P037 Enhancing the efficacy of cannabidiol using protein nanoparticles to treat inflammatory bowel disease

Moniruzzaman, M.(1,2)*;Rewatkar, P.(1);Begun, J.(2);Popat, A.(1);

(1)The University of Queensland, School of Pharmacy, Brisbane, Australia;(2)The University of Queensland, Mater Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia;


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a global health burden and approximately 30% of the patients with severe IBD require surgery following treatments, leaving an unmet need of new and safe therapies. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major non-psychoactive and water-insoluble constituents of medicinal cannabis, known for its anti-inflammatory properties in epilepsy. The compound is safe at high doses and doesn’t have the psychotropic effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Therefore, this study investigated the therapeutic potential of CBD in controlling intestinal inflammation.


CBD was loaded in the protein nanoparticles (PNP-CBD) and tested for its water solubility. Primary intestinal epithelial cells (IECs; organoids) and bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) were isolated from C57BL/6 mice and treated with IL-1β and LPS, respectively. Stimulated cells were treated with ±CBD and checked for downstream signalling through inflammatory gene expression using qRT PCR. Conditioned media from LPS-treated BMDM was also harvested to treat mIECs to check link between macrophage activation and intestinal inflammation. Accordingly, we assessed the efficacy of CBD in suppressing intestinal inflammation using dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute experimental colitis in the C57BL/6J mice. At the end, blood samples were collected for hematology and serum analyses, mesenteric lymph nodes for immune cell signatures, colon samples for histological analysis and qRT PCR analysis for inflammatory genes.


CBD loading in the protein nanoparticles (PNP-CBD) increased its water solubility up to 60 times. In the mIECs, CBD did not have any effects on cytokine-induced inflammation; however, it significantly dampened LPS-induced BMDM activation and inflammatory cytokine production. The results also showed that inhibition of CB2 but not CB1 receptor can completely abolish the anti-inflammatory potential of CBD in the BMDM. Transferring conditioned media from BMDM to mIECs showed macrophage-specific targeting alleviated inflammation in the mIECs. These have also been observed in the acute DSS colitis model where not CBD alone but PNP-CBD improved disease severity index including body weight loss, diarrhoea, shorter colon length, and inflammatory gene expression in the colon. PNP-CBD also reduced histological colitis and increased goblet cell mucin production in the DSS-treated colon.


Encapsulation of CBD increased water solubility and efficacy in alleviating intestinal inflammation in ulcerative colitis. These data also demonstrated that CB2 receptor targeting of macrophage activation is the primary mechanism of CBD’s effect.