Are you feeling any symptoms like severe headache, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, halos around lights or eye redness? These are signs of Glaucoma.
If you are or know anyone experiencing this issue, you might ask, "What do I need to do? What are the possible means to escape this problem? Can CBD work for my Glaucoma?"
No it doesnt, but THC does.
We will go over all of these questions and more in this article, but before going into details, let's talk about what glaucoma is and how it was initially discovered.
Glaucoma is a commonly occurring eye condition, which often damages the optic nerve and, if not treated, may cause blindness. Affecting over 60 million people across the world, in the United States, more than three million Americans live with glaucoma.
Glaucoma is recognized as a leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Since 1980, surgical interventions and treatments have improved significantly, reducing the risk of blindness development to almost half. Even though procedures are developed, the number of effective medicines at the local level remains limited.
Medical marijuana is a universally recognized treatment for this condition, and an increasing number of people have turned to cannabis seeking to cure their disease. But should they do that?
Scientists have for years considered cannabis as a possible treatment of glaucoma. A 1971 study shows that cannabis can reduce intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
When patients smoked marijuana, they experienced an increase in heart rate, followed by a decrease in blood pressure and intraocular pressure. This is a promising result for glaucoma patients.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve, an essential component for good vision. This damage is often due to abnormally high pressure in your eyes.
While this can happen at any age, glaucoma seems more common in older people, as one of the significant causes of blindness in people over 60 years old.
The terrifying thing about glaucoma is how many cases show no warning signs, and the effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change of until after the condition develops.
Since the vision loss from glaucoma cannot be recovered, it is essential to have periodic eye exams, including eye pressure measurements, to diagnosis this condition early enough for treatment.
If glaucoma is discovered soon enough, vision-loss may be delayed or even prevented. If you suffer from this disease, you will need treatment for the rest of your life.
What Causes Glaucoma?
The back of your eyes continually creates a clear liquid called aqueous humor. As this liquid is produced, it fills the front of your eyes, and then leaves your eyes through channels in the cornea and iris.
If these channels are clogged or partially closed, the natural pressure in your eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP), may increase. As your IOP increases, the optic nerve may be damaged. As nerve damage progresses, you may lose vision.
We do not always know what increases pressure in the eyes. However, doctors believe that one or more of these factors can play an important role:
- Dilatation eye drops
- Blocked or restricted drainage to the eye.
- Drugs like corticosteroids
- Low or reduced blood flow to the optic nerve.
- High blood pressure
Treatment Options for Glaucoma
If you notice any acute glaucoma symptoms such as severe headaches, eye pain, or blurred vision, visit with an ophthalmologist to discuss it.
Your eye doctor will always know what the best treatments are for eye conditions.
This can help reduce eye pressure by improving the way the liquid (fluids) flows or reduces the amount of liquid it produces.
Eyedrop medications include:
- Prostaglandins: This includes latanoprost (Xalatan), travoprost (Travatan Z), tafluprost (Zioptan), bimatoprost (Lumigan) and latanoprostene bunod (Vyzulta).
- Beta-blockers: This Includes timolol (Betimol, Istalol, Timoptic) and betaxolol (Betoptic).
- Alpha-adrenergic agonists: Examples are apraclonidine (Iopidine) and brimonidine (Alphagan P, Qoliana).
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors: This include dorzolamide (Trusopt) and brinzolamide (Azopt).
- Rho-kinase inhibitor: This is available as netarsudil (Rhopressa) and is prescribed for once-a-day use.
- Miotic or cholinergic agents: An example of this is pilocarpine (Isopto Carpine).
NOTE: Some of the eye drops are absorbed into the bloodstream, and side-effects unrelated to the eyes may appear.
To reduce medication from absorbing into your bloodstream, close your eyes for one to two minutes after using the drops. You can also quickly press the eye, angled toward your nose to close your tear duct. Do this for one or two minutes and then clean the unused drops from your eyelid.
2. Oral medications
If eye drops do not reduce your eye pressure to a desired level, your doctor may prescribe an oral remedy, usually a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. Possible side effects include frequent urination, depression, tingling in the fingers and toes, upset stomach, and kidney stones.
Some alternative medical approaches for glaucoma may help your overall health, but none are touted an effective remedy for intraocular pressure related to glaucoma. Talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and risks to any solutions you may be considering.
- Herbal Remedies: Herbal supplements, such as bilberry extract, are often recommended, but more studies are needed to prove its efficacy. Do not rely entirely on herbal supplements over proven treatments.
- Relaxation Techniques: Stress may trigger a glaucoma attack resulting in acute angle-closure. If you are in danger of developing this disease, look for healthy ways to manage stress. Meditation and other techniques can help.
A recent animal study tested a CBD eyedrop in rats. They discovered that CBD actually raised pressure inside the eyes by 18% for at least four hours after the drops were instilled.
This is bad news for those of us who a proponents of CBD for many conditions. Don't fret too much though. THC appears to have the opposite effect for glaucoma.
Among the many health benefits of cannabis, patients and researchers have found that intraocular pressure may be reduced by using THC-heavy cannabis for glaucoma symptoms. Some patients with glaucoma have turned to medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms and control the disease.
When considering using CBD for medical purposes, it is vital to examine the reasons why many health professionals still do not recommend CBD for glaucoma treatment.
Also, you need to understand why content on the internet suggests you use CBD for this condition.
The reason why the internet pushes CBD for everything is because most websites on the internet want to sell you their brand of CBD. That is all.
For this reason, I recommend talking to your doctor about your specific condition to determine if CBD is right for you, but it is our opinion to not recommend CBD for intraocular pressure.
How Cannabis Can Treat Glaucoma Symptoms
Studies continue, and researchers are testing several strains and cannabis compounds. They have found cannabinoid receptors in the eye that respond to the local administration of THC.
Visible signs of glaucoma depend on the type and stage of your illness. For example:
1. Open-angle glaucoma
- Blind spots on the side (peripheral) or central sight, often in both eyes
- The vision of the tunnel in the advanced stage.
2. Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Severe headaches
- Pain in the eye
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around the lights
- Redness of the eyes
They have also found that these receptors help control intraocular pressure as they are responsible for regulating eye-fluid levels. It remains to be seen what this means for treatment, but this discovery highlights the potential for cannabis as a treatment for glaucoma
With the ongoing research of CBD for glaucoma, it is necessary to be updated on the latest findings. Although cannabis for glaucoma seems promising, it is essential to read and understand how CBD helps to optimize systems in your body.
The takeaway here is that if you have glaucoma, animal research suggests you should NOT USE CBD for this condition as it may worsen.
We have many articles all about how your body interacts with cannabinoids on this site as we have a lot of resources for you to learn about CBD.
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Miller, S., Daily, L., Leishman, E., Bradshaw, H. and Straiker, A. (2018). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol Differentially Regulate Intraocular Pressure. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 59(15), p.5904.Mayoclinic.org. (2018). Glaucoma - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372846 [Accessed 12 Oct. 2019].