At the heart of the matter: the endocannabinoid system in cardiovascular function and dysfunction.Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Jun; 33(6):331-40.TP
Starting from the well-documented effects of marijuana smoking on heart rate and blood pressure, the cardiovascular effects of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main psychotropic ingredient of Cannabis) and endocannabinoids [THC endogenous counterparts that activate cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB₁) and 2 (CB₂)] have been thoroughly investigated. These studies were mostly aimed at establishing the molecular bases of the hypotensive actions of THC, endocannabinoids and related molecules, but also evaluated their therapeutic potential in cardiac injury protection, metabolic cardiovascular risk factors and atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability. The results of these investigations, reviewed here, also served to highlight some of the most peculiar aspects of endocannabinoid signaling, such as redundancy in endocannabinoid targets and the often dualistic role of CB₁ and CB₂ receptors during pathological conditions.