The endocannabinoid system comprises the cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids), and the proteins responsible for their biosynthesis and degradation. This ubiquitous signalling system, that has attracted a great deal of scientist interest in the past 15 years, regulates several physiological and pathological functions. In mammals, among other functions, the endocannabinoid is involved in nervous, cardiovascular, metabolic, reproductive and immune functions. Finally, yet importantly, endocannabinoids are known to exert important antiproliferative actions in a great number of tumor cells including breast, brain, skin, thyroid, prostate and colorectal.
The following review describes our current knowledge on the effects of two of the most studied endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG) on various types of tumor and summarizes the possible mechanism of observed antitumor effects.