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How Does Cannabis Affect Your Eyes?

This news story was published on June 5, 2020.
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Cannabis has recently become an interesting area of research as scientists try to understand the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. But how does cannabis affect your eyes?

According to the World Health Organization, more than 2 billion people suffer from some form of eyesight problem. The sad truth about these grim estimates is that at least half of those visual impairment cases are entirely preventable. Any problems with your eyes that cause visual impairment are more likely to occur once you pass the age of 50.

The good news is that recent studies suggest a high possibility that cannabis could be beneficial to the eyes. Undoubtedly, marijuana has some effects on the eyes. Externally, the first visible sign is redness of the eyes. This is a short-term effect that arises as a result of cannabis increasing your BP (blood pressure).

Effects of Cannabis on the Eyes

To understand the effect of cannabis on vision, the studies must take into consideration some recent discoveries about the endocannabinoid system (ECS).  Some researchers have concluded that, under low light conditions, cannabis increases the visual sensitivity of the retina.  However, this experiment was carried out on tadpoles and not on people.

Another possibility is that cannabinoids can increase visual contrast (one’s ability to pinpoint things from their backgrounds).  Even though this research was done on animals, insights from the study raised the possibility that night workers may benefit from the implications of that study. People who have difficulties with differentiating things of the same color or brightness, may also benefit.

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Treating Glaucoma

To some degree, cannabis may also offer treatment options to people suffering from glaucoma. This is a visual disorder that is defined as a characteristic optic neuropathy. In other terms, the intraocular pressure is way too high.

When left untreated, it can damage the optic disc of the eye and result in field loss due to a lack of communication between the retina and the brain. Eventually, this can make a person blind. Traditionally, glaucoma is treated by using eye drops to normalize the intraocular pressure.

But can cannabis offer help in terms of glaucoma treatment? Well, it works just like an eye drop. Cannabis also normalizes intraocular pressure to give you good eyesight. THC in particular, can help reduce blood pressure. So, there’s no doubt that it can reduce intraocular pressure.

Let’s see how that’s possible. Cannabis will relax and dilate your blood vessels to boost blood flow. It works the same way inside the eye to normalize intraocular pressure.

Despite the good signs, eye doctors (ophthalmologists) have not officially endorsed cannabis for treating glaucoma. The reason is that the healing effects of cannabis on glaucoma patients only last a short time. Besides, they also mention the fact that some cannabinoids, including THC, often interfere with mental function.

In conclusion, research studies have shown that there is a good chance cannabis can be used to manage eye disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts. That said, specialists are yet to fully buy into this idea because of the psychoactive effects of cannabis and its other negative effects on the body.

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