Marijuana, CBD and THC
The biggest fad of this century is marijuana, CBD and THC use. There are some health benefits to using these drugs and derivatives. So, the question is what are the effects on our eyes and can they help me see better. First and foremost, there is no drug out there that will help you miraculously see clearer and let you stop wearing glasses. There are treatments and surgeries for this, and I can get more into that later.
There are a few side effects that marijuana has on the eyes and it becomes more of a concern when a patient is diagnosed with glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that damages your optic nerve and eventually leads to peripheral vision loss (your side vision). It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. This is a disease that you may not notice at first because your brain will fill in the “missing” spots of your vision by using visual cues in the environment.
There is no cure for this disease, but optometrists can help slow down the amount of damage it can cause. Treatment of glaucoma involves lowering the pressure of your eye using topical medications such as latanoprost or timolol. There are multiple studies involving marijuana that have suggested that it can help lower the pressure of your eye while others have suggested otherwise.
Now, this does not mean you should go to your nearest optometrist and attempt to get a prescription for marijuana because let me tell you right now. That ain’t gonna happen.
Optometrists are not legally allowed to prescribe you marijuana because the ocular benefits have not been proven. The results are variable and unpredictable and there is no real way for us to monitor the condition and progression of the disease.
If you are planning to smoke marijuana, One hit would also do nothing to help decrease pressure. Depending on the dosage and potency, you would have to smoke every day and about 8 to 10 times a day to see any effects. Basically, you need to be a full-time stoner. Or a high functioning one that can hold down a full-time job at the same time.
The other problem is that with continued use, your heart rate will slow down and decrease your blood pressure. This is a good thing in some cases but with glaucoma its bad because we’re cutting down the amount of blood that reaches a damaged optic nerve. This doesn’t mean we won’t stop you from finding your own source and taking it. By all means, take a hit and relax because god knows we all need a break.
A word of caution to any self-diagnosing users. Recent studies have suggested that the use of CBD oil can actually increase the pressure in your eyes. This is the exact opposite of what we are trying to do. The higher the pressure is, the more damage there is to the optic nerve. Some studies have found that use of THC may help decrease pressures up to 30%. These results are not always consistent and need to be explored further. Bottom line is you should probably shouldn’t be using marijuana and its derivatives to treat ocular diseases because there hasn’t been any solid scientific evidence that supports its use. However, that does not mean you can’t use these substances! Just do so in moderation and caution.