Studies conducted starting around 1970 indicate that medical marijuana is assisting more people in coping with and managing their glaucoma symptoms. Today, glaucoma patients can use medicinal marijuana to treat their intraocular pressure, which can cause lifelong damage to their eyes.
Due to the increased interest in marijuana, more researchers are motivated to look into the advantages of medicinal marijuana and how it might aid glaucoma patients.
What is Glaucoma?
A disorder known as glaucoma causes the optic nerve to be permanently damaged by raising intraocular pressure as a result of fluid accumulation. If left untreated, this abnormal pressure on the eye can interfere with the optical nerve fibers’ ability to communicate with the brain, damage vision, or possibly result in blindness. Blind spots, tunnel vision, headaches, excruciating eye pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and halos are a few of the signs and symptoms of glaucoma.
Through numerous research, medical marijuana has been demonstrated to reduce the signs and symptoms of glaucoma. Concerns remain regarding the reliability and consistency of the effects on patients. But medical marijuana has been shown to benefit glaucoma sufferers beneficially.
Science Behind Marijuanaâs Impact on Glaucoma
While some research in the 1970s and 1980s suggested marijuana could lower intraocular pressure, the major connection between the drug and the treatment of glaucoma emerged as a result of a significant legal case involving medical marijuana in 1974.
Robert Randall, a 26-year-old man with poorly managed glaucoma and high intraocular pressure (rare for his age), stated that smoking marijuana helped his eye condition’s symptom of seeing halos around lights. To have access to medicine that seemed to work for him, he started growing marijuana. He was charged with federal offenses for cultivating the prohibited plant, but he was able to convince the federal magistrate that he needed marijuana for medical purposes.
In 1996, California became the first state to make marijuana of any kind legal. One of the potential conditions that medical marijuana could aid in treating is glaucoma.
How Medical Marijuana Can Relieve Eye Pressure?
An obstruction in the aqueous humor’s flow leads to an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP). The fluid that retains the eye’s proper shape is called aqueous humor. This fluid typically moves back and forth between the front of the lens and the rear of the cornea. People with considerably elevated IOP experience restricted flow of aqueous humor from the eye’s inner chamber, which results in pressure buildup. Research has provided evidence to support the theory that this reduces the supply of nutrients to the visual nerve. IOP is thus currently the primary risk factor for glaucoma.
IOP reduction through medical marijuana is now a thing. Hepler and Frank’s study from 1971 showed that when marijuana was delivered systemically for three to four hours, IOP in patients was lowered by 25 to 30 percent. Since then, various cannabinoids, cannabigerol, and synthetic cannabinoids have demonstrated the same benefits in additional trials.
Due to the lack of studies on this condition, the precise mechanism of these cannabinoids in the eye is still not entirely understood. Contrarily, topical cannabis treatments are helpful for glaucoma. A 1981 study found that a topical application of a light mineral laced with THC dramatically lowered IOP in glaucoma patients.
In addition, there is evidence that the synthetic, non-psychoactive cannabinoid known as HU-211 can lower IOP with effects that continue for up to 6 hours as opposed to the typical 3 to 4 of normal cannabis. HU-211 inhibits NMDA receptors, which lessens IOP pain, however, it does not stimulate, cannabinoid receptors. Another benefit of some synthetic marijuana is that it has fewer euphoric side effects and can be used to treat glaucoma.
Medical Marijuana Benefits For Glaucoma:
Cannabinoids may have neuroprotective effects. Animal studies suggest cannabis may improve blood flow to vital eye structures.
These findings show that treating the condition itself rather than just its symptoms could help reverse or even cure the condition.
The following are some additional benefits of medical marijuana for glaucoma:
- Less negative effects than with alternative therapies
- Decreased surgical intervention
- An approach to better pain control that individuals consider “natural”
In conclusion, medical marijuana can be quite effective in treating glaucoma symptoms such as persistent discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Patients must understand that, even though law pressure, it does not completely treat the disease because it cannot address the underlying causes.
To get a medical card for glaucoma, you can book an online appointment with us today.