Cannabis Root Extract Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects In Mice, Finds New Study

The roots of cannabis plants have been used to treat a range of ailments for thousands of years across many cultures. However, we’re only just starting to learn about the composition of cannabis root and its medical potential.

For example, in a study that found cannabis root extract reduced inflammation in mice with no negative side effects, researchers also discovered that the compound cannabissativine is the main component of the oil found in cannabis roots. 

What’s more, this oil extract is water-soluble (aqueous), unlike the oil found in the bud of cannabis plants – where compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are produced – which is only soluble in oil.  

Many traditional medical uses of cannabis roots involve boiling them and creating a paste from the extract, which is applied topically to wounds and sore joints. Oral solutions were also used to assist childbirth and to treat infections.  

The study

Published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, this new study looked at cannabis root extract’s effectiveness at reducing inflammation in mice.

They found that cannabis root extract has a positive effects on two inflammatory markers

– the reduction of vascular extravasation (the leakage of blood or other fluids from a blood vessel) and the migration of leukocytes (inflammatory cells).

The study also notes that no effects on the central nervous system or motor function were observed, nor did the extract produce any toxicity effects on the mice.

It was found that the root extract inhibited the migration of leukocytes at the doses of 25, 50, and 100 milligrams per kilogram. 

Anti-inflammatory activity was even observable at the injection site in the mice’s paws, presenting as a reduction in swelling at all tested doses.

Traditional use

Cannabis roots have a long history of medical use, but is largely considered a folk medicine in the modern age.

One of the first mentions was In the first century by Pliny the Elder, who described in Natural Histories that a decoction of the root in water could be used to relieve stiffness in the joints, gout, and related conditions. 

By the 17th century, various herbalists were recommending cannabis root to treat inflammation, joint pain, gout, and other conditions. 

However, a lack of research in this area has meant that there is still much to know regarding the composition of cannabis root and its medical potential. 

As well as the alkaloid cannabisativine, identified active compounds in cannabis roots include triterpenoids, friedelin and epifriedelanol; alkaloid anhydrocannabisativine; carvone and dihydrocarvone.

It’s worth noting that cannabis roots are not a significant source of cannabinoids such as THC, cannabidiol, or other known phytocannabinoids.

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