid signaling system is to modulate neuroinflammation. This review discusses the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoid compounds at molecular, cellular and whole animal levels, first by examining the evidence for anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids obtained using in vivo animal models of clinical neuroinflammatory conditions, specifically rodent models of multiple sclerosis, and second by describing the endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system components in immune cells. Our aim is to identify immune functions modulated by cannabinoids that could account for their anti-inflammatory effects in these animal models.
British Journal of Pharmacology (2004) 141, 775–785. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0705667