Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of cannabis, which does not cause the typical marijuana-type effects, but has a high potential for use in several therapeutic areas. In contrast to Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC), it binds very weakly to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It has potent activity in both in vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory assays. Thus, it lowers the formation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a proinflammatory cytokine, and was found to be an oral antiarthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis in vivo. However, in acidic media, it can cyclize to the psychoactive Δ(9)-THC. We report the synthesis of a novel CBD derivative, HU-444, which cannot be converted by acid cyclization into a Δ(9)-THC-like compound. In vitro HU-444 had anti-inflammatory activity (decrease of reactive oxygen intermediates and inhibition of TNF-α production by macrophages); in vivo it led to suppression of production of TNF-α and amelioration of liver damage as well as lowering of mouse collagen-induced arthritis. HU-444 did not cause Δ(9)-THC-like effects in mice. We believe that HU-444 represents a potential novel drug for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.