Endocannabinoids (eCBs), among which N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the most biologically active members, are polyunsaturated lipids able to bind cannabinoid, vanilloid and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. Depending on the target engaged, these bioactive mediators can regulate different signalling pathways, at both central and peripheral levels. The biological action of eCBs is tightly controlled by a plethora of metabolic enzymes which, together with the molecular targets of these substances, form the so-called "endocannabinoid system". The ability of eCBs to control manifold peripheral functions has received a great deal of attention, especially in the light of their widespread distribution in the body. In particular, eCBs are important regulators in blood, where they modulate haematopoiesis, platelet aggregation and apoptosis, as well as chemokine release and migration of immunocompetent cells. Here, we shall review the current knowledge on the pathophysiological roles of eCBs in blood. We shall also discuss the involvement of eCBs in those disorders affecting the haematological system, including cancer and inflammation. Knowledge gained to date underlines a fundamental role of the eCB system in blood, thus suggesting that it may represent a therapeutic promise for a broad range of diseases involving impaired hematopoietic cell functions.
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