Study highlights anti-inflammatory action of cannabinoids

German researchers have shed new light on how cannabinoids could potentially reduce inflammation in the body, with CBD proving particularly effective. Cannabidiol acts as a molecular switch in innate immune cells to promote the biosynthesis of inflammation-resolving lipid mediators

La Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, in Germany, has studied how certain compounds found in the cannabis plant work to counteract inflammation in the body.

Previous studies have already shown that cannabis is not only an analgesic and antispasmodic, but also has an anti-inflammatory effect. However, the reason for this anti-inflammatory effect was unclear until now.

Researchers studied the action of different cannabinoids, including the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), on human immune cells.

The eight cannabinoids studied were found to be have anti-inflammatory effects, according to the study published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

Lukas Peltner, doctoral student and co-author of the study, said: “All of the compounds we studied inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory messenger substances in cells while enhancing the formation of substances that resolve inflammation.”

Cannabinoids are phytochemical compounds in cannabis with anti-inflammatory actions on the immune system

CBD, the most effective anti-inflammatory

CBD in particular was found to be very effective and the team studied it in more detail regarding its mode of action. In summary :

  • • CBD induces a change in lipid mediator class
  • • CBD causes the formation of 15-lipoxygenase products in resting human macrophages
  • • CBD apparently activates 15-lipoxygenase-1 via an allosteric site
  • • In zymosan-induced murine peritonitis, CBD increases SPM production in vivo

Researchers were able to determine that CBD activates the enzyme 15-lipoxygenase-1, which triggers the production of messenger substances that resolve inflammation and subsequently cause a reduction in inflammation.

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The researchers were also able to confirm these results, obtained in cell cultures, during animal experiments on mice.

Co-author Dr. Paul Mike Jordan explains: “CBD therefore induces a change in the affected cells, so to speak, which shifts the inflammatory process from the promoting side to the inhibiting side.

In the long term, the knowledge acquired could lead to new therapeutic strategies to treat inflammatory diseases, conclude the researchers.

They add that the focus should be on CBD, which was found to be the most effective cannabinoid in the study.

The research was carried out at the PolyTarget and ChemBioSys collaborative research centers at the University of Jena, Germany, and was funded by the German Research Foundation.

Tags : Anti-inflammatorycannabidiolEtude

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