Distinct Effects of Cannabidiol on Sphingolipid Metabolism in Subcutaneous and Visceral Adipose Tissues Derived from High-Fat-Diet-Fed Male Wistar Rats

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 11;23(10):5382. doi: 10.3390/ijms23105382.


Available data suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may ameliorate symptoms of insulin resistance by modulating the sphingolipid concentrations in particular organs. However, it is not entirely clear whether its beneficial actions also involve adipose tissues in a state of overnutrition. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of CBD on sphingolipid metabolism pathways and, as a result, on the development of insulin resistance in subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissues of an animal model of HFD-induced insulin resistance. Our experiment was performed on Wistar rats that were fed with a high-fat diet and/or received intraperitoneal CBD injections. We showed that CBD significantly lowered the ceramide content in VAT by reducing its de novo synthesis and increasing its catabolism. However, in SAT, CBD decreased the ceramide level through the inhibition of salvage and de novo synthesis pathways. All of these changes restored adipose tissues' sensitivity to insulin. Our study showed that CBD sensitized adipose tissue to insulin by influencing the metabolism of sphingolipids under the conditions of increased availability of fatty acids in the diet. Therefore, we believe that CBD use may be considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for treating or reducing insulin resistance, T2DM, and metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: adipose tissue; cannabidiol; ceramide; insulin resistance; sphingolipids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Resistance* / physiology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sphingolipids


  • Ceramides
  • Insulin
  • Sphingolipids
  • Cannabidiol