“Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which result in damage to the optic nerve and vision.” (Wikipedia: Glaucoma). Pressure in the eye, migraines, high blood pressure and obesity are all risk factors for glaucoma. Though optic damage through high eye pressure is most common, there is also normal-tension glaucoma, which occurs even within a normal range of eye pressure. Glaucoma is the second most common reason for sight loss worldwide after cataracts, and it mainly affects older people.
Glaucoma was one of the first conditions cannabis was deemed therapeutic for, as it helps decrease intraocular eye pressure. Nowadays, it is arguable that there are more effective and longer-lasting medications out there for glaucoma (e.g. Latanoprost/Xalatan, Timolol/Timoptic), but these aren’t without their problems. First, not everyone can handle these medications; second, they have many side-effects, like joint/muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, blurred vision, depression and impotence.
Cannabis may also be a neuroprotective, meaning that it could help protect against retinal neurotoxicity as well.
- Helps lower eye pressure
- Fewer side-effects than other medications
- Can help treat the side-effects of other medications, as well as the pain of both the medications and glaucoma
- May lower retinal neurotoxicity
- Cannabis may not prove effective for all glaucoma sufferers
- Smoke can cause irritation to the eye
- Not as long-lasting as other medications – usually around 2 – 4 hours