In this contribution, we report the development of original nanocomposite cryogels for sustained topical delivery of hydrophobic natural active substances such as cannabidiol (CBD). The cryogels were fabricated by a method involving cryogenic treatment and photo-crosslinking of aqueous systems containing biodegradable 2-hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) and CBD-loaded polymeric micelles. The preparation of the water-soluble form of CBD was a key element for the successful drug loading in the one-pot reaction. The main physical, mechanical and biological characteristics of CBD-loaded and blank cryogels such as gel fraction yield, swelling degree, morphology, storage and loss moduli, and cytotoxicity were studied in detail. The advantage of nanocomposite over pure HEC cryogel carriers in terms of achieving a sustained release profile was also demonstrated.
Keywords: cannabidiol; cryogels; drug delivery; micelles; polysaccharides.
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