Medical Marijuana & Glaucoma: Can it be used?

What are the benefits of using medical marijuana for glaucoma? Before we dive in, let’s understand what Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma fundamentally are.

Glaucoma is a severe eye condition that increases the pressure within the nerves near your eye that can decrease peripheral vision and, if left untreated, can result in complete blindness. 

Medical Marijuana, a part of the Cannabis Sativa plant, is used to relieve serious and chronic symptoms and used medically in over 30 states at the time of this writing.

Now that we are familiar with our topic’s two main subjects, let’s dissect whether medical marijuana can benefit patients with glaucoma.

Medical marijuana for glaucoma, is it effective?

Can Medical Marijuana Help?

The doctors’ prescribed official cure for glaucoma is proper medication, eye drops, and surgery, which control glaucoma and keep the IOP levels low. IOP stands for intraocular pressure.

In the 1970s, research was conducted, concluding that medical marijuana helps lower the IOP of patients diagnosed with glaucoma. 

THC Reduces IOP

These unusual findings forced the National Eye Institute to fund research that examined whether or not medical marijuana could help patients suffering from glaucoma. 

The active ingredient found in marijuana, THC, was found to reduce IOP as much as 60% to 65% This means that medical marijuana helps in the treatment of glaucoma symptoms.  Good news, right? Well, sort of.

Since Glaucoma is a chronic condition however, this brings up the question, “Is medical marijuana able to reduce the continuous pressure around the clock without any adverse side effects?”

medical marijuana and glaucoma

Limitations of Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma

As mentioned before, it was discovered that marijuana, when smoked, taken in the form of a pill or injected, does lower the IOP levels. The problem for patients suffering from glaucoma, however, is that IOP is only reduced for 3-4 hours when using medical marijuana. 

Treatment for glaucoma needs to be carried out 24 hours a day, which means that a person would need to smoke at least seven times a day to be effective. Any individual smoking this extreme amount daily would be inefficient to drive, work and function well in their daily lives. 

So, does medical marijuana relieve glaucoma symptoms? Yes. Is medical marijuana the most efficient treatment? No.

medical marijuana and glaucoma benefits

A Noted Side Effect

Furthermore, the consumption of medical marijuana for glaucoma carries one other well-documented side-effect.  Medical Marijuana can decrease the user’s blood pressure that can reduce the blood flow to an optic nerve facing low blood levels already. Those who are seeking medical marijuana to lower blood pressure can safely use it, but patients suffering from glaucoma will notice that this effect cancels out the low IOP level benefit that using marijuana provides.  

Many professionals have stated that although the consumption of this drug can decrease the pressure in the optic nerves, the short duration, toppled with the negative side-effects, make it an ineffective long term form of treatment for glaucoma. 

So, if you or someone you know is suffering from glaucoma, then we strongly recommend that they speak to a doctor and follow their treatment down to the letter. If your doctor approves for temporary relief with medical marijuana, you can book a medical card appointment with one of our state licensed doctors.

The conclusion…

Medical Marijuana may provide a temporary relief for patients with glaucoma but the long term efficacy for using it as a medicine 24 hours a day may not be realistic or better than the current medicine we have on the market. If you are looking for temporary relief this can be a good solution but it should not replace surgery, eye drops and other medicines that can work around the clock for your glaucoma.

Be aware that medical marijuana for glaucoma can also prompt adverse side effects that could make your glaucoma far worse if you use it too frequently instead of conventional medicine.

So, if you or someone you know is suffering from glaucoma, then we strongly recommend that they speak to a doctor and follow their treatment down to the letter. If your doctor approves for temporary relief with medical marijuana, you can book a medical card appointment with one of our state licensed doctors. Read also whether medical marijuana helps with thyroid disease.

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