Cannabidiol in vivo blunts beta-amyloid induced neuroinflammation by suppressing IL-1beta and iNOS expression

Br J Pharmacol. 2007

Esposito G1, Scuderi C, Savani C, Steardo L Jr, De Filippis D, Cottone P, Iuvone T, Cuomo V, Steardo L.


Pharmacological inhibition of beta-amyloid (Abeta) induced reactive gliosis may represent a novel rationale to develop drugs able to blunt neuronal damage and slow the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychotropic natural cannabinoid, exerts in vitro a combination of neuroprotective effects in different models of Abeta neurotoxicity. The present study, performed in a mouse model of AD-related neuroinflammation, was aimed at confirming in vivo the previously reported antiinflammatory properties of CBD.

Mice were inoculated with human Abeta (1-42) peptide into the right dorsal hippocampus, and treated daily with vehicle or CBD (2.5 or 10 mg kg(-1), i.p.) for 7 days. mRNA for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was assessed by in situ hybridization. Protein expression of GFAP, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and IL-1beta was determined by immunofluorescence analysis. In addition, ELISA assay of IL-1beta level and the measurement of NO were performed in dissected and homogenized ipsilateral hippocampi, derived from vehicle and Abeta inoculated mice, in the absence or presence of CBD.

In contrast to vehicle, CBD dose-dependently and significantly inhibited GFAP mRNA and protein expression in Abeta injected animals. Moreover, under the same experimental conditions, CBD impaired iNOS and IL-1beta protein expression, and the related NO and IL-1beta release.

The results of the present study confirm in vivo anti-inflammatory actions of CBD, emphasizing the importance of this compound as a novel promising pharmacological tool capable of attenuating Abeta evoked neuroinflammatory responses.


Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013

Fernández-Ruiz J, Sagredo O, Pazos MR, García C, Pertwee R, Mechoulam R, Martínez-Orgado J


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid with therapeutic properties for numerous disorders exerted through molecular mechanisms that are yet to be completely identified. CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-oxidant, anti-emetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia, respectively. The neuroprotective potential of CBD, based on the combination of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, is of particular interest and is presently under intense preclinical research in numerous neurodegenerative disorders. In fact, CBD combined with Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol is already under clinical evaluation in patients with Huntington's disease to determine its potential as a disease-modifying therapy. The neuroprotective properties of CBD do not appear to be exerted by the activation of key targets within the endocannabinoid system for plant-derived cannabinoids like Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, i.e. CB(1) and CB(2) receptors, as CBD has negligible activity at these cannabinoid receptors, although certain activity at the CB(2) receptor has been documented in specific pathological conditions (i.e. damage of immature brain). Within the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on the inactivation of endocannabinoids (i.e. inhibition of FAAH enzyme), thereby enhancing the action of these endogenous molecules on cannabinoid receptors, which is also noted in certain pathological conditions. CBD acts not only through the endocannabinoid system, but also causes direct or indirect activation of metabotropic receptors for serotonin or adenosine, and can target nuclear receptors of the PPAR family and also ion channels.


Tetrahydrocannabinol for neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia: A randomized controlled trial


van den Elsen GA, Ahmed AI, Verkes RJ, Kramers C, Feuth T, Rosenberg PB, van der Marck MA, Olde Rikkert MG.


To study the efficacy and safety of low-dose oral tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the treatment of dementia-related neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS).

This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Patients with dementia and clinically relevant NPS were randomly assigned to receive THC 1.5 mg or matched placebo (1:1) 3 times daily for 3 weeks. Primary outcome was change in Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), assessed at baseline and after 14 and 21 days. Analyses were based on intention-to-treat.

Twenty-four patients received THC and 26 received placebo. NPS were reduced during both treatment conditions. The difference in reduction from baseline between THC and placebo was not significant (mean difference NPItotal: 3.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] -3.6 to 10.0), nor were changes in scores for agitation (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory 4.6, 95% CI -3.0 to 12.2), quality of life (Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease -0.5, 95% CI -2.6 to 1.6), or activities of daily living (Barthel Index 0.6, 95% CI -0.8 to 1.9). The number of patients experiencing mild or moderate adverse events was similar (THC, n = 16; placebo, n = 14, p = 0.36). No effects on vital signs, weight, or episodic memory were observed.

Oral THC of 4.5 mg daily showed no benefit in NPS, but was well-tolerated, which adds valuable knowledge to the scarce evidence on THC in dementia. The benign adverse event profile of this dosage allows study of whether higher doses are efficacious and equally well-tolerated.

This study provides Class I evidence that for patients with dementia-related NPS, low-dose THC does not significantly reduce NPS at 21 days, though it is well-tolerated.