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Front Pharmacol. 2019 May 31;10:627. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00627. eCollection 2019.

Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabidiol for Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol-Related Damages on the Liver and the Brain.

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Service Universitaire d'Addictologie de Lyon (SUAL), Bron, France.
Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Centre Universitaire de Recherche en Santé, INSERM UMR 1247, Groupe de Recherche sur l'Alcool & les Pharmacodépendances, Amiens, France.
Service des maladies de l'appareil digestif, CHU Lille, Universitéde Lille and INSERM U995, Lille, France.
Service d'Addictologie et d'Hépatologie, GHN, HCL, Lyon, France.
Université de Lyon, UCBL, Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon (CRNL), Inserm U1028, CNRS UMR5292, PSYR2, Bron, France.
Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology (LEP), Psychological Science Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
CHU de Lille, Université Lille, service d'addictologie, CNRS, UMR 9193, SCALab, équipe psyCHIC, Lille, France.
INSERM, UMR_S 912, Sciences Economiques & Sociales de la Santé et Traitement de l'Information Médicale (SESSTIM), Marseille, France.


Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural component of cannabis that possesses a widespread and complex immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic, and antiepileptic properties. Much experimental data suggest that CBD could be used for various purposes in alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol-related damage on the brain and the liver. Aim: To provide a rationale for using CBD to treat human subjects with AUD, based on the findings of experimental studies. Methods: Narrative review of studies pertaining to the assessment of CBD efficiency on drinking reduction, or on the improvement of any aspect of alcohol-related toxicity in AUD. Results: Experimental studies find that CBD reduces the overall level of alcohol drinking in animal models of AUD by reducing ethanol intake, motivation for ethanol, relapse, anxiety, and impulsivity. Moreover, CBD reduces alcohol-related steatosis and fibrosis in the liver by reducing lipid accumulation, stimulating autophagy, modulating inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, and by inducing death of activated hepatic stellate cells. Finally, CBD reduces alcohol-related brain damage, preventing neuronal loss by its antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Conclusions: CBD could directly reduce alcohol drinking in subjects with AUD. Any other applications warrant human trials in this population. By reducing alcohol-related steatosis processes in the liver, and alcohol-related brain damage, CBD could improve both hepatic and neurocognitive outcomes in subjects with AUD, regardless of the individual's drinking trajectory. This might pave the way for testing new harm reduction approaches in AUD, in order to protect the organs of subjects with an ongoing AUD.


addiction; alcohol use disorder; alcohol-related damage; cannabidiol; liver fibrosis and cirrhosis; neuroprotection

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