How Does Weed Help With Glaucoma?

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best strains of weed for glaucoma
August 31, 2022
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How does weed help glaucoma? Doctors recommend cannabis to glaucoma patients, but do you know why? 

This disease involves a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve. An abnormally high inner eye pressure causes most of this nerve degeneration. It’s barely detectable in its early stages and leads to blindness over time.

The rise in the popularity of medical marijuana has resulted in many Americans substituting their traditional glaucoma therapies with cannabis. It’s more important than ever to know if marijuana eases the effects of this disease. 

Keep reading to learn more about this disorder. We’ll also tell you some popular strains among patients and how using weed for glaucoma treatment works.

Cannabis and glaucoma

More than 3 million US citizens are currently dealing with glaucoma. It’s one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, with about 80 million people diagnosed globally. 

This eye disease is alarming because it often has no warning signs. Many notice glaucoma’s effects only once it’s in an advanced stage. Patients can’t recover any vision lost to this disorder.

Regular eye exams that include eye pressure measurement are crucial to detect glaucoma. Early diagnosis can prevent or slow eyesight deterioration. Should you be confirmed to have this disease, you’ll need to manage it for the rest of your life. 

Options for controlling the disorder include prescription medications, eye drops, laser treatment, or surgery. A combination of these methods is often required. 

Many sufferers seek alternatives when faced with the side effects and invasiveness these options bring. Since the early ‘70s, there’s been massive interest in using marijuana for glaucoma therapy. 

But how does weed help with glaucoma, exactly?

Cannabis and glaucoma

Does weed help with glaucoma?

In 1974, Robert Randall won a landmark court case that began the medical cannabis revolution. His lawsuit also piqued interest in the health benefits of marijuana

Randall was in the advanced stages of glaucoma, and doctors had told him he would be blind within five years. The treatments Randall was receiving were not working and caused blurry vision. 

One of the symptoms he had was seeing halos around lights. 

After smoking cannabis one night, Randall noticed the rings were gone. He soon realized marijuana was the only glaucoma therapy that helped his condition.

Randall began cultivating medicinal cannabis on his porch, but law enforcement soon discovered his garden. He faced criminal charges and a spate of legal battles. He successfully proved he needed marijuana as an essential medical therapy.

Through clinical experiments, Randall and his attorneys showed that cannabis reduced his eye pressure by 25–30%. 

More research on glaucoma and weed took place in 1975. During ten days of trials, doctors compared every available form of medication for treating the disease to marijuana. They found cannabis reduces eye pressure by about 35% in 60% of users

These results led to states establishing laws that allow patients with certain chronic conditions, like glaucoma, to use marijuana.

That study and court case settled the age-old question—how does weed help with glaucoma?—for most people.

How does weed help glaucoma?

When treating glaucoma, the main goal is to keep eye pressure within a safe range.

This reduction is achieved by improving fluid movement out of the eyes or decreasing fluid production. Lower eye pressure halts the damage to the optic nerve that causes vision loss.

Eye drops often have unpleasant side effects such as stinging, blurry vision, or rashes. These symptoms often lead to patients seeking alternative forms of therapy, like cannabis 

So, how does weed help glaucoma? Research shows marijuana temporarily lowers eye pressure for around 3–4 hours. Patients must use cannabis throughout the day to keep this pressure within a safe range.

This short-lived relief isn’t a practical option for those in the early stages. It’s crucial to constantly maintain a reduced pressure in the eyes to halt visual deterioration. Fluctuations resulting from dosing at incorrect intervals may cause serious damage to eyesight.

In late-stage glaucoma, weed use is encouraged to reduce symptoms. At this point, treatment focuses on easing discomfort rather than damage prevention. Cannabis also reportedly reduces the pain and nausea brought on by long-term vision impairment.

how does weed help with glaucoma

Best way to use marijuana for glaucoma

How you consume medical marijuana for glaucoma matters. Evidence has emerged showing ideal ways to use weed for glaucoma therapy and the cannabinoids that aid patients. 

