Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. Research found that the THC in marijuana was effective in relieving the symptoms of glaucoma, which includes nausea, eye redness, eye pain, and blurred vision.
Yet, the same cannot be said for CBD, as research suggests that it might increase eye pressure instead.
When medical marijuana was in its legal infancy, glaucoma was among the most common reasons for seeking a prescription. This is because research found that THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, was effective in relieving the symptoms of glaucoma.
CBD, a major non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is often used medicinally to help alleviate pain, lower anxiety levels, and even reduce the frequency and intensity of epileptic seizures. Does this mean it, like THC, can help reduce glaucoma? To answer those questions, we’ll examine what glaucoma is, the causes and symptoms, and what the science says about CBD and glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Simply put, glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. This nerve is essential to sight, as it’s responsible for transferring the visual information taken in through your eye to the brain. Typically, but not exclusively, glaucoma occurs when there is high pressure in the eye.
If caught early enough, glaucoma can be treated and result in little lasting damage. However, if left untreated, you should expect to experience vision loss up to and including blindness.
There are five common forms of glaucoma:
- Angle closure (acute)
- Normal tension
- Open angle (chronic)
The most common type of glaucoma is open angle glaucoma. Normal tension glaucoma is the only form that isn’t caused by increased pressure inside the eye.
What Are The Causes and Symptoms of Glaucoma?
When it comes to open angle glaucoma, the only symptom is gradual vision loss. Angle closure glaucoma, which comes on suddenly, and requires immediate medical attention, has several demonstrable symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Redness in the eye
- Severe eye pain
- Sudden visual disturbances, such as seeing colored rings or halos around lights
- Sudden onset of blurred vision
- Health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
- Previously diagnosed eye issues
- Use of corticosteroids
What About CBD And Glaucoma?
THC may help treat glaucoma, but CBD might have the opposite effect. Research conducted by Indiana University found that CBD increases the pressure inside the eye, at least in mice. Other studies have found that CBD not only increased pressure but also worked to inhibit THC from relieving ocular pressure. This means that CBD may make your glaucoma worse, as well as prevent other effective treatments, such as THC, from being effective.
If you’re seeking relief from your glaucoma, reach out to your doctor. They can refer you to an eye specialist who is best equipped to diagnose underlying conditions and provide effective treatment options.