Endocannabinoid signaling and food addiction

C. D'Addario, M. V. Micioni Di Bonaventura, M. Pucci, A. Romano, S. Gaetani, R. Ciccocioppo, C. Cifani, M. Maccarrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overeating, frequently linked to an increasing incidence of overweight and obesity, has become epidemic and one of the leading global health problems. To explain the development of this eating behavior, new hypotheses involve the concept that many people might be addicted to food by losing control over their ability to regulate food intake. Among the different neurotransmitter networks that partake in the reward circuitry within the brain, a large body of evidence supports the involvement of the endocannabinoid system. Indeed, its dysfunctions might contribute to food addiction, by regulating appetite and food preference through central and peripheral mechanisms. Here, we review and discuss the role of endocannabinoid signaling in the reward circuitry, and the possible therapeutic exploitation of strategies based on its fine regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-224
Number of pages22
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Endocannabinoid signaling
  • Food addiction
  • Food intake regulation and energy balance
  • Food reward mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


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