Cannabinoid Type-2 Receptor Agonist, JWH133 May Be a Possible Candidate for Targeting Infection, Inflammation, and Immunity in COVID-19

Niraj Kumar Jha, Charu Sharma, Mohamed Fizur Nagoor Meeran, Saurabh Kumar Jha, Vivek Dhar Dwivedi, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Abhijit Dey, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Shreesh Ojha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by SARS-CoV-2, is a deadly disease affecting millions due to the non-availability of drugs and vaccines. The majority of COVID-19 drugs have been repurposed based on antiviral, immunomodulatory, and antibiotic potential. The pathogenesis and advanced complications with infection involve the immune-inflammatory cascade. Therefore, a therapeutic strategy could reduce infectivity, inflammation, and immune modulation. In recent years, modulating the endocannabinoid system, particularly activation of the cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptor is a promising therapeutic target for modulation of immune-inflammatory responses. JWH133, a selective, full functional agonist of the CB2 receptor, has been extensively studied for its potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immunomodulatory properties. JWH133 modulates numerous signaling pathways and inhibits inflammatory mediators, including cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, prostanoids, and eicosanoids. In this study, we propose that JWH133 could be a promising candidate for targeting infection, immunity, and inflammation in COVID-19, due to its pharmacological and molecular mechanisms in numerous preclinical efficacy and safety studies, along with its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, organoprotective, and antiviral properties. Thus, JWH133 should be investigated in preclinical and clinical studies for its potential as an agent or adjuvant with other agents for its effect on viremia, infectivity, immune modulation, resolution of inflammation, reduction in severity, and progression of complications in COVID-19. JWH133 is devoid of psychotropic effects due to CB2 receptor selectivity, has negligible toxicity, good bioavailability and druggable properties, including pharmacokinetic and physicochemical effects. We believe that JWH133 could be a promising drug and may inspire further studies for an evidence-based approach against COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-304
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • CB2 receptors
  • COVID-19
  • JWH133
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • cannabinoids
  • immunomodulators
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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