Humans have utilised cannabis products in various forms throughout the recorded history. To date, more than 500 biologically active components have been identified in the plants of the Cannabis genus, amongst which more than 100 were classified as phytocannabinoids (exocannabinoids). The plant genus Cannabis is a member of the plant family Cannabaceae, and there are three primary cannabis species which vary in their biochemical constituents: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. There has been a growing level of interest in research on the topical usage of a cannabis-based extract as a safer and more effective alternative to the usage of topical corticosteroids in treating some dermatoses. Together with the discovery of the cannabinoid receptors on the skin, it has been further illustrated that topical cannabis has anti-inflammatory, anti-itching, analgesics, wound healing and anti-proliferative effects on the skin.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus made it necessary to search for new options for both causal treatment and mitigation of its symptoms. Scientists and researchers around the world are constantly looking for the best therapeutic options. These difficult circumstances have also spurred the re-examination of the potential of natural substances contained in Cannabis sativa L. Cannabinoids, apart from CB1 and CB2 receptors, may act multifacetedly through a number of other receptors, such as the GPR55, TRPV1, PPARs, 5-HT1A, adenosine and glycine receptors.
In this context, terpenes are a highly diverse family of natural products which are synthesized by plants. This family have approximately 55,000 members with different chemical structures, presenting potential practical applications (Prakash, 2017; Serrano Vega et al., 2018). For this reason, it has been reported that terpenoids could ameliorate various symptoms caused by inflammation, inhibiting various steps of inflammatory processes. However, due to their low solubility and high instability, some alternatives, such as nanotechnology, have been explored.
Chronic inflammation is considered to be a silent killer because it is the underlying cause of a wide range of clinical disorders, from cardiovascular to neurological diseases, and from cancer to obesity. In addition, there are over 80 different types of debilitating autoimmune diseases for which there are no cure. Currently, the drugs that are available to suppress chronic inflammation are either ineffective or overtly suppress the inflammation, thereby causing increased susceptibility to infections and cancer. Thus, the development of a new class of drugs that can suppress chronic inflammation is imperative. Cannabinoids are a group of compounds produced in the body (endocannabinoids) or found in cannabis (phytocannabinoids) that act through cannabinoid receptors and various other receptors expressed widely in the brain and immune system.
Some cannabinoids have been identified as anti-inflammatory agents; however, their potential therapeutic or prophylactic applications remain controversial. The aim of this systematic review was to provide a timely and comprehensive insight into cannabinoid-mediated pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine responses in preclinical in vivo studies.