A study published in this month’s issue of the journal Experimental Eye Research, and published online by the National Institute of Health, has found that cannabinoids – compounds found naturally in cannabis – may delay retinal degeneration in those with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that often causes blindness.
“Cannabinoids have been demonstrated to exert neuroprotective effects on different types of neuronal insults”, begins the study’s abstract. According to researchers, the goal of the study is to address the theraputic potential of cannabinoids “on photoreceptor degeneration, synaptic connectivity and functional activity of the retina in the transgenic P23H rat, an animal model for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RP).”
Researchers found that; “These results indicate that HU210 [a synthetic cannabinoid] preserves cone and rod structure and function, together with their contacts with postsynaptic neurons, in P23H rats.”
They conclude; “These data suggest that cannabinoids are potentially useful to delay retinal degeneration in RP patients.”
The study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Physiology at the University of Alicante.