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Cannabidiol Enhances the Passage of Lipid Nanocapsules across the Blood–Brain Barrier Both in Vitro and in Vivo

Written by Caleb Summeril

Ailments affecting the central nervous system (CNS) have traditionally been difficult to treat due to challenges in reaching the system effectively through the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Recent developments using cannabidiol (CBD) to aid the movement of brain-targeting drugs across the BBB and into the CNS have shown promise in advancing the effectiveness of treatment for diseases within the CNS and present exciting insight into the growing field of nanomedicine.

A 2019 study utilized lipid nanocapsules (LNCs) with CBD present within in an attempt to increase the brain targeting ability of LNCs both in vitro and in vivo. Researchers speculated that due to a high number of cannabinoid receptors present within the CNS, adding cannabinoids to these brain-targeting nanomedicines could increase and enhance the ability to provide effective treatment [1].

Experiments were conducted first in vitro to determine how these LNCs would interact with brain cells considering factors such as uptake and permeability. Tests were conducted specifically on the human brain endothelial cell line hCMEC/D3 because this cell line provided increased barrier properties in relation to other similar lines [2]. The LNCs used in this study were paired both with CBD and a non-toxic dye to track these carriers as they approached the BBB and their specific interaction with hCMEC/D3 cells.

Results of the study demonstrated that the highest brain transcytosis rate was reached when using the smallest particle sized CBD infused LNCs [1]. These findings indicate that these small nanocapsules, when accompanied by cannabidiol, present a promising potential treatment for central nervous system diseases due to their ability to move efficiently across the blood-brain barrier. In addition, the brain-targeting ability demonstrated by the CBD decorated LNCs in these experiments was over 6x more effective in uptake than previous methods of CNS disease treatment [1].

Further development of these brain-targeting cannabinoid nanocarriers is needed to truly understand their full potential but studies such as this show the ongoing developments in the research and science of cannabinoid medicine and how new discoveries are leading to exciting breakthroughs.


  1. Aparacio-Blanco, J., et al. Cannabidiol Enhances the Passage of Lipid Nanocapsules across the Blood-Brain Barrier Both in Vitro and in Vivo. Pharmaceutics. 2019. 16: 1999-2010. Journal Impact Factor = 4.396
  2. Toman, P., et al. Nanoparticles of alkylglyceryl-dextran-graft-poly(lactic acid) for drug delivery to the brain: preparation and in vitro investigation. Acta Biomater. 23: 250-262 Journal Impact Factor = 6.319

Image Source: (Graphic 1)


About the author

Caleb Summeril

Caleb Summeril writes creative copy, stories and songs from the mountains of Colorado. When not working on words, he can be found on global gallivants which fuel future endeavors. Learn more about his writing services at calebsummeril.com

1 Comment

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