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Glaucoma and Weed – All You Need To Know

by in Medical Marijuana March 29, 2022

Several studies suggest that medical marijuana may have a place in treating glaucoma. With this information also comes a lot of questions. Can weed help glaucoma sufferers? How do glaucoma and weed interact? Can THC help deal with the pain that comes with glaucoma? How does one go about treatment? In this blog, we will be answering all of these questions and more.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a progressive condition where the optic nerve is damaged usually as a result of increased pressure inside the eye known as intraocular pressure. As glaucoma worsens, this pressure can result in vision loss and blindness.

In a healthy eye, fluid inside the eye flows out through a sort of mesh-like structure. However, sometimes this mesh can be obstructed causing the fluid to overflow or build up over time. A lot of times fluid buildup in the eye can be hereditary and is seen as the principal cause of glaucoma. Eye injuries including blunt force trauma, a chemical injury, eye infection, and blocked blood vessels may also cause glaucoma. The buildup of fluid can also result in painful inflammation which is one of the symptoms that can benefit from treatment with weed.

Glaucoma Symptoms

Glaucoma may not manifest any early symptoms or pain, so it is best to routinely schedule eye checkups with your doctor. These regular visits allow your doctor to identify the early signs of glaucoma and treat them before they result in long-term vision loss. 

Glaucoma is generally classified into two types:

  • Open-angle glaucoma: This is the most common type and is when the eye’s draining seems fine, but the fluid still doesn’t flow normally.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma: This is seen more in Asia and is a result of the space between the iris and cornea being too narrow.

Other types of glaucoma exist but they are not as common and are usually tied to other issues like cataracts or diabetes.

The hardest part of diagnosing glaucoma is the fact that symptoms are usually only felt after having the condition for a number of years. These symptoms include seeing halos around lights, vision loss, redness, hazy eyes, stomach illness, and eye pain. Once detected, glaucoma can be treated in many ways including medicine, laser treatments, and surgeries.

There are several risk factors that may make it more likely for someone to develop glaucoma:

  • African American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit, or Scandinavian descent
  • Being over 40
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Nearsightedness or Farsightedness
  • Diabetes
  • A history of eye trauma

However, weed has started to become increasingly popular as a treatment for glaucoma since the two can interact in positive ways to alleviate some of the symptoms.

Close up of a blue eye

How Does Marijuana Help Glaucoma?

Using weed to treat glaucoma is actually quite common, even during the early days when medical cannabis was first becoming legalized in the United States. Many people quickly accepted that glaucoma was a condition that could benefit greatly from treatment with weed.

The reason for the effectiveness of medical marijuana lies in the endocannabinoid system of our bodies, which absorbs chemicals known as cannabinoids and includes THC and CBD. These are the two main chemicals found in marijuana. When these chemicals are ingested, they bind to the cells in our body and produce a host of different effects. Medical marijuana has been known to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain across various medical conditions. When it comes to accessing the effectiveness of weed on glaucoma symptoms, these treatments can work on multiple levels.

One report, published in 2000, revealed that cannabinoids such as THC can reduce pressure in the eyes of glaucoma patients. They also found that the method of administration does not really matter but isolated cannabinoids work best. THC and CBD products are now common supplements for pain management with several studies backing up the beneficial relationship between weed and glaucoma patients.

Despite this, questions on the effectiveness of weed as a glaucoma treatment do still exist. Current issues include the short duration of efficacy and the mood-altering side effects of marijuana. These questions largely revolve around the idea of marijuana as a primary treatment of glaucoma rather than a supplemental treatment. However, further research and newer studies may be able to answer these concerns and provide better insights into the benefits of weed and glaucoma. Although treatment with weed can’t be a substitute for professional medical care, it should be accepted as a supplementary solution for pain and inflammation associated with glaucoma.

Get Access to Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma 

Since glaucoma is considered one of the 18 qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state of Arkansas, your diagnosis can get you access to weed for treatment.

Contact Ozark MMJ Cards today through our convenient telehealth visits to learn more about glaucoma and weed or get a medical marijuana certificate.

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