Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Despite many years of research, treatment options for diabetic retinopathy remain limited and with adverse effects. Discovery of new molecular entities with adequate clinical activity for diabetic retinopathy remains one of the key research priorities in ophthalmology. This review is focused on the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive native cannabinoid, as an emerging and novel therapeutic modality in ophthalmology based on systematic studies in animal models of inflammatory retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy – a retinal disease associated with vascular-neuroinflammation. Special emphasis is placed on novel mechanisms which may shed light on the pharmacological activity associated with CBD preclinically. These include a self-defence system against inflammation and neurodegeneration mediated by inhibition of equilibrative nucleoside transporter and activation of adenosine receptor by treatment with CBD.
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