“It has been hypothesized that besides its intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering potential, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may also improve ocular hemodynamics.
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether single oral administration of dronabinol, a synthetic THC, alters optic nerve head blood flow (ONHBF) and its regulation in healthy subjects.
The study was carried out in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked, two-way crossover design in twenty-four healthy subjects. For each study participant, two study days were scheduled, on which they either received capsules containing 5mg dronabinol or placebo. ONHBF was measured with laser Doppler flowmetry at rest and while the study participants performed isometric exercise for six minutes to increase mean arterial blood pressure (MAP). This was repeated one hour after drug intake. Ocular perfusion pressure (OPP) was calculated as 2/3MAP-IOP.
Dronabinol was well tolerated and no cannabinoid-related psychoactive effects were reported.
Neither administration of dronabinol nor placebo had an effect on IOP, MAP or OPP. In contrast, dronabinol significantly increased ONHBF at rest by 9.5±8.1% whereas placebo did not show a change in ONHBF (0.3±7.4% vs. baseline, p<0.001 between study days). Dronabinol did not alter the autoregulatory response of ONHBF to isometric exercise.
In conclusion, the present data indicate that low dose dronabinol increases ONHBF in healthy subjects without affecting IOP, OPP or inducing psychoactive side effects. In addition, dronabinol does not alter the autoregulatory response of ONHBF to an experimental increase in OPP. Further studies are needed to investigate whether this effect can also be observed in glaucoma patients.”