“Cardiovascular disease is now recognized as the number one cause of death in the world, and the size of the population at risk continues to increase rapidly. The dysregulation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays a central role in a wide variety of conditions including cardiovascular disorders. Cannabinoid receptors, their endogenous ligands, as well as enzymes conferring their synthesis and degradation, exhibit overlapping distributions in the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, the pharmacological manipulation of the eCB system has effects on blood pressure, cardiac contractility, and endothelial vasomotor control. Growing evidence from animal studies supports the significance of the eCB system in cardiovascular disorders.
Drugs targeting CB1R, CB2R, TRPV1 and PPARs are proven effective in animal models mimicking cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Despite the setback of two clinical trials that exhibited unexpected harmful side-effects, preclinical studies are accelerating the development of more selective drugs with promising results devoid of adverse effects.
Over the last years, increasing evidence from basic and clinical research supports the role of the eCB system in cardiovascular function. Whereas new discoveries are paving the way for the identification of novel drugs and therapeutic targets, the close cooperation of researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies is needed to achieve successful outcomes.”