The endocannabinoid system as a target for obesity treatment

  • Muhammad Khan
  • John P. H. Wilding
Part of the Milestones in Drug Therapy book series (MDT)


During the past 30 years the prevalence of obesity has risen substantially in most developed countries. Across the world obesity is becoming one of the most preventable and modifiable metabolic disorders. There is evidence linking obesity to an increased risk of more than 30 medical conditions, raising an appropriate concern that this alarming trend will have major health consequences [1]. Serious conditions such as increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary heart disease, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea and cancer, higher overall mortality rate and decreased lifespan have been associated with obesity [2, 3]. Morbid obesity can cause a decrease in life expectancy among young adults by as much as 5–20 years [4]. In addition to being a chief health concern, obesity is also becoming a major economic problem with significant consequences for health services worldwide. During the last 20 years beneficial trends have been evident in many cardiovascular disease risk factors including smoking, relative saturated fat intakes and cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, the parallel increase in adverse factors such as increased energy density of foods and reduced exercise, resulting in obesity, has counterbalanced or may have overwhelmed these benefits causing a growing prevalence of obesity-associated cardiometabolic disease [5]. The awareness of the health consequences of overweight and obesity, the benefits of modest weight loss and the frequent failure of lifestyle interventions for both weight loss and weight loss maintenance has led to the search for effective anti-obesity treatment.


Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Metabolic Risk Factor Obesity Treatment Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Khan
    • 1
  • John P. H. Wilding
    • 1
  1. 1.Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinical Research GroupUniversity Hospital Aintree, Clinical Sciences CentreLiverpoolUK

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