Some people use different treatments for glaucoma. One of them is marijuana. Does it really work? Here’s what the science says about it currently.
What is glaucoma?
This is a disease that actually damages the optic nerve and that’s a vital part of being able to see. It causes fluid buildup, more pressure, and also further damage to the optic nerve. Sometimes, the drainage happens at an angle and is able to be easily drained, but other times, it can be blocked, which causes the eye pressure to increase rapidly.
There are different symptoms to glaucoma, including the increased eye pressure, and it may not be something that people notice. Some people mistake the risk factors, and sometimes, it’s because of the cornea being thinner at the center.
Those with high blood pressure or extreme near or farsightedness are at risk for this, which is why you should get regular screenings. Usually, the first symptom is loss of the peripheral vision, and sometimes severe pain in the eye area. It also may cause a halo looking sight in your field of vision. This may be an angle closure and should be treated right away.
If left untreated, it does cause blindness, and it can actually also be associated with diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and even macular degeneration. It can definitely cause total vision loss if not properly treated or managed. How it’s treated is usually to prevent the pressure, whether through eye drops, or surgery, depending on the kind of glaucoma that you have going on.
Marijuana and glaucoma
It may seem a bit strange, but it actually has been something that’s been studied for almost 50 years. People were given exams, and then smoked a cigarette of marijuana, and then they took it again, and the study found that it does decrease the eye pressure. It could possibly be a way to treat it, but right now, we don’t know for sure.
Why is that? Right now, we don’t have the right studies present to look to marijuana as an effective glaucoma treatment, since it hasn’t been totally studied all that much in most of the recent years, and it hasn’t been put up against traditional treatments. There was one that actually found that THC didn’t actually affect the intraocular pressure since THC isn’t absorbed very well, but some found that CBD may be the treatment.
There are some challenges that come with this too. The first is of course the legality of marijuana, since it is not technically a legal substance. The second thing is figuring out whether or not the cannabinoid THC plays a role in this, or if it’s something else.
Right now, CBD doesn’t seem to lower this, and while THC does, it’s not a ton. This may not help everyone, but elderly patients may particularly not want this, since they don’t want to deal with the psychoactive effects that come with THC. Remember this usually affects people over the age of 60, so you need to be convincing someone who is older to possibly try this.
Another thing to consider as well is the dosage factors, since they’d have to smoke or consume it up top 8 times a day to treat this, and it’s something that may not be good for the body to consume regularly, especially all that THC. Some may say edibles are the answer, but there is till some issues with that too, indulging the results of what that may cause. Overall, this is still a hot topic, and it’s something that may not be right for everyone.