Glaucoma is a major cause of irreversible blindness. Quietly, the disease affects more than 1 million people over 40 in Brazil alone. The chance of developing the pathology triples after 70 years of age. According to the Brazilian Society of Glaucoma, 53% of Brazilians are unaware of the devastating potential of vision glaucoma. Conventional treatment includes eye drops, pills and even surgery. But can cannabis treat glaucoma?
Studies indicate that yes, cannabis can treat glaucoma. The plant has shown that it is able to reduce intraocular pressure, responsible for causing intense pain in the eyes, headaches, redness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, a kind of pupil dilation and, in the worst case, permanent blindness.
However, the most common type of glaucoma usually has no symptoms other than vision loss, so it is considered a silent disease.
Regardless of the presence of symptoms, cannabis can be a treatment option.
A review published in the Brazilian Journal of Health Review points out that cannabis can treat glaucoma. According to the public, “cannabinoids, whether orally, topically applied to the eye or aspirated, reduce intraocular pressure and have the potential to become an option for the treatment of glaucoma.”
Despite the researchers pointing out the need for more studies and the particularities that involve the treatment with cannabis, “the majority of the studies carried out show that cannabinoids in general, natural or synthetic, reduce intraocular pressure for a short period.”
These effects on eye pressure were found in research in the 1970s and 1980s. An article published in Current Opinion Ophthamology states that “marijuana is an effective eye hypotensive agent”, but warns of an important detail.
The publication points out that “cardiovascular and neurological effects are observed at the same dose and can theoretically reduce the beneficial effect of reducing intraocular pressure by reducing ocular blood flow”, therefore, “the clinician should be aware of this diagnostic potential, prognosis and therapy.”
However, this observation does not rule out cannabis as an option to treat glaucoma.
In addition to reducing intraocular pressure, cannabis also offers important neuroprotective actions for the treatment of glaucoma.
Researchers warn of side effects with psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC, but recall CBD’s ability to help lower intraocular pressure without the unwanted effects.
Studies are promising and indicate that cannabis can treat glaucoma, however, anyone who wants to start cannabis therapy in this case should seek an experienced professional so that the treatment is followed up and reports of improvement and unwanted side effects are considered so that the physician or prescribing physician makes the necessary adjustments to the situation presented by the patient.
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