Endocannabinoid metabolism by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases

Susan Zelasko, William R. Arnold, Aditi Das

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The endogenous cannabinoid system was first uncovered following studies of the recreational drug Cannabis sativa. It is now recognized as a vital network of signaling pathways that regulate several physiological processes. Following the initial discovery of the cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2), activated by Cannabis-derived analogs, many endogenous fatty acids termed "endocannabinoids" are now known to be partial agonists of the CB receptors. At present, the most thoroughly studied endocannabinoid signaling molecules are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), which are both derived from arachidonic acid. Both AEA and 2-AG are also substrates for the eicosanoid-synthesizing pathways, namely, certain cyclooxygenase (COX), lipoxygenase (LOX), and cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. In the past, research in the endocannabinoid field focused on the interaction of AEA and 2-AG with the COX and LOX enzymes, but accumulating evidence also points to the involvement of CYPs in modulating endocannabinoid signaling. The focus of this review is to explore the current understanding of CYP-mediated metabolism of endocannabinoids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalProstaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • 2-Arachidonylglycerol
  • Anandamide
  • CYP2J2
  • Cytochrome P450s
  • Eicosanoids
  • Endocannabinoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology


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