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cbd oil and retinitis pigmentosa

Last Name: Hadas Mechoulam, MD

Intervention Model Description: Arm 1 – healthy subjects. Arm 2 – subjects with retinitis pigmentosa All subjects will undergo a full ocular exam and visual functions will be assessed before and after the administration of a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:40). On the second study day all subjects will receive a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:1) and undergo the full ocular exam again.

A Controlled Study of the Effect of Cannabis on Visual Functions in Healthy Subjects and in Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients

Description: All subjects will undergo a full ocular exam and visual functions will be assessed before and after the administration of a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:40). On the second study day all subjects will receive a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:1) and undergo the full ocular exam again.

Investigator Affiliation: Hadassah Medical Organization

Description: All subjects will undergo a full ocular exam and visual functions will be assessed before and after the administration of a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:40). On the second study day all subjects will receive a single dose of cannabis (THC:CBD 1:1) and undergo the full ocular exam again.

For years medical marijuana has been used to help treat certain conditions that can cause vision loss. The most common example of this is glaucoma, but it is not the only condition for which cannabis may be beneficial.

In fact, a group of researchers from Spain’s University of Alicante published a study earlier this month in the journal Experimental Eye Research that supports this claim. It suggests that cannabinoids may help slow vision loss in the case of retinitis pigmentosa.

Researchers Investigate Cannabinoids, Visual Deterioration

With that said, the University of Alicante research team investigated what effects were to be had from cannabinoid treatments. Using rats as models, they were able to inhibit vision loss with a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Inherited from birth, retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that currently affects an estimated 100,000 people in the US. It causes photoreceptors in the retina to die over time, resulting in severe vision and blindness if left untreated. No cure exists for the disease, but vitamin A regiments have proven beneficial, postponing blindness by up to 10 years in some patients

The treatment group, which received 100 mg/kg of the synthetic cannabinoid each day, performed significantly better on visual tasks when compared to the group that did not receive treatment.

Retinitis Pigmetosa (RP) is a rare, genetic disorder which involves a degeneration of cells in the retina affecting roughly 1 in 4,000 people worldwide. RP causes photoreceptors in the retina to die over time, resulting in severe vision and blindness if left untreated.

Using two groups of rats; those given a synthetic cannabinoid [the active chemicals found in cannabis] over a 90-day period, and those without, researchers found that those rats given the cannabinoids had 40% more photoreceptors in their eyes.

Other studies have found cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, have potential neuroprotective effects which could prevent loss of vision and encourage overall eye health.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for RP. Recent studies on medical cannabis, however, may offer some hope to those suffering from vision-related diseases, including Retinitis Pigmentosa and glaucoma. Researchers at the University of Alicante in Spain conducted a study in 2014 to see the impact cannabinoids had on the vision of blind rats.

The most recent research, conducted by researchers at Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada last year, found cannabinoids can improve low-light vision by making cells in the retina more sensitive to light. These results suggest benefit cannabis could provide a significant benefit in the treatment of degenerative eye diseases.