Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 11–18 | Cite as

Cannabinoids in Models of Chronic Inflammatory Conditions

  • Raphael Mechoulam
  • Percy F. Sumariwalla
  • Marc Feldmann
  • Ruth Gallily
Open Access


Cannabis sativa has been used as an anti-inflammatory plant for millennia. However until the elucidation of the chemistry of its constituents and the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid system only a limited amount of research had been done on the effects of the plant or its constituents on inflammation. In the present overview we summarize our work on the effects of the non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) and of a synthetic cannabidiol-derived acid (HU-320) in animal models of arthritis. Both compounds block progression of the disease, when administered after its onset. Cannabidiol was equally effective was administered i.p. or orally. Significant protection of the joints against severe damage was noted. In vitro cannabidiol reduced lymphocyte proliferation, and TNF-α formation and blocked zymosan-triggered production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). Ex vivo lymph node cells from CBD-treated mice showed a decrease of collagen II-specific proliferation and IFN-γ production. A decreased release of TNF by knee synovial cells was also noted. A synthetic cannabidiol derivative, HU-320 also inhibited production of TNF and ROI by mouse macrophages in vitro and suppressed in vivo rise in serum TNF following endotoxin challenge. HU-320 showed no activity in a standard assay for THC-type psychotropic effects. These results suggest that CBD and HU-320 hold promise as potential novel anti-inflammatory agents.


cannabidiol HU-320 murine collagen-induced arthritis rheumatoid arthritis TNF-α 







collagen-induced arthritis


collagen type II








nitric oxide


reactive oxygen intermediates




tumor necrosis factor


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael Mechoulam
    • 1
  • Percy F. Sumariwalla
    • 2
  • Marc Feldmann
    • 2
  • Ruth Gallily
    • 3
  1. 1.Pharmacy School, Medical Faculty, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural ProductsHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Kennedy Institute of RheumatologyImperial CollegeLondon
  3. 3.The Lauten- berg Center of General and Tumor Immunology, Medical FacultyHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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