“Cannabinoids, components of the Cannabis sativa (marijuana) plant, are known to exert potent anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and analgesic effects through activation of cannabinoid-1 and -2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors located in the central nervous system and immune cells.
The limitation of the therapeutic utility of the major cannabinoid, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the development of psychoactive effects through central nervous system CB1 receptor. In contrast, cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most abundant cannabinoids of Cannabis sativa with reported antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects is well tolerated without side effects when chronically administered to humans and is devoid of psychoactive properties due to a low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
A nonpsychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to exert potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and has recently been reported to lower the incidence of diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice and to preserve the blood-retinal barrier in experimental diabetes.
In this study we have investigated the effects of CBD on high glucose (HG)-induced, mitochondrial superoxide generation, NF-κB activation, nitrotyrosine formation, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression, monocyte-endothelial adhesion, transendothelial migration of monocytes, and disruption of endothelial barrier function in human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs).
HG markedly increased mitochondrial superoxide generation (measured by flow cytometry using MitoSOX), NF-κB activation, nitrotyrosine formation, upregulation of iNOS and adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, transendothelial migration of monocytes, and monocyte-endothelial adhesion in HCAECs. HG also decreased endothelial barrier function measured by increased permeability and diminished expression of vascular endothelial cadherin in HCAECs.
Remarkably, all the above mentioned effects of HG were attenuated by CBD pretreatment.
Since a disruption of the endothelial function and integrity by HG is a crucial early event underlying the development of various diabetic complications, our results suggest that CBD, which has recently been approved for the treatment of inflammation, pain, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis in humans, may have significant therapeutic benefits against diabetic complications and atherosclerosis.
Collectively, our results suggest that the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid CBD have significant therapeutic benefits against diabetic complications and atherosclerosis by attenuating HG-induced mitochondrial superoxide generation, increased NF-κB activation, upregulation of iNOS and adhesion molecules, 3-NT formation, monocyte-endothelial adhesion, TEM of monocytes, and disruption of the endothelial barrier function.
This is particularly encouraging in light of the excellent safety and tolerability profile of CBD in humans.”