One of the many uses of medical marijuana is its use as a treatment for glaucoma. This optic nerve condition can lead to loss of vision or blindness without medical assistance. Marijuana has long been hailed for its ability to reduce eye pressure, which causes glaucoma. Here we explore the question: How does medical marijuana help glaucoma patients?
What Is Glaucoma?
First of all, glaucoma is a disease that affects the optic nerve’s pressure. A buildup of fluid within the eye due to increased pressure can damage the optic nerve. This can impair vision, or blind completely.
There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The first type is the most common, and the slow of the two. In the second type, angle-closure glaucoma, fluid builds up close to the iris. This can lead to rapid blindness and needs medical attention immediately.
An estimated 3 million Americans live with glaucoma. The demographics most affected by glaucoma are people over 60, specifically African Americans. Anyone with a family history of glaucoma should look for loss of peripheral vision.
Difficulty seeing objects at the edges of your sight is the first symptom of open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma won’t be painful, so the best way to diagnose it is to watch for slow vision deterioration. Contrastingly, angle-closure glaucoma manifests as nausea, blurry vision, and head or eye pain.
Studies Show That Marijuana Can Treat Glaucoma
Marijuana is not a cure for glaucoma. There is, in fact, no cure yet for this condition; there are only ways of controlling or stopping its progression.
How does medical marijuana help glaucoma patients? The main way to treat glaucoma is by reducing the pressure on the optic nerve. Though research isn’t conclusive on the extent of marijuana’s effects on glaucoma, some studies show it can reduce inner eye pressure.
This research goes back to the 1970s. These studies showed that smoking marijuana could reduce inner eye pressure for people with glaucoma. The promising nature of these studies leads to more research. The National Eye Institute found that smoking, ingesting, or injecting THC, specifically, did lower eye pressure.
The major drawback to their findings is that marijuana only reduces inner eye pressure for a maximum of four hours. To use exclusively marijuana as a treatment, someone with glaucoma would need to ingest THC every few hours, day and night. The inconvenient nature of marijuana treatment for glaucoma means that it can’t be the sole treatment for someone with glaucoma.
To learn more about treating glaucoma, consult a medical specialist immediately.
Other Research Warns Against Marijuana Use
Some researchers found that reducing blood flow to the optic nerve contributes to glaucoma. Since marijuana does reduce blood pressure, it could lead to less blood flow. Some medical experts say that this negates the positive effects marijuana has on optic nerve pressure.
How Would You Use Medical Marijuana For Glaucoma?
How does medical marijuana help glaucoma patients? Some suggest using medical marijuana along with other treatments, but others caution against it. Furthermore, if you’re interested in using medical marijuana for eye pressure, look for strains with a high concentration of the cannabinoid CBG. CBD can also be an important component in treating glaucoma.
Marijuana Doctors recommends strains Blueberry, Maui Maui and Cherry Kola for inner eye pressure treatment.
Marijuana Can Treat Other Side Effects of Glaucoma
Though the onset of glaucoma is often slow and pain-free this condition often has debilitating side-effects later on. The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting and anxiety. Cannabis can be a great treatment for all three of these conditions.
People have long hailed marijuana as a great nausea suppressant. In treatments that often induce nausea, like chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS medication, many patients report that marijuana can limit their symptoms. Therefore, 25 percent of cancer patients use marijuana while over a quarter of people with HIV/AIDS use marijuana.
Though different types of marijuana can affect people in various ways, marijuana can be a great treatment for anxiety, too. Glaucoma, a chronic condition requiring constant attention, often leads to anxiety. A report show that CBD can reduce anxiety.
Final Hit: How Does Medical Marijuana Help Glaucoma Patients?
As with many conditions potentially treated with medical marijuana, glaucoma research is inconclusive. When asking, how does medical marijuana help glaucoma patients, one must reckon with marijuana’s relatively long history as an additional treatment for glaucoma, and the potential danger of reducing blood pressure.
Whether or not you choose to treat glaucoma with the help of medical marijuana to reduce anxiety, nausea or the disease’s progression, talk to a medical professional and do your research before choosing a strain.