This Is Why Medical Marijuana Is Used To Treat Glaucoma

Eye health is important, though it is often overlooked compared to the health of other systems in the body. Eye issues can be related to diabetes, obesity, and genetically inherited issues, according to the National Eye Institute. Some can be avoided through routine eye exams and properly applied corrective lenses. Others, however, are unavoidable. One such condition is glaucoma, an eye condition with an unknown cause (via National Eye Institute). Hispanic and Latino people over 60, African Americans over the age of 40, and anyone with a family history are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. However, the condition can affect anyone, leading to varying degrees of vision loss or blindness.

The disease has no early symptoms and is usually caught during a normal eye exam. Glaucoma results in increased pressure inside the eye and causes damage to the optic nerve. Ophthalmologists can see this damage during dilated eye exams. Such exams are a little more comprehensive than the standard eye exam, but they can help identify glaucoma before the condition becomes more severe. The sooner the condition is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Treatment that, according to some, should include the use of medical marijuana.

Exploring marijuana as a form of treatment

Medical marijuana has a multitude of uses, according to the Harvard Medical School. It is especially useful for pain control, as it is a safer alternative to opioids. Medical marijuana is also used as a muscle relaxer and can increase appetite in people whose medical treatments reduce their desire to eat. When it comes to glaucoma, some people cite marijuana's ability to reduce inner eye pressure. While it is true that marijuana can reduce pressure, most glaucoma and eye health experts are not sure that it's the right form of treatment.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology points out that getting an exact dose from cannabis can be difficult when the compounds have not been extracted into a regulated form. Patients would have to smoke throughout the entire day to ensure they are receiving enough medicinal content to regulate their eye pressure. This would result in other side effects that would affect their personal and professional lives in ways other glaucoma medications do not.

Researchers are currently looking into other ways marijuana can be used for its pressure-reducing benefits. The Glaucoma Research Foundation states that current research includes the creation of eye drops, though no viable formula has been developed as of yet. Future generations may find great glaucoma treatment benefits in medical marijuana. For now, however, it is not as useful as more mainstream medications, despite its popularity in certain holistic circles.