People often wonder about the effectiveness of medical marijuana for glaucoma. Medical marijuana has recently been given more attention as a possible treatment for glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. It damages your optic nerve and affects fluid flow within your eye, damaging your retina. As with many illnesses, there are several treatments available to help patients who suffer from glaucoma.
These treatments include prescription medication, laser treatment, or surgery. Each of these methods carries risks and side effects that may harm the patient’s health further if it does not treat their glaucoma adequately, which causes many doctors to search for alternative cures or treatments that will have fewer negative effects on their patients’ lives without diminishing the positive effect on their illness.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve in your eye slowly degenerates and vision becomes less sharp. It can cause blindness if not caught and treated early on.
There are two types of glaucoma: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma has no known causes, whereas secondary glaucoma is caused by an underlying disease or previous eye injury. Glaucoma affects over 60 million people worldwide and close to three million people in America alone suffer from this debilitating sickness.
What Causes Glaucoma?
There is always some pressure inside your eyes, just like there’s always pressure inside a balloon – even if you squeeze the balloon very tightly, there will still be some pressure inside of it. Eye doctors use this fact to explain how glaucoma occurs: When you have glaucoma, the pressure inside your eyes becomes too high for some reason. This causes damage to the optic nerve that can lead to vision loss or blindness.
Normally, a healthy eye produces a clear fluid called “aqueous humor” that flows within and around the lens at the front of your eye, where light enters. The ciliary body then produces another type of fluid called “vitreous humor.” That flow helps push nutrients to the retina to keep it nourished and working properly. It also pumps waste products away from the retina so they don’t build up to cause damage there.
Can Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma Work?
Medical marijuana for glaucoma may be a successful treatment option. However, two specific cannabinoids have been identified as helping to reduce intraocular pressure (the fluid pressure within the eye). One of those is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a major active ingredient in cannabis that has various medical effects on the human body by binding with cells called cannabinoid receptors. The other compound is Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the plant that interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain without causing psychoactive effects. In studies done on rats, both THC and CBD reduced intraocular pressure when introduced directly into the eyes. In addition, medical marijuana as medicine is a very useful treatment option for many conditions.
Cannabis for Glaucoma
Many studies have provided evidence that cannabis, or medical marijuana for glaucoma, can be an effective treatment option. One of the main active ingredients in cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This ingredient reacts with cannabinoid receptors within cells to relieve some of the effects of glaucoma on your body. These effects include alleviating pressure within your eye and increasing fluid drainage from your eyes through lowering intraocular pressure.
The most promising studies have also given evidence that medical marijuana may slow down the progression of blindness caused by glaucoma. The decrease in blindness is more significant if medical marijuana is introduced at its first signs rather than being used at a later state after there are already noticeable vision changes.
Medical marijuana is an effective treatment option for glaucoma. It may also help slow down the progression of blindness caused by the illness. Cannabis, or medical marijuana, is not a cure-all and there are still many questions about how it will work with other medications that have already proven successful in treating glaucoma; however, cannabis does offer hope as one possible solution to this debilitating disease. Contact Dr. Green Relief today to learn more.