The Effects of Nicotine and Cannabinoids on Cytokines

Curr Pharm Des. 2024 Jun 7. doi: 10.2174/0113816128293077240529111824. Online ahead of print.


Background: The usage of nicotine and cannabinoids has rapidly grown in popularity, leading to increased research into how they can affect people's health, both positively and negatively. Nicotine, Cannabidiol (CBD), and Tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) have been shown to have significant effects on cytokine function and inflammatory response.

Objective: This study aimed to review and summarize the current literature on the effects of nicotine and cannabinoids on cytokines, including interleukins, TNF, IFN, and TGF-β.

Methods: Literature search was conducted on Medline/PubMed electronic databases utilizing the search terms "nicotine" OR "cannabis" OR "cannabinoids" AND "cytokine" AND "inflammation" AND "stress" AND "immune" from 11/1973 to 02/2024.

Results: THC and CBD usage have been associated with conflicting impacts on immune response, and observed to both exacerbate and inhibit inflammation. Nicotine has been shown to be generally proinflammatory with regards to cytokines. These responses have been reported to have significant effects on bodily response to inflammation-related diseases. Nicotine usage is associated with worsened outcomes for some conditions, like chronic pain, but improved outcomes for others, like arthritis. The impacts of cannabinoid usage tend to be more positive, exerting anti-inflammatory effects across a wide range of diseases. Given the widespread usage of these substances, it is important to understand the nature of their consequences on immune functions and the underlying mechanisms by which they act.

Conclusion: This review has covered how cannabinoids and nicotine affect inflammation directly and how these effects can be attributed to the treatment of inflammatory diseases. In summary, the existing research studying the effects of cannabinoids and nicotine supports the major relationship between nicotine and cannabis use and inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabinoids; Cytokines; InflammatioCytokines; Inflammation; Nicotine; Tetrahydrocannabinol.