Marijuana And Glaucoma- Treatment Or Trouble?

What is glaucoma?

The optic nerve enables sight by carrying visual information from one’s eye to their brain, where the data is then interpreted in the form of images. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, often due to an abnormally high pressure (IOP) in the eye, potentially leading to total blindness.

Is marijuana a good treatment for glaucoma?

As marijuana and compounds derived from marijuana (like CBD) become increasingly available throughout the United States and Canada, glaucoma specialists have rising concerns about the misconceptions regarding whether marijuana is an effective treatment for this eye disease.

The experts agree, marijuana and cannabis products should not be used to treat glaucoma. The American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology and Canadian Ophthalmological Society are among numerous eye physician organizations that heavily discourage marijuana related glaucoma therapies.

Why are other treatments superior?

Although marijuana has been proven to temporarily lower eye pressure (IOP) in glaucoma patients, the IOP lowering effects are insufficient for managing eye pressure 24 hours a day. If a patient were to use marijuana heavily and continually enough to maintain beneficially low IOP, the immense cost, heavy effects on their mood and mental clarity, and negative respiratory health effects (if smoked) would render the treatment extremely troublesome and impractical.

Furthermore, although the marijuana plant’s cannabinoid ‘THC’ lowers eye pressure, it also lowers blood pressure throughout the body- which can damage the optic nerve by decreasing blood flow to it. This factor, combined with the IOP raising capacity of another marijuana cannabinoid called ‘CBD,’ effectively cancels out the benefits of lowered eye pressure and may even worsen glaucoma!

Specialists have developed a variety of proven glaucoma treatments, ranging from eyedrops to surgery, with far fewer negative side effects while being accessible to patients without astronomical financial resources.

How do I protect my vision from glaucoma?

Early detection and treatment continue to be widely endorsed by eyecare professionals, as glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. It is highly recommended that you have a comprehensive eye examination every year, so that any beginning signs of glaucoma can be found and treated immediately to prevent vision loss.

If your eye doctor diagnoses you with glaucoma, proceed with their recommended treatments only and always follow their instructions diligently.