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CBD for Glaucoma: Cannabis Inhalation Reduces the Inter-ocular Pressure

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the eye’s optic nerves responsible for transmitting images to the brain. The disease is commonly associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Though it can be inherited, its symptoms may not show up until an individual reaches 40. Glaucoma gets worse over time and may even cause a permanent loss of vision within a few years. Also, as it does not have any symptoms, it is difficult to identify it at an early stage.

Although today’s surgical procedures have cut the risk of vision loss by nearly 50%, the topical medications available for treating glaucoma are seldom effective. Given the vital role our body’s endocannabinoid system plays in this disease, cannabinoid-derived medications are just perfect for treating it. Furthermore, glaucoma is believed to have a connection with other neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (one out of every four Alzheimer’s patients has this eye disorder). So, inhalation of cannabis may reduce the risk of other nerve-related diseases in the long run.

Studies on marijuana’s effects on glaucoma:
In a 1979 study published in International Journal of Pharmacology and Biopharmacology, a group of 16 patients with open-angle glaucoma (and 8 of them have high blood pressure) were made to inhale whole-plant cannabis containing 2.8% THC. It was observed that THC reduced the blood pressure, triggering a sudden increase in heart rate. As a result, the intra-ocular pressure inside the patients’ eyes decreased. Interestingly, the effects lasted longer in subjects with hypertension.

In 1980, the same group of researchers published a review of the 1979 study in Opthalmology journal. The article says that a significant reduction in the intraocular pressure (IOP) occurred within 60-90 mins of using cannabis. However, some participants reported side effects such as changes in perception, euphoria, and a pounding sensation in the chest region. For this reason, the inhalation of whole-plant cannabis at high doses may not be right for everyone. Hopefully, cannabis has hundreds of compounds, in addition to the high-inducing THC, so some of them may inhibit IOP without side effects, but studying each cannabinoid’s effect on glaucoma takes many years if not decades.

Beware of addiction:
Once you inhale marijuana to reduce the IOP, the effects last only for 3 to 4 hours. In order to treat glaucoma 24 hours a day, you need to smoke marijuana 6 to 8 times a day, which may lead to an addiction. Furthermore, due to marijuana’s mood-altering property, inhaling it around the clock renders you incapable of driving or operating equipment.

Glaucoma affects 3 million individuals in the U.S. alone and 60 million people across the world. Since this disease is classified as a neurodegenerative disorder (caused by nerve damage), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use cannabis to counter it, unless you have a severe heart ailment or any illness that’s known to worsen with cannabinoid use. Also, the high levels of THC in whole-plant marijuana may worsen conditions anxiety and schizophrenia, so select a strain rich in CBD, a compound known to reverse the psychoactive effects of THC. To know if cannabis is suitable for you or not, please contact a physician.