Dronabinol and retinal hemodynamics in humans

Am J Ophthalmol. 2007 Jan;143(1):173-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2006.07.053. Epub 2006 Aug 31.


Purpose: To investigate the effects of oral cannabinoids on retinal hemodynamics assessed by video fluorescein angiography in healthy subjects.

Design: Interventional study.

Methods: In a self-experiment, the cannabinoid dronabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]) was administered orally to eight healthy medical doctors (7.5 mg Marinol; Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Chicago, Illinois, USA). At baseline and two hours after dronabinol intake, intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured and retinal hemodynamics were assessed by fluorescein angiography. The retinal arteriovenous passage time was determined on the basis of dye dilution curves by means of digital image analysis in a masked fashion.

Results: Dronabinol resulted in a significant IOP reduction from 13.2 +/- 1.9 mm Hg to 11.8 +/- 2.0 mm Hg (P = .038). The retinal arteriovenous passage time decreased from 1.77 +/- 0.35 seconds to 1.57 +/- 0.31 seconds (P = .028). Systemic blood pressure and heart rate were not statistically significantly altered.

Conclusions: Cannabinoids, already known for their ability to reduce IOP, may result in increased retinal hemodynamics. This may be beneficial in ocular circulatory disorders, including glaucoma.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Blood Circulation / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / physiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychotropic Drugs / administration & dosage*
  • Retinal Vessels / physiology*
  • Tonometry, Ocular


  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Dronabinol