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Marijuana and Your Eyes

You may have heard things like marijuana can treat glaucoma or it will make your eyes red. It’s hard to determine what is true and what is not when you hear about marijuana, and for the most part it is because it has not been studied that well. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance determined by the Department of Drug Enforcement (DEA). Other Schedule 1 drugs include LSD, heroin, and ecstasy. Since it is a Schedule 1 drug, it is more difficult to obtain for study than other drugs or substances. Not until 2018 has the DEA started to allow an easier access to study marijuana, however it is still very difficult to obtain.

All marijuana that can be studied in clinical trials has come from the University of Mississippi since 1968. Complaints from the scientific community are that the marijuana grown there is not to the same potency as what the general public is consuming, and that the quality is very low. Since the drug is so heavily regulated researchers are forced to go this route.

In late 2018 the FDA allowed for the import of Canadian capsules containing THC and CBD, which are two active ingredients in the marijuana plant for study. CBD oil containing less than 0.3% THC has recently become legal in Wisconsin and has been advertised as the cure for virtually everything.

Speaking only to the eyes, CBD will not help with glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease where the higher pressure inside the eye damages your optic nerve. CBD when inserted into rats’ eyes increased the ocular pressure by 18% for around 4 hours. Rising the pressure in an eye with glaucoma would certainly make the blinding condition worse. It would be recommended that if you have glaucoma, that you do not use CBD products near the eye, if at all.

THC, the ingredient that gets you high in marijuana, did lower pressure in the rats’ eyes around 30%. Lowering the pressure that much is good for glaucoma treatment, however the pressure did not stay down 30% for long enough to be useful. One would have to smoke around 8-10 times per day to keep ocular pressure down 30% and treat glaucoma. Latanoprost is a cheap generic eye drop that is needed once per day to obtain the same results without the other side effects of marijuana. If you are using marijuana only to treat your glaucoma. Please seek medical care for your eyes, you are likely making your condition worse.

THC in marijuana will lower your blood pressure soon after smoking for a little while. This happens because blood vessels dilate in the body and increase the flow of blood. This dilation of blood vessels causes the eyes to turn red.

More study needs to be one on marijuana and its ingredients before it can be used to treat ocular conditions. Currently, there is no studied benefit of marijuana and your eyes.

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