Studies have shown that marijuana can lower Intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP can cause damage to the optic nerve, which can contribute to glaucoma and lead to loss of vision or blindness.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that cause damage the optic nerve, which is what carries visual information to the brain from the eye.
The most common form of the disease is open-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma, fluid passing through the anterior chamber drains too slowly and leads to increased intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure can damage the optic nerve and bring about vision loss or blindness. Having high blood pressure can increase this risk.
There are two types of glaucoma:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma: Blockage is caused by material shed by the inner eye, inflammation, or scarring from an injury or infection
- Angle-closure glaucoma: The iris is too close to the drainage angle and eventually grows over it
Glaucoma does not usually present until after the age of 60 but can be found in young patients and babies as well and is linked to hereditary factors.
While not caused by high eye pressure, it is an indicator of risk. Those who suffer from high eye pressure should have regular examinations to look for signs of glaucoma.
There is no way to restore vision that is lost due to glaucoma with methods today. Treatment can medication or surgery can keep patients from losing their vision due to glaucoma, which is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
Blind spots in their peripheral vision are often the first sign that individuals with open-angle glaucoma have the condition.
Patients with angle-closure glaucoma may have a sudden onset, with one or more of the following symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Redness in the eye
- Severe pain in the eye or forehead
This is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.
HOW MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELPS GLAUCOMA PATIENTS
Traditional glaucoma medications may have severe side effects, such as palpitations, tachycardia, and altered mental states. Medical marijuana may be used instead with positive results.
Use of cannabis has been shown to consistently lower IOP by approximately 25% in the majority (60-65%) patients, those with and without glaucoma.
Researchers do not have a consensus as to the source of marijuana’s IOP-lowering effect. While some believe it is because of the plant’s ability to lower blood pressure, others posit that the drug acts on cannabinoid receptors in the eye, decreasing fluid production (instead of directly altering pressure).
Before purchasing cannabis from a medical marijuana treatment center, Florida patients must first qualify for a medical marijuana certification; Mary J MD provides qualified patients with the state-required recommendation to complete this process.