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Cannabinoid-Like Anti-Inflammatory Compounds from Flax

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Cannabinoid-Like Anti-Inflammatory Compounds from Flax

1. Flax is a Mediterranean plant that is already used widely for many industrial purposes, including as a source of fiber, seeds, and oil.
2. The health effects of flax seed oil have been shown to be positive some of the positive effect is likely attributable to a newly identified terpenoid compound similar to cannabidiol.
3. Previous studies have shown that cannabinoids, primarily obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant, quote – have been shown to exhibit a wide variety of beneficial properties, including inhibiting cancer, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and many inflammatory diseases – unquote.
4. Until now, cannabinoids have not been detected in species outside of the Cannabis family.
5. Cannabinoid is believed to inhibit the inflammatory response yielding an overall anti-inflammatory effect.
6. This study specifically investigates the presence of cannabinoid like compounds in the portions of the flax
plant used to produce flax (linen) fabric, with the thought of producing anti-inflammatory wound dressings.
7. To prepare for the investigation a sample of unbleached linen fabric (produced specifically as part of this
study) was extracted using chloroform. The solid extract was then dissolved into ethanol before being
analyzed for cannabinoid content and purity.
8. Both mouse and human fibroblast cells were also cultured as part of the investigation setup.
9. In addition to testing the flax fabric, portion of the plant were also tested for the presence of cannabinoids.
Quote – investigations revealed the presence of CBD-like compounds in each analyzed flax plant’s organs
and products: seedcakes, leaves, stems, fibers and in flax fabric as well – unquote.
10. Highest CBD concentrations were noted in the seeds and seedcakes. The content present in the stem was
found to be similar to that in the flax fabric, quote – suggesting that fibers processing only slightly affects the
compound content – unquote. The CBD compounds were not found in flax oil.
11. Additional analysis of the flax extracts using mass spectrometry generated results which also pointed to the
presence of a Cannabinoid-like component.
12. The mouse and human fibroblasts cultures were treated with a compound to induce inflammation. Test
samples were inoculated with nothing (control), flax fabric extract, and pure CBD (positive control). Gene
expression relating to inflammation was then observed.
13. Results of the human cell culture tests, quote - suggest the anti-inflammatory activity of preparations from
flax fabric – unquote.
14. Similar testing performed on the mouse cell cultures supported the same conclusion that the CBD
compound was responsible for a reduction in the inflammatory response.
15. Previous studies which indicated that wounds treated with flax fabric dressings showed reduced
inflammation which may now be explained by the presence of CBD.
16. It is also convincing to note that, quote – the biological activity of the CBD preparation from flax was the
same as the pure compound isolated from Cannabis sativa – unquote.
17. The impact of this study has the potential to be significant in two main ways: it is the first to indicate the
presence of CBD in a plant other than Cannabis sativa and the potential to create anti-inflammatory wound dressings using flax fabric without the need for additional processing.

Source: Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters. Styrczewska M, Kulma A, Ratajczak K, Amarowicz R, Szopa J. Cannabinoid-like anti-inflammatory compounds from flax fiber. 2012;17(3). doi:10.2478/s11658-012-0023-6.




Review by: SP

Cannabinoid-Like Anti-Inflammatory Compounds from Flax

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