Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 369, Issue 3, pp 294–299 | Cite as

Oral anti-inflammatory activity of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis, in acute carrageenan-induced inflammation in the rat paw

  • Barbara Costa
  • Mariapia Colleoni
  • Silvia Conti
  • Daniela Parolaro
  • Chiara Franke
  • Anna Elisa Trovato
  • Gabriella Giagnoni
Original Article


Cannabidiol, the major non-psychoactive component of marijuana, has various pharmacological actions of clinical interest. It is reportedly effective as an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. The present study examined the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic effects of cannabidiol, administered orally (5–40 mg/kg) once a day for 3 days after the onset of acute inflammation induced by intraplantar injection of 0.1 ml carrageenan (1% w/v in saline) in the rat. At the end of the treatment prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was assayed in the plasma, and cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, production of nitric oxide (NO; nitrite/nitrate content), and of other oxygen-derived free radicals (malondialdehyde) in inflamed paw tissues. All these markers were significantly increased following carrageenan.

Thermal hyperalgesia, induced by carrageenan and assessed by the plantar test, lasted 7 h. Cannabidiol had a time- and dose-dependent anti-hyperalgesic effect after a single injection. Edema following carrageenan peaked at 3 h and lasted 72 h; a single dose of cannabidiol reduced edema in a dose-dependent fashion and subsequent daily doses caused further time- and dose-related reductions.

There were decreases in PGE2 plasma levels, tissue COX activity, production of oxygen-derived free radicals, and NO after three doses of cannabidiol. The effect on NO seemed to depend on a lower expression of the endothelial isoform of NO synthase. In conclusion, oral cannabidiol has a beneficial action on two symptoms of established inflammation: edema and hyperalgesia.


Cannabinoids Cannabidiol Carrageenan Inflammation Hyperalgesia COX system NO system 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Costa
    • 1
  • Mariapia Colleoni
    • 2
  • Silvia Conti
    • 1
  • Daniela Parolaro
    • 3
  • Chiara Franke
    • 2
  • Anna Elisa Trovato
    • 1
  • Gabriella Giagnoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e BioscienzeUniversità di Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di FarmacologiaUniversità di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Biologia Strutturale e Funzionale, Sezione di FarmacologiaUniversità dell’InsubriaBusto Arsizio, VareseItaly

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