PLoS One. 2021 May 13;16(5):e0251677. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251677. eCollection 2021.
Cannabidiol (CBD) exhibits anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties and is suggested to be effective in the pre-clinical and clinical treatment of illnesses of the central nervous system (CNS). Two major types of CNS glial cells, astrocytes and microglia, play critical roles in the development and pathogenesis of CNS diseases. However, the mechanisms by which CBD plays an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective role for these glial cells have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we examined the effects of CBD on the inflammatory response of mouse primary astrocytes and microglia. We also investigated whether the effect of CBD on cytokine release is mediated by the G protein coupled receptor 3 (GPR3), which was recently identified as a novel receptor for CBD. Our results showed that CBD inhibited inflammatory responses of astrocytes and microglia stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) ligand in vitro and in vivo. In addition, CBD reduced the phosphorylation of STAT3 and NF-κB signaling pathways in LPS-stimulated astrocytes. However, the inhibitory effect of CBD on pro-inflammatory cytokine production was independent of GPR3 expression in both types of glial cells. Thus, although CBD is effective in ameliorating the activation of astrocytes and microglia, its mechanism of action still requires further study. Our data support the concept that CBD may have therapeutic potential for neurological disorders that involve neuroinflammation.