Could CBD Alleviate Fibrosis?

Could CBD Alleviate Fibrosis? Sircol Soluble Collagen Assay reference blog photo


Could CBD be an effective antifibrotic therapy?

In recent years, there has been great interest in the possible clinical applications of cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychotropic component of Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae).

Fibrotic diseases, particularly of the liver, represent a major cause of morbidity and mortality. There is a serious worldwide demand for effective therapies for the management of fibrotic diseases.

Today we look at an interesting paper published in Frontiers in pharmacology, "Cannabidiol markedly alleviates skin and liver fibrosis."

In this study, lead author Carmen del Río and colleagues investigated the use of CBD to ameliorate fibrosis in preclinical models of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and also non-alcoholic liver fibrosis.


The mentioned study used a combination of in vitro and in vivo research models to evaluate the antifibrotic effects of CBD in the skin and the liver.


Antifibrotic effects of CBD in the skin were analyzed in vitro using NIH-3T3 fibroblasts and human dermal fibroblasts and in vivo using the bleomycin-induced model of skin fibrosis. In a second model, non-alcoholic liver fibrosis was induced in mice by CCl4 exposure. CBD was administered daily, intraperitoneally in mice challenged with bleomycin and orally in CCl4 mice, and skin and liver fibrosis and inflammation were assessed by immunochemistry.


CBD inhibited collagen gene transcription and synthesis and prevented TGFβ-and IL-4 induced fibroblast migration. In the bleomycin model, CBD prevented skin fibrosis and collagen accumulation around skin blood vessels, and in the CCl4 model CBD significantly attenuated liver fibrosis measured by picrosirius red and Tenascin C staining and reduced T cell and macrophage infiltration.

Conclusion: The data generated in this study support the possibility that the CBD cannabinoid may represent an effective therapy in the treatment of fibrotic diseases such as Systemic Sclerosis and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

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Fibrosis is a stiff accumulation fibrous connective tissue composed of collagen and other extracellular matrix components, formed as a reparative response to injury or damage.

As part of the investigation into the antifibrotic effects of CBD, the mentioned study used the Biocolor Sircol™ Soluble Collagen Assay to evaluate collagen release by normal human dermal fibroblasts (NHDFs) treated with CBD.

Figure 1. Effect of CBD pretreatment on soluble collagen release by NHDFs using the Sircol Assay. NHDFs were pretreated with CBD for 1 h and stimulated with TGFβ1 for 48 h and collagen was measured in the culture media (n = 3).

 Effect of CBD pretreatment on soluble collagen release by human dermal fibroblast using the Sircol Assay. Fibroblasts were pretreated with CBD for 1 h and stimulated with TGFβ1 for 48 h and collagen was measured in the culture media (n = 3).

NHDFs preincubated with increasing concentrations of CBD from 1 h prior to the addition of TGFβ1 showed a significant reduction in collagen release.

The Sircol™ Soluble Collagen Kit is a quantitative assay for measurement of both acid-soluble and pepsin-soluble collagens. It is a dye-binding method using Sircol™ Dye Reagent, which contains Sirius Red dye in picric acid.

Biocolor Sircol Soluble Collagen Assay Kit showing kit contents


This content has been adapted from the paper cited below. You can find the entire paper via the link:

Del Río, Carmen et al. “Cannabidiol markedly alleviates skin and liver fibrosis.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 13 981817. 19 Oct. 2022, doi:10.3389/fphar.2022.981817


Ilex Life Sciences LLC is an official distributor of Biocolor extracellular matrix (ECM) assays, including Sircol™ collagen assays. For more information on Biocolor ECM assays, please visit our Extracellular Matrix Assays Collection or contact us today.