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Glaucoma and Cannabis Treatment

Glaucoma and Cannabis Treatment

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 02/20/2013 in Medical Marijuana Conditions

Glaucoma Treatment Options with Cannabis

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that lead to damage of the optic nerve. This nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. In most cases, damage to the optic nerve is due to increased pressure in the eye, also known as elevated intraocular pressure. Glaucoma is the one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, affecting more than 60 million people. There are four major types of glaucoma.

  • Open-angle (chronic) glaucoma
  • Angle-closure (acute) glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Secondary glaucoma

The most common form, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), is a slowly progressive disorder that destroys cells in the eye’s retina and degrades the optic nerve. These losses constrict the visual field, which eventually disappears, along with the patient’s sight.

What is the Cause of Glaucoma

The front part of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called the aqueous humor. The aqueous humor is a transparent, gelatinous fluid made behind the iris that delivers nutrition, maintains intraocular pressure, inflates the globe of the eye and provides increased protection from dust and pathogens.

Normally this clear fluid, the aqueous humor, circulates between the front of the lens and the back of the cornea. In people with elevated intraocular pressure the outflow of fluid from the anterior chamber of the eye becomes restricted, causing pressure to build up like water behind a dam. Increased pressure in the eye contributes to glaucoma by decreasing the flow of nutrients to the optic nerve.

Glaucoma and Treatment with Medical Cannabis: Are there Benefits?

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Open-Angle Glaucoma

  • Most people have no symptoms
  • Once vision loss occurs, the damage is already severe
  • There is a slow loss of peripheral vision
  • Advanced glaucoma can lead to blindness

Angle- Closure Glaucoma

  • Symptoms are sporadic at first but steadily become worse
  • Sudden, server pain in one eye
  • Decreased or cloudy vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Halo lights
  • Red Eye
  • Eyes feel swollen

Acute angle-closure attack is a medical emergency. Blindness will occur in a few days if it is not treated. Please seek medical advice if you experience this.

Treatment of Glaucoma with Medical Cannabis

The goal of treatment is to reduce eye pressure. Several clinical studies have found that cannabinoids in marijuana reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) as well as do most conventional glaucoma medications. This is true whether the cannabinoids are administered orally, intravenously, or by inhalation but not when they are applied directly to the eye. Smoked or eaten cannabis, THC and cannabinoids have been shown to reduce IOP significantly in both glaucoma patients and healthy adults with normal IOP. In most trials a single dose of marijuana or cannabinoid maintained this effect for three to four hours.

There is no question that marijuana-based medicines can be used to lower IOP. But like several other glaucoma medications that have fallen into disuse, their drawbacks may outweigh their benefits. Medical cannabis reduces blood pressure and produces psychological effects that some people, particularly the elderly may find intolerable. Several patients in these studies also reported that their hearts pounded or raced and that they felt uncomfortably anxious after taking cannabinoids. All of these effects could prove especially problematic for people at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke; moreover, reduced blood pressure could decrease blood flow to the optic nerve, counteracting the benefits of reducing IOP. In the end, it is best to consult with a licensed medical physician regarding your ailments.


  • Medical Cannabis
  • Laser Therapy (Iridotomy)
  • Eye drops
  • Medicines to lower eye pressure

We, at are not medical experts. We intend only to complement and not replace or contradict any health or medical advice provided by health care professionals.

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