Dr. Piomelli was trained in neuroscience and pharmacology. Research in his lab is focused on the function of lipid-derived messengers, with particular emphasis on the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Current research efforts converge on three areas: formation and deactivation of anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol; physiological roles of the endogenous cannabinoid system; development of therapeutic agents that target anandamide and 2-arachidonylglycerol metabolism.
Primary neural cell cultures and state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography/mass-spectrometry are used to investigate formation and deactivation of anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol in brain cells. Protein purification and cloning approaches are employed to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. Cellular pharmacology and medicinal chemistry, in collaboration with leading international labs, are used to identify pharmacological agents that interfere with various aspects of endogenous cannabinoid function, and their therapeutic potential is explored in vitro and in vivo.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Anatomy & Neurobiology
The Ester Fride Award for Basic Research (professional)
2017 The International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
The Mechoulam Award (professional)
2017 The International Cannabinoid Research Society
Avant-Garde Award for Innovative Medication Development Research (professional)
2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
European Lipid Science Award (professional)
2012 European Federation of Lipid Science
Columbia University: PhD, Pharmacology 1988
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) : Member
- American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) : Member
- American Physiological Society (APS) : Member
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biolology (ASBMB) : Member
- American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) : Member
- International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) : Member
- Society of Biological Psychiatry (SBP) : Member
Media Appearances (5)
First study to look at the use of cannabinoids for treating acute pain
Health Europa online
Editor-in-Chief Daniele Piomelli, PhD University of California-Irvine, School of Medicine, states: “The usefulness of cannabis-derived medicines in the treatment of pain, both acute and chronic, is still vigorously debated. The meta-analysis conducted in this study reinforces the need for more rigorous studies to assess whether cannabis might be effective in the treatment of acute pain conditions.”
Using cannabinoids to treat acute pain
Editor-in-Chief Daniele Piomelli, PhD University of California-Irvine, School of Medicine, states: "The usefulness of cannabis-derived medicines in the treatment of pain, both acute and chronic, is still vigorously debated. The meta-analysis conducted in this study reinforces the need for more rigorous studies to assess whether cannabis might be effective in the treatment of acute pain conditions."
The Real Buzz On Cannabis
Orange County Business Journal online
Editor’s Note: California’s legalization of cannabis has created opportunity in Orange County as serious investors have told the Business Journal they are looking to invest in the industry, from real estate to research to starting companies...
How CBD and THC balance each other out in marijuana
ABC News online
Daniele Piomelli, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Irvine who was not involved in the study, said CBD has been long suspected to modulate the effects of THC, but the mechanism has remained unclear. "This study is interesting because it provides at the molecular and synaptic level a mechanism by which CBD can counter THC," he said.
Society of Cannabis Clinicians announces its official journal
Health Europa online
Daniele Piomelli, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research said: “Changes in the legal landscape are generating new interest in cannabis as a medicine and are posing important scientific and educational challenges.
Cannabinoid CB 2 Receptors Mediate the Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Monoacylglycerol Lipase Inhibition in a Rat Model of Predator-Induced FearNeuropsychopharmacology
2020 The endocannabinoid system is a key regulator of the response to psychological stress. Inhibitors of monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), the enzyme that deactivates the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG), exert anxiolytic-like effects in rodent models via 2-AG-dependent activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
Comparative Pharmacokinetics of Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Adolescent and Adult Male MiceJ Pharmacol Exp Ther.
2020 We investigated the pharmacokinetic properties of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, in adolescent and adult male mice. The drug was administered at logarithmically ascending doses (0.5, 1.6, and 5 mg/kg, i.p.) to pubertal adolescent (37-day-old) and adult (70-day-old) mice.
N-Acylethanolamine Acid Amidase (NAAA): Structure, Function, and InhibitionJ Med Chem
2020 N-Acylethanolamine acid amidase (NAAA) is an N-terminal cysteine hydrolase primarily found in the endosomal-lysosomal compartment of innate and adaptive immune cells. NAAA catalyzes the hydrolytic deactivation of palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), a lipid-derived peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α) agonist that exerts profound anti-inflammatory effects in animal models.
Inhibition of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase in the CNS Prevents and Reverses Morphine Tolerance in Male and Female MiceBr J Pharmacol
2020 Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is an intracellular serine amidase that terminates the signalling of various lipid messengers involved in pain regulation, including anandamide and palmitoylethanolamide. Here, we investigated the effects of pharmacological or genetic FAAH removal on tolerance to the anti-nociceptive effects of morphine.
Benzisothiazolinone Derivatives as Potent Allosteric Monoacylglycerol Lipase Inhibitors That Functionally Mimic Sulfenylation of Regulatory CysteinesJ Med Chem
2020 We describe a set of benzisothiazolinone (BTZ) derivatives that are potent inhibitors of monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL), the primary degrading enzyme for the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol (2-AG). Structure-activity relationship studies evaluated various substitutions on the nitrogen atom and the benzene ring of the BTZ nucleus. Optimized derivatives with nanomolar potency allowed us to investigate the mechanism of MGL inhibition.
Next Stop for Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Inhibitors, the Clinic?Biol Psychiatry