Cannabidiol Signaling in the Eye and Its Potential as an Ocular Therapeutic Agent

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2021 May 14;55(S5):1-14. doi: 10.33594/000000371.


Cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-intoxicating constituent of Cannabis sativa, has gained recent attention due to its putative therapeutic uses for a wide variety of diseases. CBD was discovered in the 1940s and its structure fully characterized in the 1960s. However, for many years most research efforts related to cannabis derived chemicals have focused on D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In contrast to THC, the lack of intoxicating psychoactivity associated with CBD highlights the potential of this cannabinoid for clinical drug development. This review details in vitro and in vivo studies of CBD related to the eye, the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol for various ocular conditions, and molecular targets and mechanisms for CBD-induced ocular effects. In addition, challenges of CBD applications for clinical ocular therapeutics and future directions are discussed.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Molecular target; Mechanism of action; Therapeutic potential; Ocular pharmacology.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / metabolism*
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Dronabinol / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Cannabidiol
  • Dronabinol