Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) help glaucoma patients relieve their symptoms. Discover how CBD works to reduce the effects of this condition.
Eyes contain intraocular fluid, which maintains pressure and the eye’s shape. A healthy eye creates and drains this fluid in a way that keeps the amount consistent. Glaucoma affects intraocular fluid drainage and causes the fluid to build up. This extra fluid puts pressure on the optic nerve, the part of the eye that lets you see.
Most cases of glaucoma have a gradual development. Some patients don’t realize they have the condition until they experience sight loss. You may see patchy spots in your peripheral vision when the pressure damages your nerve. If you have severe and sudden symptoms like vomiting, seeing halos around lights or blurry vision, you may have angle-closure glaucoma that needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma treatment involves reducing the pressure put on the optic nerve. Maintaining eye pressure can prevent further damage to your sight. CBD and other cannabinoids lower eye pressure to protect your vision.
Cannabinoids have the capacity to heal our bodies thanks to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system includes cannabinoids and receptors that maintain our functions. The cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 attach to cannabinoids found in our bodies and the marijuana plant. When these compounds activate the receptors, the receptors regulate the surrounding tissue and nerves.
CB1 receptors appear throughout our nervous system, including our nerves and brain. These include the nerve cells associated with vision. The ganglion cells in your optic nerve have endocannabinoids and receptors that keep it healthy and protect it from damage. We can treat the eyes’ ECS components to benefit the eyes themselves.
CBD has a different purpose than most cannabinoids. Instead of attaching to receptors, it enhances the ECS’ function. One way it boosts your ECS is by increasing the amount of the endocannabinoid anandamide in your body. Anandamide impacts your mood, brain function, immune response and sensation. It also protects your eyes from glaucoma.
We know that anandamide acts as a part of your body’s defense system because your eyes create it to protect themselves. Aging and damaged eyes have higher amounts of anandamide than healthy eyes. This suggests that they produce extra anandamide to reduce the progression of damage.
Cannabinoids such as anandamide that activate the CB1 receptor provide a host of benefits to the eyes. They protect your optic nerve from toxicity and the lack of blood caused by glaucoma pressure. When you take CBD, it blocks FAAH, a fatty acid that breaks anandamide down. Blocking FAAH results in lower eye pressure and healthier optic nerve cells.
The following types of CBD medicine have the highest levels of effectiveness for glaucoma:
For the best results, we recommend asking a cannabis-friendly doctor about your options. They know your area’s laws and how CBD works with the body. You can find one of these medical professionals using our nationwide database.
Learn more about Glaucoma and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Glaucoma’s symptoms.