Cannabis and the Cornea

Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2021 Jul 4;29(5):1023-1028. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2020.1726969. Epub 2020 Mar 11.


Purpose: While cannabis has the potential to reduce corneal pain, cannabinoids might induce side effects. This review article examines the effects of cannabinoids on the cornea. As more states and countries consider the legalization of adult cannabis use, health-care providers will need to identify ocular effects of cannabis consumption.Methods: Studies included in this review examined the connection between cannabis and the cornea, more specifically anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory actions of cannabinoids. NCBI Databases from 1781 up to December 2019 were consulted.Results: Five studies examined corneal dysfunctions caused by cannabis consumption (opacification, decreased endothelial cell density). Twelve studies observed a reduction in corneal pain and inflammation (less lymphocytes, decreased corneal neovascularization, increased cell proliferation and migration).Conclusion: More than half of the studies examined the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids on the cornea. As the field is still young, more studies should be conducted to develop safe cannabinoid treatments for corneal diseases.

Keywords: Cannabinoids; cannabis; cornea; corneal hyperalgesia; corneal inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Corneal Endothelial Cell Loss / chemically induced*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / drug therapy
  • Corneal Opacity / chemically induced*
  • Eye Pain / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / drug therapy*
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*


  • Medical Marijuana