Cannabis sativa L. roots from Northeast Brazil reduce abdominal contortions in a mouse model of primary dysmenorrhea

J Ethnopharmacol. 2024 Jan 10;318(Pt A):116891. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2023.116891. Epub 2023 Jul 8.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Although the root of Cannabis sativa L. has been mentioned in some regions, such as the Vale do São Francisco, for its potential traditional medicinal use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and against gastrointestinal diseases, it has received little exploration and discussion.

Aim of the study: This study aimed to perform a chemical analysis of an aqueous extract of Cannabis sativa roots (AqECsR) and evaluate its pharmacological effects against uterine disorders, in vivo and ex vivo, in rodents.

Materials and methods: The roots were provided by the Brazilian Federal Police, and the freeze-dried extract was used for the chemical analysis of the AqECsR by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). The sample was subsequently used in three doses for pharmacological assays (12.5, 25, and 50 mg/kg), which included the spasmolytic activity test and the primary dysmenorrhea test. The primary dysmenorrhea test aimed to verify the effect of AqECsR on induced abdominal contortions in female mice in vivo and to perform a morphometric analysis of the organs. Association tests at subtherapeutic doses of AqECsR with antidysmenorrheic drugs were also performed.

Results: The data obtained by HPLC-MS suggested the presence of four substances: cannabisativine, anhydrocannabisativine, feruloyltyramine, and p-coumaroyltyramine. In the pharmacological assays, the AqECsR showed no spasmolytic effect. However, in the antidysmenorrheal activity test, AqECsR demonstrated a significant in vivo effect of reducing oxytocin-induced abdominal contortions. Morphometric analysis of the uterus showed no significant organ enlargement effect, and the association of AqECsR with subtherapeutic doses of three drugs used in antidysmenorrheal therapy (mefenamic acid, scopolamine, and nifedipine) showed an effect in reducing abdominal contortions.

Conclusions: In conclusion, AqECsR contains four chemical compounds and exhibits an antidysmenorrheic effect both alone and in association with drugs, reducing abdominal contortions in female mice without generating organ enlargement in the animals. Further studies are needed to prove the mechanism of action by which AqECsR promotes its effect on primary dysmenorrhea and to explore its associations.

Keywords: Cannabis roots; Marijuana; Pre-clinical studies.; Uterine contraction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Cannabis* / chemistry
  • Dysmenorrhea / chemically induced
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Uterus


  • Plant Extracts