Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma, which is often called the “sneak thief of vision” is recognized in many states nationwide as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. How can cannabis help those with glaucoma?

There are multiple types of glaucoma, which is generally caused by deterioration of the optic nerve, leading the fluid build-up in the front of the eye. The build-up is painless in the early stages of the disease, but leads to increased eye pressure. Over time, this increased eye pressure can lead to permanent nerve damage, vision loss, and blindness.

Due to the sudden appearance of glaucoma, it is important to get regular check ups from a specialist every 1 to 2 years. The symptoms of glaucoma do not start to appear until late in the disease and can be as drastic as a loss of peripheral vision. In the later stages of the disease, the pressure inside the eye can rise to serious levels and cause severe eye pain. Other symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, or the appearance of halos around light.

Medical marijuana has been an aide in treating glaucoma for several decades. Due to the synergistic effect of cannabis, medical marijuana can be used by someone with glaucoma for several different purposed. Perhaps most notably is the use of medical marijuana to decrease eye pressure. Although this effect does not have long last effects, patients have found relief using medical marijuana to decrease their intraocular pressure, IOP, by 25 to 30 percent. In addition, medical marijuana aided patiently greatly in the later stages of the disease. Marijuana can provide relief for patients from nausea, vomiting, pain, and headaches.

There is evidence to suggest that cannabis may have an even greater role to play in glaucoma treatment and research. Cannabinoids, such as CBG, have neuroprotective effects, thought to help prevent against the development of glaucoma. Further research is being done to evaluate the role of CBG and CBD as a topical eye solution to treat glaucoma.

When selecting medical marijuana products to treat your glaucoma, be sure to ask the medical professional or dispensary technician for their recommendation. Strains with high concentrations of CBD and CBG have been selected for their neuroprotective properties and high THC strains are good option for those looking for nausea and/or pain relief.