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Cannabidiol goes nuclear: The role of PPARγ


Sara Khosropoor, Mohaddeseh Sadat Alavi, Leila Etemad, Ali Roohbakhsh


March 15, 2023


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa. In contrast to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, it has a low affinity for cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, thereby it does not induce significant psychoactive effects. However, CBD may interact with other receptors, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). CBD is a PPARγ agonist and changes its expression. There is considerable evidence that CBD’s effects are mediated by its interaction with PPARγ. So, we reviewed studies related to the interaction of CBD and PPARγ.

In this comprehensive literature review, the term ‘cannabidiol’ was used in combination with the following keywords including ‘PPARγ’, ‘Alzheimer’s disease’, ‘Parkinson’s disease’, ‘seizure’, ‘multiple sclerosis’, ‘immune system’, ‘cardiovascular system’, ‘cancer’, and ‘adipogenesis’. PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were searched until December 20, 2022. A total of 78 articles were used for the reviewing process.

CBD, via activation of PPARγ, promotes significant pharmacological effects. The present review shows that the effects of CBD on Alzheimer’s disease and memory, Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and depression, cardiovascular system, immune system, cancer, and adipogenesis are mediated, at least in part, via PPARγ.

CBD not only activates PPARγ but also affects its expression in the body. It was suggested that the late effects of CBD are mediated via PPARγ activation. We suggested that CBD’s chemical structure is a good backbone for developing new dual agonists. Combining it with other chemicals enhances their biological effectiveness while reducing their dosage. The present study indicated that PPARγ is a key target for CBD, and its activation by CBD should be considered in all future studies.


DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2023.154771


Khosropoor, S., Alavi, M. S., Etemad, L., & Roohbakhsh, A. (2023). Cannabidiol goes nuclear: The role of PPARγ. Phytomedicine, 154771.