Cannabis and Glaucoma
Shared By Susan Rutherford
Glaucoma is an eye condition that is caused by an increased pressure inside the eye, termed intraocular pressure, IOP. Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated. Glaucoma can be painful and loss of vision can occur due to this condition. That vision is lost forever. It is therefore very important to treat glaucoma to stop the progress of the disease. Up until now, there is no cure.
Treatments for this disease are usually medicated eye drops that when administered aim to decrease the pressure inside the eye. Side effects can range from blurred vision, stinging and pain. This treatment method may be ineffective and patients for whom this conventional treatment does not work, have reported success using medical marijuana.
How medical marijuana works in treating Glaucoma is by lowering the pressure inside the eye, IOP, that causes the damage from this disease. The effect lasts for around three to four hours. Because the short duration of time, many patients combine their treatment plan utilizing medical marijuana along side their standard treatment. Medical marijuana can be extremely effective in this way.
Research has shown the body has an endocannabinoid system and that system plays a vital role in protecting the body from symptoms of neural diseases and conditions like glaucoma. This indicated that activation of the endocannabinoid system can be a helpful treatment.
Cannabinoids in the treatment of glaucoma have been thought to work in several different ways to stop the progression of the degenerative effects caused by the disease. These include, suppressing the damaged eye cells’ ability to effect other eye cells and causing further damage, improve the inter-eye circulation and prevent damage by foreign tissues.
The intraocular pressure (IOP) caused by glaucoma is the only direct symptom that the conventional medications treat, so having access to medical marijuana as an alternative treatment for glaucoma is important.
THC, in conjunction with CBD, appears to have a more measurable effect and may work better for glaucoma patients, than CBD alone, in reducing IOP.
Cannabinoids, compound unique to marijuana, are what treat the symptoms of glaucoma. The methods of delivery of cannabinoids include:
- Smoking it in a pipe or joint
- vaporizing it to inhale the cannabinoids without smoke
- eating it in the form of edibles (candies, cookies, drinks, cake etc.) and tinctures
Glaucoma can cause blindness in up to 10% of patients, even if caught and treated early. Conventional treatments alone, may not always be as desirable and/or as effective as using medical marijuana in conjunction. Because the cannabinoids present in marijuana have been proven to reduce IOP and other symptoms, glaucoma patients may benefit from its use, alongside their conventional treatment plan. Using medical marijuana as part of a patient’s treatment plan is a matter for discussion with their health care provider.