How Does Medical Marijuana Help Glaucoma?
What is Glaucoma?
According to the AAO, glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye's optic nerve when fluid builds up around the front part of the eye creating high pressure. One of the main types of glaucoma (link to glaucoma conditions page) is open-angle, which is the most common form and accounts for at least 90% of all glaucoma cases. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, there are 3 million Americans currently living with glaucoma, yet only 50% of these individuals are aware that they have this condition.
What are the symptoms of Glaucoma?
Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with this condition:
Halos around lights
Redness of the eyes
How Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Glaucoma?
Glaucoma occurs when the eye’s optic nerve becomes damaged in one way or another, usually due to intraocular pressure. A damaged optic nerve often results in partial or total blindness. Medical marijuana effectively reduces intraocular pressure, so it can be an effective treatment for alleviating the symptoms of glaucoma.
Marijuana is effective at reducing intraocular pressure for a short period of time (roughly 4 hours). There are now products that can provide all of the medicinal benefits of the drug without causing one to feel the associated ‘high’. These products make use of the compound found in marijuana known as CBD, which does not provide any psychoactive effects. So, without the “high”, medical marijuana can be used daily without interfering with your normal activities.
The effects of a single-dose of medical marijuana may be short-lived, yet this does not delegitimize marijuana’s effectiveness at improving quality of life for patients with glaucoma. Not only does medical marijuana provide a nearly instant reduction in intraocular pressure, but it can also provide relief from other symptoms of the disease including nausea, pain, and headaches.