Acne is a common skin disease characterized by elevated sebum production and inflammation of the sebaceous glands. We have previously shown that a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid ((-)-cannabidiol [CBD]) exerted complex anti-acne effects by normalizing ‘pro-acne agents’-induced excessive sebaceous lipid production, reducing proliferation and alleviating inflammation in human SZ95 sebocytes. Therefore, in this study we aimed to explore the putative anti-acne effects of further non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids ((-)-cannabichromene [CBC], (-)-cannabidivarin [CBDV], (-)-cannabigerol [CBG], (-)-cannabigerovarin [CBGV] and (-)-Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabivarin [THCV]). Viability and proliferation of human SZ95 sebocytes were investigated by MTT and CyQUANT assays; cell death and lipid synthesis were monitored by DilC1 (5)-SYTOX Green labelling and Nile Red staining, respectively. Inflammatory responses were investigated by monitoring expressions of selected cytokines upon lipopolysaccharide treatment (RT-qPCR, ELISA). Up to 10 μm, the phytocannabinoids only negligibly altered the viability of the sebocytes, whereas high doses (≥50 μm) induced apoptosis. Interestingly, basal sebaceous lipid synthesis was differentially modulated by the substances: CBC and THCV suppressed it, and CBDV had only minor effects, whereas CBG and CBGV increased it. Importantly, CBC, CBDV and THCV significantly reduced arachidonic acid (AA)-induced ‘acne-like’ lipogenesis. Moreover, THCV suppressed proliferation, and all phytocannabinoids exerted remarkable anti-inflammatory actions. Our data suggest that CBG and CBGV may have potential in the treatment of dry-skin syndrome, whereas CBC, CBDV and especially THCV show promise to become highly efficient, novel anti-acne agents. Moreover, based on their remarkable anti-inflammatory actions, phytocannabinoids could be efficient, yet safe novel tools in the management of cutaneous inflammations.
Keywords: acne vulgaris; cutaneous inflammation; dry skin; phytocannabinoid.