Cannabinoids have emerged as powerful drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases due to their immunosuppressive properties. Significant clinical and experimental data on the use of cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory agents exist in many autoimmune disease settings, but virtually no studies have been undertaken on their potential role in transplant rejection. Here we suggest a theoretical role for the use of cannabinoids in preventing allograft rejection. The psychotropic properties of CB1 agonists limit their clinical use, but CB2 agonists may offer a new avenue to selectively target immune cells involved in allograft rejection. Moreover, development of mixed CB1/CB2 agonists that cannot cross the blood-brain barrier may help prevent their undesired psychotropic properties. In addition, manipulation of endocannabinoids in vivo by activating their biosynthesis and inhibiting cellular uptake and metabolism may offer another pathway to regulate immune response during allograft rejection.
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