A growing body of evidence supports an important role for the endocannabinoid system as a regulator of appetite, body weight, and systemic metabolism, which is overactive in obesity and type 2 diabetes. While initial attempts to target this system using the cannabinoid receptor inverse agonist rimonabant were successful in producing modest weight loss and improving obesity-related metabolic complications in humans, adverse central nervous system side effects precluded introduction of this drug into clinical practice. However, new data, presented by Tam and colleagues in this issue of the JCI, demonstrate that selective blockade of peripheral cannabinoid receptors may be a novel successful therapeutic approach.
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