The findings were published in Phytotherapy Research by a team of researchers from the University of Milan in Italy who worked with the scientific affairs manager of Swiss pharma firm Linnea SA – the supplier of ingredients tested and part-funder of the study, alongside the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
The team investigated the potential use of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and CBD (cannabidiol) extracts as anti-inflammatory agents in the skin through in vitro cell testing and also considered their potential role in wound healing.
CBD vs. Hemp
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the active compounds found in cannabis plants, including hemp plants.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis plant that is particularly rich in CBD and has low levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The researchers tested hemp oil (commercialised as CSE) containing 5% CBD and less than 0.2% THC against pure CBD powder. Both ingredients were extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant.
Findings indicated hemp oil and CBD powder showed some “different effects” on pro-inflammatory mediators in the skin.
While both had parallel effects on impairing the NF‐κB pathway, a key regulator in inflammatory conditions including psoriasis, and both impaired the release of pro-inflammatory mediator MMP-9, some activity was only associated with hemp oil.
Hemp oil, for example, down-regulated additional genes involved in wound healing and skin inflammation, the researchers said, effects therefore “not strictly associated with the presence of CBD”.
These results, they said, indicated that compounds other than CBD in the hemp oil were acting to down-regulate certain genes with “pivotal roles” in inflammation and matrix remodelling.
“CSE is a complex mixture containing CBD and also other cannabinoids and flavonoids that may exert anti-inflammatory activities thus contributing to the effect observed herein,” the researchers wrote.
“… Our findings provide new insights into the potential effect of Cannabis extracts against inflammation-based skin diseases.”
The authors acknowledged that while Dr. B. Paccetti, scientific affairs manager at Linnea SA, worked on the research and her company manufactured cannabis extracts, there remained no conflict of interest and the study did “not necessarily reflect [Linnea’s] views of its future policy on this area”.
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Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.6400
Title: “Cannabis sativa L. extract and cannabidiol inhibit in vitro mediators of skin inflammation and wound injury”
Authors: E. Sangiovanni et al.