Let’s look at three common methods for using cannabis and their effects on this eye disease.

Weed for glaucoma

Inhaling marijuana is a great way to consume the amount of THC needed to treat symptoms of glaucoma. As well as enjoying its benefits, you can enjoy the aroma and taste of the strain you’re using.

THC is the cannabinoid responsible for lowering the eye pressure of marijuana users. It’s thought to bind to receptors in the eyes that reduce fluid production while increasing liquid outflow.

When using weed for glaucoma therapy, some patients aren’t able to smoke as frequently as they’d like. The psychoactive effects of THC could also make activities such as driving difficult. 

Researchers have tried administering the cannabinoid in other ways to solve these issues. Eye drops were tested without much luck, as they can’t hold a high enough THC concentration to be effective.

CBD and glaucoma

While claimed as beneficial in a range of wellness issues, it’s not recommended to use CBD for glaucoma treatment. Research has found that this cannabinoid blocks the pressure-lowering properties of THC. 

CBD may also decrease blood pressure, reducing blood flow to the eye. Having less of this vital fluid in the optic nerve could lead to even more vision damage.

It’s best to avoid using any CBD products when trying to ease glaucoma discomforts with marijuana. 

Edibles for glaucoma

How does weed help glaucoma when taken in edible form? Patients who ingest their cannabis through gummies or lozenges experience the same reduction in eye pressure as smokers. Eating marijuana products is an alternative for those who don’t like the idea of inhaling. 

As you can’t be sure when the effects will kick in, learning how to dose yourself takes some time. Like smoking, using edibles for glaucoma treatment lowers the pressure in the eyes for around three hours.

Glaucoma and weed: 3 best strains of weed for glaucoma

If you’re going to treat this eye disorder with cannabis, you need a strain high in THC and low in CBD. 

It also doesn’t hurt to use a variety with fragrant smoke and delicious flavors to enjoy the experience that much more.

Here are the top three strains we recommend for trying to treat your glaucoma with marijuana. Grow a stash of the one you find most appealing to have constant access to its therapeutic potential.

best strains of weed for glaucoma

Skunky Jack feminized

Skunky Jack feminized packs THC levels of 23%, yet it isn’t overwhelming. This potent bud is uplifting and energizing but also leaves you feeling relaxed. Its sweet citrus flavor is hard to resist, with even first-time tokers left wanting more.

This cultivar grows into a beautiful plant that glistens with emerald-colored nugs. With a little cannabis growing knowledge, you’ll grow enormous yields of weed for your glaucoma therapy.

Shishkaberry Kush feminized

Shishkaberry Kush feminized contains THC levels of up to 24% that offer unrivaled relaxation. The medicinal marijuana community loves this strain for its benefits and taste. A sugary smell balances the sweet, fruity flavors.

Growing these seeds is hassle-free, with even beginners cultivating bountiful harvests of buds. Their natural resistance to pests makes them ideal for low-maintenance gardening.

Mango Crack feminized

Mango Crack feminized is a new hybrid strain offering a fantastic taste and 22% THC. Growing your marijuana for glaucoma treatment has never been more tantalizing. The sweet tropical fruit aroma gives rise to physical tranquility and a blanket of calm.

This cultivar is another easy-to-grow variety that produces high yields of top-quality buds. 

Marijuana: The glaucoma treatment of the future?

While research has shown that cannabis can lower eye pressure, there’s still a mountain of research to be done. 

Scientists are currently exploring manufacturing THC without its typical psychoactive characteristics. This medication would allow patients to benefit from the cannabinoid without experiencing mood-altering effects.

It’s also possible that marijuana has neuroprotective qualities that may shield the optic nerve from the harm associated with glaucoma. Further studies are needed to prove this benefit.

How does weed help glaucoma? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Take advantage of the benefit potential we already know about: Visit Homegrown Cannabis Co. to purchase seeds for a strain that could ease glaucoma symptoms today.