Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma



Glaucoma is a medical menace. While it accounts for over 75% of cases of blindness among senior citizens over 65, younger people are not safe from it either. This disease comes about due to the destruction of the optic nerves by intraocular pressure(IOC). Optic nerves transmit visual information between the eye and the brain through electrical impulses. Their destruction could lead to partial or total blindness.

There are cases where blindness occurs even after seeking treatment. The conventional medication administered for eye problems includes antibiotics and eye drops. However, medical marijuana is gaining more traction as an alternative therapy.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma causes intense pressure within the eyeball, leading to blindness. Its effects show up so slowly that the loss of sight may only become evident in the last stages. Unfortunately, the generation of optic nerves isn't possible, meaning the damage caused by this disease is irreversible. Patients' only solace is that loss of sight can either be slowed down or stemmed when the condition is noticed.

Therefore, it is vital to visit your ophthalmologist regularly, especially in your twilight years. Doing this may give your eyesight some extra lifeline.

There are four types of glaucoma. These include primary open-angle glaucoma, primary closed-angle glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and developmental glaucoma.

Given the devastating effects of glaucoma in its latter stages, it is crucial to begin treatment immediately after being diagnosed with it. Various technological innovations have enabled the creation of advanced glaucoma treatment. These treatments can prolong about 15% percent of glaucoma patient's eyesight by 20 years.

Even though glaucoma's primary cause hasn't been ascertained, doctors have established that some families are more prone to aqueous humor(the inability of the eye to drain excess fluid). The extra fluids in the eye lead to IOC's development, which destroys the optical nerve in the long run.

The Effect of Marijuana on Glaucoma; How Does Marijuana Help Glaucoma?

The relationship between glaucoma and cannabis isn't a new topic. As early as the 1970s,  scientists were researching how cannabis can help prevent blindness. Nonetheless, the newfound tolerance for weed as a legal substance has sparked explorations of its possible benefits.

Studies have shown that smoking weed combats glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure by up to 30% in the short term. The long-run results weren't as impressive; thus, the only way to lower the IOC is by smoking weed in short intervals. On the positive side though, further research shows that THC pills can significantly reduce IOC.

Furthermore,  a study conducted among citizens over 60 years showed that CBD is an efficient eye pressure reliever. However, the limitation of subjects in this study made it impossible to ascertain if CBD oil would have the same effect on young people as it does on the elderly.

Medical Marijuana vs. Traditional Treatment

Ophthalmologists approach glaucoma treatment differently. Some prefer laser treatment, while others go for methods like eye drops administration. Using the right dosage of traditional medication can be effective in reducing intraocular pressure. Whereas conventional medication has this potential, some patients have difficulty accessing this medicine.

The inability to get the drug, coupled with various reported cases of allergic reactions have led more people to embrace dope as their alternative therapy.

Marijuana's ability to reduce eye pressure is irrefutable. However, you'll have to use it at much shorter intervals than you would with traditional medication.

Merits of Using Marijuana

The benefits of using marijuana to treat glaucoma far outweigh the negative effects. Firstly, it doesn’t cause allergenic reactions. Moreover, since glaucoma's eminent ability to cause blindness makes its patients anxious, using marijuana not only reduces IOC but also provides its users with a sensation that minimizes their stress, making them live happily.

The drug also contains vaxo-relaxants, which improve blood flow to the eye, thereby limiting the development of glaucoma. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory agents that aid in making your eyes healthy.

Possible Side Effects of Marijuana

Using marijuana to treat glaucoma doesn't always result in happy endings. There are instances where it causes palpitations which may lead to stroke. Weed can also restrain the blood flow to your eye, thereby subjecting your optical nerve to damage.

The mind-altering ability of THC may cause depression among glaucoma patients. Since marijuana reduces eye pressure in the short term, you have to take it regularly for it to be effective. As such, it may increase the intensity of the side effects like depression and addiction.

Marijuana Products for Glaucoma

There are a wide variety of marijuana medicinal products. These include:

Edibles – Cannaboid forms that may be infused in edibles are CBD, Cannabigerol, or THC. They are used to make edibles like chocolate bars, cupcakes, and gummies.

Oils – These are obtained from marijuana plants for health purposes. When extracted from plants with high CBD or THC concentrations, they are referred to as CBD oil or THC oil.

There also other oils that exclusively contain cannabinoids. They are referred to as isolates because only one element is used during the manufacturing process. 

Oils are either formulated as capsules or packed in bottles with droppers to enable users to have an easy time dropping them under their tongue.

Beverages – These are created by infusing cannabinoids in everyday drinks. Carbonated and frothy drinks mix well with oils, whereas drinking water form perfect beverages with tinctures.

Take Away

The research on the connection between weed and glaucoma is still ongoing. With time, there is a chance that researchers will find conclusive ways of modifying marijuana to help in the treatment of eye ailments. 

However, before then, doctors should prescribe all glaucoma management medication to help their patients fight this condition. They should also ensure they give their patients insight into the best way to use their medication to avoid misuse.