Formulation and In Vitro-Ex vivo Evaluation of Cannabidiol and Cannabidiol-Valine-Hemisuccinate Loaded Lipid-Based Nanoformulations for Ocular Applications

Int J Pharm. 2024 Apr 10:657:124110. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2024.124110. Online ahead of print.


The goal of this investigation is to develop stable ophthalmic nanoformulations containing cannabidiol (CBD) and its analog cannabidiol-valine-hemisuccinate (CBD-VHS) for improved ocular delivery. Two nanoformulations, nanoemulsion (NE) and nanomicelles (NMC), were developed and evaluated for physicochemical characteristics, drug-excipient compatibility, sterilization, thermal analysis, surface morphology, ex-vivo transcorneal permeation, corneal deposition, and stability. The saturation solubility studies revealed that among the surfactants tested, Cremophor EL had the highest solubilizing capacity for CBD (23.3 ± 0.1 mg/mL) and CBD-VHS (11.2 ± 0.2 mg/mL). The globule size for the lead CBD formulations (NE and NMC) ranged between 205 and 270 nm while CBD-VHS-NMC formulation had a particle size of about 78 nm. The sterilized formulations, except for CBD-VHS-NMC at 40 °C, were stable for three months of storage (last time point tested). Release, in terms of CBD, in the in-vitro release/diffusion studies over 18 h, were faster from the CBD-VHS nanomicelles (38 %) compared to that from the CBD nanoemulsion (16 %) and nanomicelles (33 %). Transcorneal permeation studies revealed improvement in CBD permeability and flux with both formulations; however, a greater improvement was observed with the NMC formulation compared to the NE formulation. In conclusion, the nanoformulations prepared could serve as efficient topical ocular drug delivery platforms for CBD and its analog.

Keywords: Cannabidiol; Carbopol® 940 NF; Lyophilization; Nanoemulsion; Nanomicelles.