Home Cannabis How Medical Marijuana Relieves Glaucoma's Intraocular Pressure

How Medical Marijuana Relieves Glaucoma’s Intraocular Pressure

We can stop making jokes about the elderly smoking cannabis to get high, when in fact, they might be really trying to relieve symptoms of glaucoma. The disease affects women and Asians at a higher rate, causing blindness because of retina and optic nerve deterioration caused by Intraocular Pressure (IOP) of the eye.

There have been hundreds of pieces of anecdotal evidence citing cannabis’ power to treat glaucoma, but the truth is in the science. Studies have been conducted since the early ’70s and they all seem to point to cannabis as an effective source of alleviating glaucoma symptoms.

A 1971 study called Marihuana Smoking and Intraocular Pressure concluded that cannabis is a good addition for treatment where other medications fall short. The study reported that cannabis users suffering from glaucoma saw their IOP drop by 25-30 percent. Although relief only lasted for about four hours, it is safe to say that the cannabis was effective.

In another study from 1975, researchers noted that cannabis users who smoked a significant amount of cannabis with THC (the chemical responsible for the high), saw a reduction in IOP as well, although they didn’t note patients experienced levels of psychoactive effects.

At the start of millennium, scientists observed the effects of synthetic forms of cannabis on reducing pressure. They administered HU-211, a synthetic non-psychoactive form of cannabinoid to one of eye rabbits and noted that the synthetic was able to decrease intraocular pressure. The drug took about 90 minutes to kick and relief lasted for more than six hours.

In another study from 1975, researchers noted that cannabis users who smoked a significant amount of cannabis with THC (the chemical responsible for the high), saw a reduction in IOP as well, although they didn’t note patients experienced levels of psychoactive effects.

Most recently, a study from this year concluded what cannabis users have always seemed to know, “Marijuana is an effective ocular hypotensive agent.” In other words, cannabis has the power to lower blood pressure in the eyes, which should come as a huge relief to the 200,000 people seeking treatment.

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