- May 31, 2023
Fears that glaucoma patients sometimes live with are vision loss, pain, undergoing a surgical procedure, or losing a livelihood due to blindness. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of permanent blindness and it affects mainly older adults. It is a condition of the eyes where the intraocular pressure (IOP) inside the eyeball becomes elevated, resulting in progressive loss of vision. (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1869215)
Glaucoma is initially asymptomatic and later on can involve the optic nerve. It may present with complaints of eye pain, redness of the eyes, headaches, nausea, and vision problems. The condition largely affects the older population or individuals with a family history of glaucoma or severe myopia. Treatment involves medical, surgical, and laser options. (https://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article/213268)
Marijuana is another approach to treat glaucoma. Its predominant compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is behind this reduction of eye pressure. (https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/12/3978/htm)
Marijuana also works as a vasodilator that enhances the blood supply to the optic nerve and studies have shown it may prevent disease progression with minimal side effects. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0002939406009068
Approximately 65% of people with glaucoma have reported 30% decrease in eye pressure following marijuana use. This effect remains for 3-4 hours. (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/264203)
It may also work together with currently used glaucoma therapies.
I strongly advise that all glaucoma patients discuss utilization of medical marijuana with their ophthalmologists before and during use, and that they follow their advice closely. While medical marijuana may have some benefits, it still lacks further scientific testing to prove its effectiveness and to ascertain the exact dose.