From Cannabis sativa to Cannabidiol: Promising Therapeutic Candidate for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Front Pharmacol. 2020 Mar 6;11:124. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.00124. eCollection 2020.


Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana, contains a pool of secondary plant metabolites with therapeutic effects. Besides Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol that is the principal psychoactive constituent of Cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoid and may represent a prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development for human pathologies where both the inflammation and oxidative stress (OS) play an important role to their etiology and progression. To this regard, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), the most common neurodegenerative disorders, are characterized by extensive oxidative damage to different biological substrates that can cause cell death by different pathways. Most cases of neurodegenerative diseases have a complex etiology with a variety of factors contributing to the progression of the neurodegenerative processes; therefore, promising treatment strategies should simultaneously target multiple substrates in order to stop and/or slow down the neurodegeneration. In this context, CBD, which interacts with the eCB system, but has also cannabinoid receptor-independent mechanism, might be a good candidate as a prototype for anti-oxidant drug development for the major neurodegenerative disorders, such as PD and AD. This review summarizes the multiple molecular pathways that underlie the positive effects of CBD, which may have a considerable impact on the progression of the major neurodegenerative disorders.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cannabis sativa; Parkinson's disease; cannabidiol; oxidative stress; phytocannabinoids.

Publication types

  • Review