Cannabidiol (CBD) enhances lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced pulmonary inflammation in C57BL/6 mice

J Immunotoxicol. Jul-Sep 2013;10(3):321-8. doi: 10.3109/1547691X.2012.741628. Epub 2012 Nov 23.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-derived cannabinoid that has been predominantly characterized as anti-inflammatory. However, it is clear that immune effects of cannabinoids can vary with cannabinoid concentration, or type or magnitude of immune stimulus. The present studies demonstrate that oral administration of CBD enhanced lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced pulmonary inflammation in C57BL/6 mice. The enhanced inflammatory cell infiltrate as observed in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was comprised mainly of neutrophils, with some monocytes. Concomitantly, CBD enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA production, including tumor necrosis factor-α (Tnfa), interleukins (IL)-5 and -23 (Il6, Il23), and granulocyte colony stimulating factor (Gcsf). These results demonstrate that the CBD-mediated enhancement of LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation is mediated at the level of transcription of a variety of pro-inflammatory genes. The significance of these studies is that CBD is part of a therapeutic currently in use for spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis patients, and therefore it is important to further understand mechanisms by which CBD alters immune function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Cannabidiol / adverse effects*
  • Cannabidiol / agonists
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / adverse effects*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / agonists
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Pneumonia / chemically induced
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Pneumonia / pathology


  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Cannabidiol