Viral hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) pose a major health problem globally and if untreated, both viruses lead to severe liver damage resulting in liver cirrhosis and cancer. While HBV has a vaccine, HCV has none at the moment. The risk of drug resistance, combined with the high cost of current therapies, makes it a necessity for cost-effective therapeutics to be discovered and developed. The recent surge in interest in Medical Cannabis has led to interest in evaluating and validating the therapeutic potentials of Cannabis and its metabolites against various diseases including viruses. Preliminary screening of cannabidiol (CBD) revealed that CBD is active against HCV but not against HBV in vitro. CBD inhibited HCV replication by 86.4% at a single concentration of 10 μM with EC50 of 3.163 μM in a dose-response assay. These findings suggest that CBD could be further developed and used therapeutically against HCV.
Cannabidiol exhibited in vitro activity against viral hepatitis C. Abbreviations Used: CB2: Cannabis receptor 2, CBD: Cannabidiol, DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid, HBV: Hepatitis B virus, HCV: Hepatitis C virus, HIV/AIDS: Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome, HSC: Hepatic stellate cells, MTS: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2Htetrazolium, PCR: Polymerase chain reaction.