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Glaucoma Patients Experiment With Cannabis as a Medical Alternative

Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s pressure increases, causing pain and seeing halos around lights. If a patient’s eye pressure continues to rise, glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness throughout the world. Glaucoma can occur as a result of damage to the ocular media, an increase in pressure, or both. It also may develop without producing any symptoms, demonstrating the importance of regular eye examinations and glaucoma treatment and therapy. Surgical operations were previously the only way to treat glaucoma since lowering the pressure in the eye. Laser eye surgery and glaucoma treatments, for example, can help prevent blindness or other significant consequences. Many of these medicines and procedures are crucial and successful, but they may also have negative side effects.

Cannabinoid receptors are located in the ocular (eye) tissue, which is crucial for controlling eye pressure. When THC was administered as a pill or injection in the 1970s, it was discovered that it effectively reduced eye pressure for 3-4 hours. Glaucoma is one of the oldest medical issues treated with medical cannabis in Western medicine.

More information about the endocannabinoid system can be found here.

THC’s short duration of action, on the other hand, means that one would have to take it continuously or frequently, which is unlikely for most due to cognitive side effects, potential serious outcomes like smoking marijuana cigarettes damaging the lungs, and expense. Cannabidiol, on the other hand, has been found to raise eye pressure. As a result, it is critical to follow up with an ophthalmologist for glaucoma treatment and prevention of serious side effects with authorized medications, and possibly utilize additional THC. CBD, on the other hand, has actually been proven to increase eye pressure.

Using Medical Cannabis to Treat Glaucoma: Benefits & Drawbacks

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana use in glaucoma.


  • Effective in reducing ocular eye pressure for a short time.
  • It has been shown to help prevent the advance of glaucoma in short-term studies, but there is no long-term evidence.
  • The CBD in cannabis can also help you feel less anxious about having a chronic disease.
  • It relieves chronic pain.
  • It’s effective against nausea.


  • The body develops tolerance over time, and eye pressure does not remain as high with increased doses of cannabis needed to achieve the same results.
  • THC has a maximum efficacy of only 3-4 hours. A patient would require 8-10 doses of cannabis (if smoking marijuana) to control eye pressure.
  • Since the 1970s, researchers have investigated a variety of cannabis ingestion techniques for glaucoma, including inhaled, IV (research only), topical, and oral THC. Oral THC had a quicker onset but also a faster offset, suggesting more frequent doses and more side effects from marijuana.
  • The relatively high cost of this procedure, in comparison to traditional glaucoma therapy.
  • It might irritate a patient’s eyes.
  • Glaucoma drugs are not to be substituted or exchanged unless you have an approved glaucoma diagnosis.
  • The long-term consequences of cannabis are yet unknown.
  • Cannabis is not yet officially recognized by ophthalmological organizations such as the American Glaucoma Society or the American Academy of Ophthalmology, although preliminary research appears to support it.

If you have glaucoma and use cannabis, it is important to go to an eye doctor. They can tell if there is a problem with your eyes that will affect your eye pressure readings.

Glaucoma Causes

The greatest risk factors for glaucoma are race, age, and high IOP. People who are older than 60 years old, Hispanics/Latinos or African Americans, over the age of 40, and those with a family history of glaucoma are at the greatest risk.

Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness, but at least half of patients are unaware that they have it. Even for those who don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, seeing an eye doctor is crucial since, in most situations, blindness can be prevented with appropriate therapy.

When an eye is functioning properly, aqueous humor—a clear liquid in the eye—circulates between the lens and the back of the cornea. In people who have high eye pressure, the outflow of the fluid becomes restricted.

Glaucoma is caused by the buildup of pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve, resulting in irreversible damage. Pressure and cell death are two factors that can contribute to optic nerve damage. Medications, poor blood flow, certain diseases, operations, and mechanical disturbances might all result in glaucoma.

Treatment for glaucoma focuses on lowering eye pressure in order to prevent vision loss. Unfortunately, reducing eye pressure in sufferers does not always help slow the disease’s progression. Glaucoma can develop and even progress with normal eye pressures, emphasizing the importance of specialized treatment for detecting and managing glaucoma.

The most frequent symptoms of glaucoma are eye throbbing discomfort,  vomiting, nausea, headaches (it can happen on the same side as the eye that is sick), redness of the eyes, blurry vision, dilated pupils, and vision loss. While cannabis may not be able to slow the disease’s progression, it may be beneficial in terms of alleviating

Glaucoma: Their Types

Glaucoma is divided into four categories. Here are the key distinctions between them:

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

  • One of the most prevalent types of glaucoma.
  • It starts gradually and grows with time.
  • Glaucoma, the most prevalent eye disease, is caused by drainage canals and slow clogging, this causes an increase in the pressure of your eyes..
  • This is a life-long condition.
  • The cornea and iris meeting place is normal.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

  • Blocked drainage canals result in higher eye pressure because of a build-up of fluid.
  • Acute assaults might produce symptoms such as vision blur and intense eye discomfort.
  • The iris and cornea are separated by a closed or narrow-angle.
  • It grows quickly.
  • Your life and health are in constant danger.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

  • Even though your eye pressure is normal, the optic nerve is harmed.

Congenital Glaucoma

  • This condition, also known as talipes equino, affects newborn babies when the drainage canals of their eyes are not developed properly in the womb.

Other forms of glaucoma are divided into many categories, with each one further broken down by age of onset, cause, or location of the blockage. Always see an eye doctor regularly and seek specialized treatment for glaucoma since the symptoms can be severe and irreversible.

The experts at DIGIdrs can connect you with a medical marijuana doctor or a cannabis coach to help you discover more about the benefits of using it.

*DigiDrs is not offering this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided in these pages. Consult a physician before making decisions on the treatment of any of these medical conditions.

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