What Are The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma?
Updated: Jul 7
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye's optic nerve due to high pressure. This comes from fluid build up around the front part of the eye. One of the main types of glaucoma is open-angle, which is the most common form and accounts for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, 3 million Americans currently live with glaucoma, yet only 50% of these individuals are aware that they have the condition.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with this condition are
Halos around lights
Redness of the eyes
How Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Glaucoma?
Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged, often resulting in partial or total blindness. Currently, the only way to control glaucoma and prevent vision loss is to lower your IOP levels. Your ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma with medication, such as prescription eye drops or surgery, depending on the type of glaucoma and how severe it is.
The optic nerve damage that causes glaucoma is usually due to intraocular pressure which medical marijuana effectively reduces. Therefore, it has been deemed an effective treatment in alleviating the symptoms of glaucoma.
While marijuana is effective at reducing intraocular pressure, it only does so for a short period of time (roughly 4 hours). There are products that can provide all of the medicinal benefits of the drug without causing the associated ‘high’. These new products make extensive use of the compound found in marijuana known as CBD, which Does not cause any psychoactive effects. Without the “high”, medical marijuana can be used throughout the day without interfering with your normal activities.
The effects of a single-dose of medical marijuana may be short-lived, however, this does not delegitimize marijuana’s effectiveness at improving the quality of life for patients with glaucoma. In addition to providing a nearly instant reduction in intraocular pressure, medical marijuana can also provide relief from other symptoms of the disease including nausea, pain, and headaches.