The Effects of Cannabidiol on the Antigen-Induced Contraction of Airways Smooth Muscle in the Guinea-Pig

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun;26(3):373-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


(-)-Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects in the airways, but its psychoactive effects preclude its therapeutic use for the treatment of airways diseases. In the present study we have investigated the effects of (-)-cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of cannabis for its actions on bronchial smooth muscle in vitro and in vivo. Guinea-pig bronchial smooth muscle contractions induced by exogenously applied spasmogens were measured isometrically. In addition, contractile responses of bronchial smooth muscle from ovalbumin-sensitized guinea-pigs were investigated in the absence or presence of (-)-cannabidiol. Furthermore, the effect of (-)-cannabidiol against ovalbumin-induced airway obstruction was investigated in vivo in ovalbumin-sensitized guinea-pigs. (-)-Cannabidiol did not influence the bronchial smooth muscle contraction induced by carbachol, histamine or neurokinin A. In contrast, (-)-cannabidiol inhibited anandamide- and virodhamine-induced responses of isolated bronchi. A fatty acid amide hydrolase inhibitor, phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride reversed the inhibitory effect of (-)-cannabidiol on anandamide-induced contractions. In addition, (-)-cannabidiol inhibited the contractile response of bronchi obtained from allergic guinea-pigs induced by ovalbumin. In vivo, (-)-cannabidiol reduced ovalbumin-induced airway obstruction. In conclusion, our results suggest that cannabidiol can influence antigen-induced airway smooth muscle tone suggesting that this molecule may have beneficial effects in the treatment of obstructive airway disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / pharmacology
  • Bronchi / drug effects*
  • Bronchi / immunology
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Carbachol / pharmacology
  • Endocannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histamine / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / immunology
  • Neurokinin A / pharmacology
  • Ovalbumin / pharmacology
  • Phenylmethylsulfonyl Fluoride / pharmacology
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • virodhamine
  • Cannabidiol
  • Phenylmethylsulfonyl Fluoride
  • Histamine
  • Neurokinin A
  • Carbachol
  • Ovalbumin
  • anandamide