How Does Medical Marijuana Help With Glaucoma?
Medical marijuana is known to have many benefits for a large number of different symptoms and conditions. And West Virginia’s list of approved conditions for medical marijuana is pretty expansive, offering cannabis as an alternative medicine for a variety of different ailments.
One condition that many patients report medical marijuana can help with is glaucoma, an eye disease that damages the optic nerve causing blindness.
In this article, we’ll talk about how medical marijuana can help with glaucoma and what benefits patients often see from using medical marijuana as an alternative medicine for glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma Is the Second Leading Cause of Blindness
Glaucoma isn’t just one problem or symptom, as it actually encompasses a range of damage to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma typically exists in one of three forms:
· Open-Angle Glaucoma – This is the most common type of glaucoma, where increased pressure in the eye leads to damage of the optic nerve. Symptoms are often dormant or unnoticeable until vision loss occurs.
· Closed-Angle Glaucoma – Closed-Angle glaucoma occurs when the iris becomes deformed and creates restrictions on the eye’s ability to drain fluid. This is often acute and can occur after trauma to the eye and is considered a medical emergency.
· Normal-Tension Glaucoma – This is the rarest type of glaucoma, where the optic nerve becomes damaged regardless of intraocular pressure.
When pressure in the eye can’t be drained, damage occurs to the optic nerve and vision loss occurs as a result.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma, and the symptoms depend on the type and severity of the damage to the optic nerve.
Depending on the damage that has already occurred, medications or surgery are prescribed that may help reduce intraocular pressure and prevent further damage. 15% - 20% of patients with glaucoma will lose vision in at least one eye within 20 years, even with medication.
The biggest goal in managing glaucoma and preventing further damage to the optic nerve is by reducing the pressure in the eyes, though there are a number of complications with treating glaucoma including high medication costs, side effects, and effectiveness.
Many glaucoma medications can come at a significant cost, and side effects like pain, burning, or stinging in the eye, nausea, fatigue, and headaches are common with glaucoma medications.
How Medical Marijuana Can Help With Glaucoma
Studies Show Medical Marijuana Can Reduce Intraocular Pressure
Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure by up to 25%, and lasts for up to 4 hours before requiring another dose. Medical marijuana patients can use cannabis safely to reduce intraocular pressure, and reduced intraocular pressure was seen in 60% - 65% of patients in the study.
While medical marijuana won’t cure glaucoma, it may work well for patients who are unable to use traditional glaucoma medications and may ease some of the potential side effects of glaucoma medications.
How Patients Use Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma
Patients can use medical marijuana to help with glaucoma in a variety of ways.
Cannabis eyedrops are an option available in some areas, though they haven’t quite arrived in West Virginia yet.
Tinctures are another popular option, usually offering increased relief with less side effects than smoked cannabis, though many patients prefer the immediate effects of smoking cannabis.
Smoked cannabis typically offers the most immediate and manageable effects, though it may not be an option for patients who can’t conveniently smoke cannabis flower at the required intervals of every 3 to 4 hours.
For many patients, consistent dosing is the biggest challenge with cannabis and glaucoma, which makes edible or orally consumable products a popular choice.
And while medical cannabis won’t treat glaucoma, it may help to reduce intraocular pressure when used in combination with traditional pharmaceuticals. There are no known interactions between cannabis and glaucoma medications.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Certification in
West Virginia’s medical marijuana program offers full access to cannabis as a medicine for a variety of conditions, and getting your medical marijuana card is simple and easy. Patients can consult with one of our qualified physicians who can determine your eligibility for medical marijuana and begin the journey of using cannabis as a medicine.
To get access to medical marijuana in West Virginia, patients must first obtain a medical marijuana certification from a qualified physician.
Take the steps to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!
Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.
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If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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