Safety and Molecular-Toxicological Implications of Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract and Methylsulfonylmethane Co-Administration

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Oct 21;21(20):7808. doi: 10.3390/ijms21207808.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a biologically active, non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa whose popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. Besides a wealth of potential health benefits, ingestion of CBD poses risks for a number of side effects, of which hepatotoxicity and CBD/herb-drug interactions are of particular concern. Here, we investigated the interaction potential between the cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract (CRCE) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a popular dietary supplement, in the mouse model. For this purpose, 8-week-old male C57BL6/J mice received MSM-containing water (80 mg/100 mL) ad libitum for 17 days. During the last three days of treatment, mice received three doses of CRCE administered in sesame oil via oral gavage (123 mg/kg/day). Administration of MSM alone did not result in any evidence of liver toxicity and did not induce expression of mouse cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. Administration of CRCE did produce significant (p < 0.05) increases in Cyp1a2, Cyp2b10, Cyp2c29, Cyp3a4, Cyp3a11, Cyp2c65, and Cyp2c66 messenger RNA, however, this effect was not amplified by MSM/CRCE co-treatment. Similarly, no evidence of liver toxicity was observed in MSM/CRCE dosed mice. In conclusion, short-term MSM/CRCE co-administration did not demonstrate any evidence of hepatotoxicity in the mouse model.

Keywords: cannabidiol; cytochrome P450; dietary supplements; hemp extract; hepatotoxicity; herb-drug interaction; methylsulfonylmethane; safety; toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacokinetics
  • Cannabidiol / toxicity*
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / blood
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements / toxicity
  • Glutamine / analogs & derivatives
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Herb-Drug Interactions
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Taurine / analogs & derivatives
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Plant Extracts
  • Glutamine
  • Cannabidiol
  • Taurine
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • glutaurine
  • Alkaline Phosphatase