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Study sheds light on anti-inflammatory action of cannabinoids

Researchers say CBD in particular proved to be highly effective.



Researchers have been investigating how cannabinoids target inflammation in the body.

Researchers in Germany have shed new light on how cannabinoids could potentially reduce inflammation in the body, with CBD found to be particularly effective.

Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena in Germany, have been investigating how certain compounds found in the cannabis plant work to counteract inflammation in the body. 

It was already known from previous studies that cannabis is not only an analgesic and an antispasmodic, but also has an anti-inflammatory effect. 

However the reason for this anti-inflammatory effect was largely unclear until now.

The researchers studied how different cannabinoids, including the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) act on human immune cells.

All eight cannabinoids studied were found to have  anti-inflammatory effects according to the study, which is published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology

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

CBD found to be most effective anti-inflammatory

CBD in particular proved to be highly effective and the team investigated it in more detail with regard to its mode of action. 

The researchers were able to determine that CBD activates the 15-lipoxygenase-1 enzyme, which triggers the production of inflammation-resolving messenger substances that subsequently cause the inflammation to subside. 

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

Co-author, Dr Paul Mike Jordan, explained: “CBD thus induces a switch in the affected cells, so to speak, which steers the inflammatory process from the promoting to the inhibiting side.”

In the long term, the insights gained could lead to new therapeutic strategies for treating inflammatory diseases, the researchers conclude. 

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 within the Collaborative Research Centres PolyTarget and ChemBioSys of the University of Jena, Germany and has been funded by the German Research Foundation.

Read more about the study here 

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