If there were a Family Feud question about medical uses of marijuana, glaucoma would probably be one of the top answers. Even people who have only the vaguest idea of what glaucoma actually is know that cannabis is a popular treatment for it. In fact, the association between marijuana and age-related eye diseases echoes in 420-positive lyrics. In “Kush,” Snoop Dogg snarks, “Need it for my cataracts.” Glaucoma is especially notable among cannabis-qualifying conditions for a very serious reason, though. Many medical marijuana uses just make you feel better. Using cannabis to treat glaucoma, however, can actually prevent further vision loss.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a buildup of fluid inside the eye. This excessive fluid puts pressure on the optic nerve, gradually causing vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness. Because the vision loss happens so slowly, most people do not know that they have glaucoma until their vision has become very poor.
To halt the progression of glaucoma, marijuana is one of the best treatments. The key to treating glaucoma is to reduce intraocular pressure. At eye exams, doctors test the pressure inside your eyes. If they tell you the pressure is too high, you will need to reduce the amount of fluid to reduce pressure and prevent vision loss. Thus, it is marijuana glaucoma patients seek to preserve their vision.
What Research Says About Cannabis as a Glaucoma Treatment
Some of the oldest medical cannabis research is about marijuana and glaucoma. A classic study from 1980 showed that smoking marijuana reduced both blood pressure and intraocular pressure. The study is so classic, in fact, that it spells it “marihuana.” It showed that the effects were most pronounced 60 minutes after the study participants lit up.
It appears that THC, the compound in weed that gets you high, also reduces eye pressure. Of course, you do not have to be a habitual smoker to reap the benefits of cannabis as a treatment for glaucoma. You can also use THC eye drops; they appear to be just as effective as smoking. The eye drops take effect within 30 minutes, and their effects last four to six hours. An animal study also showed that applying the eye drops to just one eye reduced the pressure in both eyes.
In most professions, it is not practical to smoke weed six times a day, making THC eye drops a valuable solution for glaucoma sufferers. 26 states recognize the association between glaucoma and marijuana and consider it a qualifying condition. Other states recognize “chronic pain” as a qualifying condition. Since chronic pain is often a symptom of glaucoma, you could get a physician recommendation to use cannabis to treat your glaucoma-associated pain.
Your couch potato neighbor probably has a bag of weed lying around, but he probably does not have THC eye drops. To get those, you will need a medical cannabis card. To get an online physician’s evaluation to send with your medical card application, visit MMJ Herb.
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