Is Marijuana Good for Glaucoma?
The medical use of marijuana for eye problems like glaucoma is still up for further research and studies.
What Does Medical Marijuana Do for Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye condition that affects millions of people. It is a complex condition that targets the optic nerve. With no medical intervention, glaucoma can lead to minimized peripheral vision and sometimes even blindness. After cataracts, glaucoma is the top culprit for the loss of sight. Primarily, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type wherein the eye’s retina slowly gets damaged, affecting the optic nerve. One distinct characteristic of glaucoma is that the eye has elevated pressure or intraocular pressure (IOP).
Over the years, eye doctors controlled low IOP levels through medications and surgery. A breakthrough in the 1970s showed that THC and marijuana could minimize IOP. This sparked the interest of physicians and glaucoma patients because, at that time, other medications for glaucoma came with unfavorable side effects.
With the controversy surrounding medical marijuana, other treatment options for glaucoma emerged. Traditional therapies that eye doctors do to relieve intraocular pressure are deemed more effective than marijuana. In fact, it is expected that glaucoma medications will be more efficient at treating the disease.
Why Is Marijuana Used for Glaucoma?
As mentioned, a research conducted in the 1970s found that marijuana is somewhat effective in lowering eye pressure for people with or without glaucoma. However, there’s a major drawback to it. The use of cannabis in treating eye conditions is impractical.
Eye conditions, including glaucoma, cannot be treated with marijuana and the other components it has, such as THC and CBD, because an individual will have to consume 18 to 20 mg of THC up to eight times per day. Continuous ingestion of such amounts can drastically affect your mental clarity, mood, and the health of your lungs if you smoke it. It is a costly solution to glaucoma, which is not a worthwhile option for many people.
Eye doctors also found out that low blood pressure can damage the optic nerve. This is yet another basis for why marijuana wouldn’t work. Marijuana lowers the blood pressure in the entire body, which can affect the blood flow in the optic nerve. This effectively disqualifies it as a viable treatment option.
Are There Any Proven Benefits to Marijuana Use for Glaucoma Patients?
Although there is evidence that marijuana can lower the IOP, the risks it carries outweigh the benefits. On the other hand, the legalization of marijuana in different countries has encouraged experts to conduct further studies about its potential.
You see, drinking alcohol also shows lowered IOP, but you will not see any medical professional recommending it as a treatment option for glaucoma. There are other treatment options that are more effective, and you won’t have to suffer through the adverse side effects.
There’s no substantial evidence that THC is beneficial to glaucoma patients.
Comprehensive studies have been conducted to test whether THC cigarettes, eye drops, and pills are effective at relieving IOP and treating glaucoma. In a study using cigarettes and/or THC-containing pills, participants had to be asked to stop after nine months because of the unpleasant side effects.
The THC eye drops were no better. It wasn’t effective in lowering IOP, and they lead to burning and irritated eyes. Another thing the researchers tried was a sublingual THC compound placed under the tongue, and it did not have any effect in reducing IOP.
The lack of substantial results is also evident in CBD.
CBD is another active compound found in the cannabis sativa plant, and unlike THC, it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. However, whether it’s smoked or eaten, CBD also does not show any promise in treating glaucoma. Not only that but there’s a recent study that CBD may actually heighten IOP, making a patient’s glaucoma even worse than it is.
As much as you might want to give marijuana a try, you or your loved one should consult an ophthalmologist for more effective glaucoma treatment. Altitude Organics Cannabis always promotes the responsible use of marijuana, so we are upfront about its efficacy in treating certain diseases.
Our medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado Springs, CO, is trusted by many due to our focus on quality and compliance. If you are interested to learn about the medicinal uses of marijuana for other conditions, feel free to call us at (970) 485-6147 or email us at [email protected] We will be happy to talk to you about our high-quality medicinal and recreational marijuana strains and CBD products.