The results of recent clinical trials of medicinal cannabinoid drugs show that dizziness and vertigo are commonly reported adverse side-effects. Cannabinoid CB1 receptors were initially thought to be expressedin very low densities in the vestibular nucleus complex (VNC). Recent immunohistochemical studies have challenged this idea and suggested that CB1 receptors may exist in numbers similar to the granule cell layer of the cerebellum. This, together with evidence that brainstem CB1 receptors have a higher efficacy than those in many other parts of the brain and that application of cannabinoids can elicit potent electrophysiological effects in VNC neurons, suggests that CB1 receptors and their endogenous ligands may be important in central vestibular function. In this review, we consider the potential clinical significance of the endocannabinoid system for the development of vestibular disorders, the effects of recreational cannabis use and the therapeutic use of medicinal cannabinoids.

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