Safety Assessment of a Hemp Extract using Genotoxicity and Oral Repeat-Dose Toxicity Studies in Sprague-Dawley Rats
Dziwenka, M.; Coppock, R.; Alexander, M.; Palumbo, E.; Ramirez, C.; Lermer, S.
Toxicology Reports 7: 376-385
ISSN/ISBN: 2214-7500 PMID: 32123668 DOI: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2020.02.014
Cannabinoids are extracted from Cannabis sativa L. and are used for a variety of medicinal purposes. Recently, there has been a focus on the cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD) and its potential benefits. This study investigated the safety of a proprietary extract of C. sativa, consisting of 9% hemp extract (of which 6.27% is CBD) and 91% olive oil. The mutagenic potential of the hemp extract was evaluated with the AMES assay inclusive of a hepatic drug metabolizing mix (S9) rich in CYP enzymes. The test article did not elicit evidence of bacterial mutagenicity. GLP compliant 14-day and a 90-day toxicity study were conducted. Olive oil was used as a control. The 90-day study had a 28-day recovery period. Treatments for the 14-day non-recovery range-finding study were 0, 1000, 2000 and 4000 mg test article/kg body weight (bw)/day for 14 days. There was a non-statistically significant (p > 0.05) decrease in body weights for the male and female rats receiving the test article. Hypoactivity, hyperactivity, reduced food consumption and piloerection were observed in the rats receiving 4000 mg test article/kg bw. Histopathology showed an increase in the size of liver cells (hypertrophy) around the central vein (centrilobular) in Groups 3 (3/10) and 4 (5/10) that correlated with increased liver weights. In the 90-day study, 8 groups of rats were dosed with 0, 200, 400 and 800 mg test article/kg bw/day. Groups 5 to 8 had a 28-day recovery. There were no test article-linked changes in clinical observations, physical examinations, Functional Observation Battery, ophthalmology, Motor Activity Assessment, hematology, clinical chemistries and macropathology (all groups). With the exception of the liver and adrenal gland, no test article-linked pathology was observed. For all rats receiving the test article, histopathology showed hypertrophy of liver cells around the central vein. The increase of liver weight is most likely caused by hypertrophy due to up-regulation of the hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes. The hepatocellular hypertrophy was completely reversed in 28 days and was not considered to be an adverse effect. Vacuolization of the adrenal zona fasciculata was observed in the control and 800 mg test article/kg bw groups. The vacuolization of the zona fasciculata was of the same incidence and severity in treatment and control male rats and correlated with an increased in the weights of the adrenal glands. In addition, a statistically significant increase (p<0.05) in adrenal-to-body weight ratios was observed for females receiving 800 mg test article/kg bw. This increase in adrenal-to-body weight ratio did not correlate with any of the pathology findings. The NOAEL for the test article is 800 mg/kg bw/day for female and 400 mg/kg bw/day for male Sprague Dawley rats.