The minor phytocannabinoid delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates collagen-induced arthritic inflammation and pain-depressed behaviors

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2024 Jun 4:JPET-AR-2024-002189. doi: 10.1124/jpet.124.002189. Online ahead of print.


Patients with arthritis report using cannabis for pain management, and the major cannabinoid Δ9-THC has anti-inflammatory properties, yet the effects of minor cannabinoids on arthritis are largely unknown. The goal of the present study was to determine the antiarthritic potential of the minor cannabinoid Δ8-THC using the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model. Adult male DBA/1J mice were immunized and boosted 21 days later with an emulsion of collagen and complete Freund’s adjuvant. Beginning on the day of the booster, mice were administered twice-daily injections of Δ8-THC (3 or 30 mg/kg), the steroid dexamethasone (2 mg/kg), or vehicle for two weeks. Dorsal-ventral paw thickness and qualitative measures of arthritis were recorded daily, and latency to fall from an inverted grid was measured on alternating days, to determine arthritis severity and functional impairment. On the final day of testing, spontaneous wire-climbing behavior and temperature preference in a thermal gradient ring were measured to assess CIA-depressed and -conditioned behavior, respectively. The Δ8-THC treatment (30 mg/kg) reduced paw swelling and qualitative signs of arthritis. Δ8-THC also blocked CIA-depressed climbing and CIA-induced preference for a heated floor without producing locomotor effects but did not affect latency to fall from a wire grid. In alignment with the morphological and behavioral assessments in vivo, histology revealed that Δ8-THC reduced synovial inflammation, proteoglycan loss and cartilage and bone erosion in the foot joints in a dose-dependent manner. Together, these findings suggest that Δ8-THC not only blocked morphological changes but also prevented functional loss caused by collagen-induced arthritis. Significance Statement Despite increasing use of cannabis products, the potential effects of minor cannabinoids are largely unknown. Here, the minor cannabinoid Δ8-THC blocked the development of experimentally induced arthritis by preventing both pathophysiological as well as functional effects of the disease model. These data support the development of novel cannabinoid treatments for inflammatory arthritis.

PMID:38834355 | DOI:10.1124/jpet.124.002189