D64: Cannabinoid Receptors and Pathogen Recognition

Cannabinoid Receptors and Pathogen Recognition

The interplay between cannabinoids and the immune system is an evolving area of research, touching upon complex cellular components like Toll-like receptors, CB1, and CB2. This dynamic relationship affects our body’s ability to recognize and respond to various pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Understanding these interactions is crucial, as it has significant implications for immune system modulation.

Extensive Comparison Table

Receptor TypeCannabinoidBacteriaFungiVirusesStrength of EvidenceEffect on Immunity
CB1THCE. coliCandidaHPVModerate[1]Immunosuppressive
CB2CBDS. aureusAspergillusCOVID-19Low[2]Immunomodulatory
Toll-likeCBD, THCN/AN/AN/AModerate[3]Immune Activation

Effects of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids on Viral Susceptibility, Replication, Transmissibility, and Symptom Management

CompoundSusceptibility to VirusesEffects on Viral ReplicationEffects on TransmissibilitySymptom ManagementStrength of Evidence
THCPotential increase[1]UnknownUnknownAnalgesic[2]Moderate
QuercetinUnknownAntiviral[8]UnknownImmune Boosting[9]Low


  1. Costiniuk, C. T., and Jenabian, M. A. “Cannabis and the Immune System: A Complex Love Story.” Front Immunol. 2020.
  2. Russo, E. B. “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.” Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008.
  3. Nichols, J. M., et al. “Immunomodulatory Effects of Cannabidiol in Viral Infections.” Immunol Res. 2021.
  4. Burstein, S. “Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation.” Bioorg Med Chem. 2015.
  5. Borrelli, F., et al. “Beneficial Effect of the Non-psychotropic Plant Cannabinoid Cannabigerol on Experimental Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Biochem Pharmacol. 2013.
  6. Komori, T., et al. “Effects of Citrus Fragrance on Immune Function and Depressive States.” Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995.
  7. do Vale, T. G., et al. “Antispasmodic effects of Myrcene.” Phytomedicine. 2002.
  8. Jo, S., et al. “Antiviral Activity of Quercetin 7-rhamnoside against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus.” Antiviral Res. 2019.
  9. Egert, S., et al. “Quercetin: A Promising Flavonoid with a Dynamic Ability to Impact Gut Microbiota and Immunomodulation.” J Immunol Res. 2020.

Cannabinoid Receptors and Cell Components

  1. Toll-like receptors are a class of proteins that play a key role in the innate immune system. They are one of the types of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that activate immune responses when they recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs)[4].

Cannabinoids and Pathogens

  1. THC has been shown to have antibacterial effects against E. coli but also can make the host more susceptible to bacterial infections due to its immunosuppressive effects[^5^].
  2. CBD has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against S. aureus[6].

Cannabinoids and Immunity

  1. THC generally has immunosuppressive properties, which could be a concern in the case of infections like HPV[7].
  2. CBD has immunomodulatory effects, suggesting a more balanced interaction with the immune system[8].


  1. There is limited evidence regarding the direct interaction of cannabinoids with COVID-19, but given the immunomodulatory effects of cannabinoids like CBD, caution is advised[9].


  1. Klein, T. W., et al. J Leukoc Biol. 2003.
  2. Kozela, E., et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010.
  3. Takeda, S., et al. J Biol Chem. 2012.
  4. Kawai, T., and Akira, S. Nat Immunol. 2010.
  5. Cabral, G. A., and Staab, A. Life Sci. 1995.
  6. Appendino, G., et al. J Nat Prod. 2008.
  7. Zhang, H., et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2020.
  8. Tanasescu, R., and Constantinescu, C. S. Front Immunol. 2010.
  9. Costiniuk, C. T., and Jenabian, M. A. Front Immunol. 2020.

Special Notes:

Individuals with immune-compromised conditions, viral infections like HPV, or bacterial infections should exercise extreme caution with cannabinoids. For a detailed, individualized consultation, please contact Dr. Caplan at CED Clinic.

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