The Mechanism of Cannabichromene and Cannabidiol Alone Versus in Combination in the Alleviation of Arthritis-Related Inflammation

Ann Plast Surg. 2023 Jun 1;90(6S Suppl 4):S408-S415. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000003547. Epub 2023 May 31.


Background: Patients suffering from arthritis have limited treatment options for nonoperative management. In search of pain relief, patients have been taking over-the-counter cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabichromene (CBC) are minor cannabinoids with reported analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and have been implicated as potential therapeutics for arthritis-related pain. To this end, we utilized a murine model to investigate the effectiveness of and mechanism by which CBC alone, CBD alone, or CBD and CBC in combination may provide a reduction in arthritis-associated inflammation.

Methods: Forty-eight mice were included in the study, which were separated into 4 groups: control group (n = 12), treatment with CBD alone (n = 12), treatment with CBC alone (n = 12), and treatment with CBD + CBC (n = 12). We induced inflammation in each mouse utilizing the collagen-induced arthritis model. At scheduled timepoints, mice were clinically assessed for weight gain, swelling, and arthritis severity. In addition, inflammation-associated serum cytokine levels were analyzed for each animal.

Results: Thirty-five of 48 mice survived the duration of the study resulting in the following group numbers: control group (n = 8), treatment with CBD alone (n = 9), treatment with CBC alone (n = 9), and treatment with CBD + CBC (n = 9). Animals treated with CBC and CBD + CBC showed significant weight gain between 3 and 5 weeks. Irrespective of treatment, regression analysis comparing all cytokine measurement and physical outcomes found a significant positive correlation between levels of 5 individual cytokines and both arthritis scores and swelling. Animals treated with CBD + CBC showed a significant decrease in swelling between 3 and 5 weeks compared with the control group. Cannabinoid treatment selectively affected the gene expression of eotaxin and lipopolysaccharide-induced CXC chemokine with combined treatment of CBC + CBD.

Conclusion: Treatment with cannabinoids resulted in decreased clinical markers of inflammation. Further, the anti-inflammatory effect of CBC and CBD in conjunction was associated with a greater anti-inflammatory effect than either minor cannabinoid alone. Future work will elucidate the possibility of synergistic or entourage effects of minor cannabinoids used in combination for the treatment of arthritis-related pain and inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis* / etiology
  • Cannabidiol* / metabolism
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Cannabinoids* / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids* / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids* / therapeutic use
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pain


  • cannabichromene
  • Cannabidiol
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cytokines