Marijuana and Glaucoma: The Facts and Misconceptions

  
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July 25, 2019, by Bard Optical

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Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois

With the marijuana legalization being discussed throughout the United States, many medical institutions have ramped up their research on its effects on a variety of different illnesses, diseases, and inflictions.

It’s no wonder then that many have touted marijuana’s ability to treat eye diseases, such as the second-leading cause of blindness in the world: glaucoma.

Is There A Natural Cure For Glaucoma? 

Specialists have been studying the effects of marijuana and CBD oil to treat glaucoma since the late 1970s. 

So far, doctors have not recommended marijuana as an adequate alternative treatment for glaucoma. 

Why is that? 

Marijuana Doesn’t Provide Long-Term Intraocular Pressure Relief

The most prominent use for marijuana to treat glaucoma has been thought to be to relieve intraocular pressure. 

The optic pressure behind the eye is a leading cause of glaucoma. In order for any treatment to be effective, it must be able to sustain the relief of this pressure.

Studies have shown that marijuana helps relieve that pressure. 

However, it does not promote the sustained relief of that pressure. Many typically only feel the effects of marijuana consumption for 3-4 hours afterward. 

“Alcohol also has a moderate intraocular pressure-lowering effect for an hour or so after a drink,” reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “But no doctor would recommend that you drink alcohol every hour to treat glaucoma. Many other effective treatments are available that don't have the side-effects of alcohol.”

The Glaucoma Research Foundation also mentions in their research that in addition to the fleeting effect that marijuana gives you, its effects on the brain impairs the users’ ability to “(function) at maximum mental capacity,” as well as the other damaging effects on the lungs and respiratory system that you do not get from other alternative forms of treatment.

 

What About Using CBD Supplements?

Similar studies have shown that CBD oil might also not be as helpful as you think.

While CBD oil has been praised for treating a variety of different ailments, such as chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even acne, studies have suggested that people should not use CBD oil to treat glaucoma. 

While traditional marijuana usage lowers eye pressure, CBD oil actually raises it. 

In other words, instead of using CBD oil to help treat glaucoma, you’re actually speeding up the process, since the greater the pressure behind the eye is, the more at risk you are for glaucoma.

While marijuana and CBD oil have been proven to have various health benefits in a number of different medical practices, from cardiovascular to psychological, the studies that pair marijuana and glaucoma don’t look promising. 

As the acceptance of marijuana becomes more commonplace throughout our nation, it's important to stay informed on the various health benefits and risks of it. After all, the best way to stay safe in a new era of alternative remedies and multiple different treatment options is to educate yourself on what legitimate treatments are best for you, and what “treatments” are actually detrimental to your health.

As always, talk to your local eye doctor about the benefits and risks of marijuana for our eyes, and how you can protect yourself against glaucoma.

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