Anti-inflammatory potential of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in hyperinsulinemia: an experimental study

Mol Biol Rep. 2022 Dec;49(12):11891-11899. doi: 10.1007/s11033-022-07996-9. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


Background: Hyperinsulinemia (HI) means that the amount of insulin in the blood is higher than normal and is often associated with type 2 diabetes. It is known that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) obtained from a medicinal plant, Cannabis sativa, has therapeutic effects on many diseases.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effects of THC on inflammatory and oxidant status in rat pancreas with HI.

Methods: Rats were divided into groups; Control, HI, THC and HI + THC. Each group consists of 8 animals. HI and HI + THC groups were given 10% fructose in the drinking water for 12 weeks. In the last four weeks of the experiment, 1.5 mg kg-1 THC was injected intraperitoneally daily into THC and HI + THC groups. The expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) were detected. JNK/SAPK and Grap2/p38 levels, total antioxidant and oxidant capacities (TAC and TOC) were analyzed in the pancreas.

Results: Levels of IL-6, NF-κβ, and TNF-α mRNA expression were higher in the pancreas with HI than in the control (p < 0.001 for all). THC treatment reduced the expression of IL-6, NF-κβ, and TNF-α mRNAs in the HI + THC group compared to the HI group (p < 0.001 for all). TOC increased in the HI group compared to the control group (p < 0.001). However, THC treatment reduced TOC levels in the HI + THC group compared to the HI group (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: According to the results, the THC treatment may regulate inflammation and TOC in rats with hyperinsulinemia. Thus, we can say that THC may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential in metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Immunohistochemistry; Inflammation; Oxidative damage; Pancreas; THC.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Hyperinsulinism* / drug therapy
  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oxidants
  • Rats
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Dronabinol
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-6
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • NF-kappa B
  • Oxidants