Some people are hoping that cannabidiol or CBD would offer a natural remedy for glaucoma. An eye condition where the optic nerve at the back of the eye is damaged is called glaucoma. The optic nerve is the nerve responsible for what we see because it transmits visual information to the brain. Unfortunately, the pressure inside the eye can increase which can damage the optic nerve and lead to permanent vision loss.
According to a new study, CBD raises eye pressure and does not lower it. Therefore, it is bad because the primary risk factor for glaucoma is high eye pressure. In the United States, glaucoma is known to be one of the leading causes of blindness. Researchers from Indiana tried using an eyedrop containing CBD and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol in rats. The researchers found that eye pressure increased by 18 percent four hours after the eyedrop containing CBD was instilled. While the eye drops with THC decreased eye pressure within eight hours by up to 30 percent.
The researchers noted the difference in how THC and CBD affected eye pressure in male and female rats. It was observed that males who received THC had a larger drop in eye pressure. The observation suggested that there are sex differences in how the compound takes effect on the brain. More research and caution are needed when using cannabis or marijuana products to treat conditions including glaucoma.
Why Is Marijuana Not Recommended to Lower Eye Pressure?
In 1971, it was reported that eye pressure can be lowered by smoking marijuana. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Glaucoma Society do not support its use because it has serious limitations and possible risks. Even though it is true that smoking marijuana may reduce the pressure inside the eye, it is considered a suboptimal treatment because 24-hour pressure control is required for people with glaucoma to prevent vision loss. It means you need to smoke eight to ten times a day.
Currently, there is not enough research to know the optimal dose for each patient and how it interacts with other medications. The side effects should also be considered because smoking marijuana affects overall health. It can make you palpitate, have a decreased blood pressure, and risk in developing lung cancer.
What Are the Treatments Available for Glaucoma Patients?
A company named Nemus Bioscience is working to develop a CBD-based therapy for glaucoma. Until the new therapy can show it consistently works and has minimal side effects, the standard treatment available is eye drops, laser surgery, and sometimes incisional surgery. It is recommended by ophthalmologists for patients to stick with their prescribed therapy and regularly visit to monitor their long-term care.