The endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R), and their endogenous activators, the endocannabinoids, has emerged as an important neuromodulator system. Our understanding of the endocannabinoid system has significantly advanced in limbic system areas such as the hippocampus and the amygdala. However, the study of this signaling system in the olfactory pathway is still in its infancy. Here, we review the role of endocannabinoids as signaling molecules in activity-dependent regulation of dynamically changing neural networks in the limbic and olfactory system and the relevance of the endocannabinoid system for synaptic plasticity. We highlight the prospects for cannabinoid-based therapies in the treatment of various brain disorders and the role of endocannabinoids as neuroprotective agents. An increased understanding of cannabinoid signaling has the potential to pave the way for developing cannabis-related substances as medications.
Part of the book: Cannabinoids in Health and Disease