[Cannabinoid applications in glaucoma].Arch Soc Esp Oftalmol 2011; 86(1):16-23AS
Glaucoma is a slowly progressive optic neuropathy that is one of the leading causes of legal blindness throughout the world. Currently there is a limited group of topical drugs for the medical treatment of glaucoma is currently limited, and research needs to be focused on new therapeutic horizons, such as the potential usefulness of the cannabinoid agonists for the treatment of glaucoma.
To review the current scientific literature related to the beneficial effects derived from the different ways of administration of cannabinoids indicated for the glaucomatous optic neuropathy.
Cannabinoid receptors have shown an intense expression in ocular tissues implicated in the regulation of the intraocular pressure, as well as inner layers of the retina. Through activation of CB1 and CB1 specific receptors and through other still unknown pathways, the cannabinoid agonists have shown both a clear hypotensive, as well as an experimentally proved neuroprotective effect on retinal ganglion cells.
Some cannabinoid agonists (WIN 55212-2, anandamide) have demonstrated, in experimental studies, to act as «ideal drugs» in the management of glaucoma, as they have been shown to have good tolerability after topical application, efficiently reduce intraocular pressure, and behave as neuroprotectors on retinal ganglion cells. Further studies as regards the safety and clinical assays must be carried out in order to examine the effectiveness of these drugs for the treatment of glaucoma in our daily clinical practice.