Research Brief – Cannabidiol (CBD) Lowers Diabetes Incidence in Mice

Weiss L, Zeira M, Reich S, et al. Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity. 2006;39(2):143-151. doi:10.1080/08916930500356674 

The Study

This study is about the immune system responses and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, which was shown to lower the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. 

Cannabidiol CBC), a component of the cannabis plant, has shown anti-inflammatory properties and aspects of cell-mediated immunity. In response to an antigen, mature T cells, macrophages, and cytokines are released, which help drive cell-mediated immunity. Cell-mediated immunity results in inflammation and autoimmunity in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. CBD suppresses inflammation and some aspects of cell-mediated immunity.

Study Findings

CBC suppressed cell-mediated autoimmune joint destruction in animal models with rheumatoid arthritis. This study discovered that CBD significantly reduced the incidence of diabetes in mice from 86% in non-treated control mice, to 30% in CBD-treated mice; the study also found CBD significantly reduced blood levels of proinflammatory cytokines.

TH1-associated cytokine production of in vitro activated T-cells and peritoneal macrophages was also significantly lowered in mice treated with CBD. But TH2-associated cytokines increased in the CBD-treated mice, compared with the untreated mice. The pancreas islets of CBD-treated mice had a significant reduction in insulitis.


The study authors concluded “CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1-associated cytokine production in NOD [non-obese diabetic] mice resulting in a decreased incidence of diabetes possibly through an immunomodulatory mechanism shifting the immune response from Th1 to Th2 dominance.”

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