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Pharmacology. 2012;90(1-2):1-10. doi: 10.1159/000339072. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

The gastrointestinal pharmacology of cannabinoids: focus on motility.

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Departamento de Farmacología y Nutrición, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorcón, España.


The marijuana plant Cannabis sp. and its derivatives and analogues, known as cannabinoids (CBs), induce many effects throughout the whole body. Herein we briefly review the gastrointestinal (GI) pharmacology of CBs, with special focus on motor function. Some drugs are available to treat nausea and emesis, and evidences in humans and animal models suggest that other GI motility alterations (gastro-oesophageal reflux, inflammatory bowel conditions or paralytic ileus) might benefit from modifications of the CB tone throughout the gut. However, central and peripheral (including GI) side effects may occur upon acute and chronic CB administration. Hopefully, the ongoing worldwide intense research on CBs will soon provide new, safer CB-based medicines.

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