“The concept of the central nervous system (CNS) as an immune-privileged site, essentially due to the presence of the blood brain barrier, appears to be overly simplistic. Indeed, within healthy CNS immune activities are permitted and are required for neuronal function and host defense, not only due to the presence of the resident innate immune cells of the brain, but also by virtue of a complex cross-talk of the CNS with peripheral immune cells.
Nonetheless, long-standing and persisting neuroinflammatory responses are most often detrimental and characterize several neuroinflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
A growing body of evidence suggests that Cannabis sativa-derived phytocannabinoids, as well as synthetic cannabinoids, are endowed with significant immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, both in peripheral tissues and in the CNS, through the activation of cannabinoid receptors.
In this review, the immunomodulatory effects of cannabinoid signaling on the most relevant brain immune cells will be discussed. In addition, the impact of cannabinoid regulation on the overall integration of the manifold brain immune responses will also be highlighted, along with the implication of these compounds as potential agents for the management of neuroinflammatory disorders.”