Dentate gyrus of the hippocampus continuously gives rise to new neurons, namely, adult-born granule cells, which contribute to conferring plasticity to the mature brain throughout life. Within this neurogenic region, the fate and behavior of neural stem cells (NSCs) and their progeny result from a complex balance and integration of a variety of cell-autonomous and cell-to-cell-interaction signals and underlying pathways. Among these structurally and functionally diverse signals, there are endocannabinoids (eCBs), the main brain retrograde messengers. These pleiotropic bioactive lipids can directly influence and/or indirectly adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) by modulating, both positively and negatively, multiple molecular and cellular processes in the hippocampal niche, depending on the cell type or stage of differentiation. Firstly, eCBs act directly as cell-intrinsic factors, cell-autonomously produced by NSCs following their stimulation. Secondly, in many, if not all, niche-associated cells, including some local neuronal and nonneuronal elements, the eCB system indirectly modulates the neurogenesis, linking neuronal and glial activity to regulating distinct stages of AHN. Herein, we discuss the crosstalk of the eCB system with other neurogenesis-relevant signal pathways and speculate how the hippocampus-dependent neurobehavioral effects elicited by (endo)cannabinergic medications are interpretable in light of the key regulatory role that eCBs play on AHN.
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