Cannabinoids in intestinal inflammation and cancer

Angelo A. Izzo, Michael Camilleri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence suggests that cannabinoids may exert beneficial effects in intestinal inflammation and cancer. Adaptive changes of the endocannabinoid system have been observed in intestinal biopsies from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. Studies on epithelial cells have shown that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative, antimetastatic and apoptotic effects as well as reducing cytokine release and promoting wound healing. In vivo, cannabinoids - via direct or indirect activation of CB1 and/or CB2 receptors - exert protective effects in well-established models of intestinal inflammation and colon cancer. Pharmacological elevation of endocannabinoid levels may be a promising strategy to counteract intestinal inflammation and colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacological Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Acylethanolamides
  • Anandamide
  • Apoptosis
  • Cannabidiol
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Colon cancer
  • Diarrhoea
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase
  • Gut
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal motility
  • Phytocannabinoids
  • Prostamides
  • Visceral pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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