Studies conducted in 1970 show that medicinal marijuana is assisting people in coping with glaucoma symptoms. Today, glaucoma patients can use medicinal marijuana to treat their intraocular pressure. Due to the increased interest in marijuana, more researchers are motivated to look into the advantages of marijuana.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by increased pressure within the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). Over time, high IOP can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and potential blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma can occur at any age, but it is more common in individuals over 60.
How Medical Marijuana Can Relieve Eye Pressure?
Glaucoma, characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP), occurs when there is a blockage in the flow of the eye’s fluid. Elevated IOP can lead to restricted fluid circulation and a build-up of pressure, posing a risk to the optic nerve and vision. Medical marijuana has been explored as a potential treatment for reducing IOP in glaucoma patients.
A study conducted in 1971 by Hepler and Frank found that marijuana, reduced IOP by 25 to 30 percent for 3 to 4 hours. Subsequent research has shown similar effects for various cannabinoids.
The exact mechanism by which cannabinoids affect the eye is not yet understood due to limited research on glaucoma. However, topical applications of cannabis have demonstrated benefits. In a 1981 study, THC-infused light minerals reduced IOP in glaucoma patients.
One synthetic cannabinoid called HU-211, which is non-psychoactive has shown promise in reducing IOP for over 6 hours compared to the typical 3 to 4-hour duration of other cannabis compounds. HU-211 does not stimulate cannabinoid receptors but inhibits NMDA receptors, reducing the pain associated with elevated IOP. Synthetic marijuana can offer potential glaucoma treatment options while minimizing psychoactive side effects.
Considerations and Consultations with Eye Care Professionals
If you’re considering marijuana as a potential glaucoma treatment, involving your eye care professional in the decision-making process is essential. They possess the expertise to guide you based on your specific condition, overall eye health, and treatment goals.
During your consultation, discuss the following:
Comprehensive Treatment Plan: Marijuana should be considered as part of a comprehensive glaucoma treatment plan. It should not replace or interfere with other prescribed treatments or medications.
Legal Implications: Familiarize yourself with the legal status of marijuana in your area. Not all regions permit the medical use of marijuana, so it’s essential to understand the regulations and guidelines.
Individualized Approach: Your eye care professional can help determine the most suitable strain and dosage. They can also monitor your progress and assess any potential side effects.
The Limitations of Marijuana for Glaucoma Treatment
Here are a few important factors to consider:
Duration of Effect: The IOP-lowering effect of marijuana is temporary, lasting only a few hours. To manage glaucoma, consistent and continuous reduction of IOP is necessary.
Frequent Dosage: Achieving a sustained reduction in IOP with marijuana would need frequent dosing. This poses challenges in terms of practicality and potential side effects.
Side Effects and Impairment: Marijuana use comes with potential side effects, including dry eyes and redness. These effects may limit its suitability for some individuals.
While marijuana shows promise in lowering intraocular pressure, it is crucial to approach its use with caution. Marijuana should be viewed as a potential treatment to complement existing glaucoma management strategies.