How Does Cannabis Aid In Treatment Of Glaucoma?
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. In addition, it is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Glaucoma can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
ARE THERE ANY WARNING SIGNS TO GLAUCOMA?
Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage. Because vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered, it’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure so a diagnosis can be made in its early stages and treated appropriately. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you’ll generally need treatment for the rest of your life. 
HOW IS GLAUCOMA CAUSED?
It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. 
What Are The Different Types of Glaucoma?
There are two main types of glaucoma — primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma, also known as narrow-angle or closed-angle glaucoma.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. The condition comes on gradually. Your eye won’t drain fluid as well as it should. Eye pressure then builds and begins to damage your optic nerve. You won’t feel any pain or notice any vision changes in the early stages.
Some people have optic nerves that are more sensitive to pressure, which heightens your risk of developing glaucoma. Regular eye exams are essential so your doctor can identify and treat your condition early.
Angle-closure glaucoma develops when the drainage angle in your eye is particularly close to your iris. It is so close, in fact, that your iris can block the drainage angle, resulting in a rapid rise in eye pressure. When this happens, it’s known as an acute attack, and it is an emergency situation. You could go blind if you don’t contact an ophthalmologist immediately.
Some, but not all, people with this type of glaucoma develop the condition very slowly. There will be no damage at all in the beginning. You won’t know you have the condition until you have an attack or your damage becomes severe. You can go blind if you don’t get treatment immediately for acute attacks that elevate your eye pressure levels dangerously.
The majority of other types of glaucoma are variations of the above types. Any of these conditions can affect one or both your eyes. These include:
- Congenital glaucoma, or childhood glaucoma
- Neovascular glaucoma
- Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome
- Neovascular glaucoma
- Traumatic glaucoma
- Pseudoexfoliative glaucoma
- Secondary glaucoma
- Pigmentary glaucoma
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve. As this nerve gradually deteriorates, blind spots develop in your visual field. For reasons that doctors don’t fully understand, this nerve damage is usually related to increased pressure in the eye.
Elevated eye pressure is due to a buildup of a fluid (aqueous humor) that flows throughout the inside of your eye. This internal fluid normally drains out through a tissue called the trabecular meshwork at the angle where the iris and cornea meet. When fluid is overproduced or the drainage system doesn’t work properly, the fluid can’t flow out at its normal rate and eye pressure increases.
Glaucoma tends to run in families. In some people, scientists have identified genes related to high eye pressure and optic nerve damage.
WHAT ARE SOME POSSIBLE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR GLAUCOMA?
Several clinical studies have found that cannabinoids or marijuana reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) as well as do most conventional glaucoma medications. This is true whether the cannabinoids are administered orally, intravenously, or by inhalation but not when they are applied directly to the eye.
Because the possibility exists that marijuana may be useful in treating glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology Committee on Drugs maintains a long-term clinical study is needed to test safety and effectiveness of marijuana. However, countless patients have found relief from glaucoma symptoms with cannabis, and many marijuana states have approved marijuana use for the treatment of glaucoma.
How Are Glaucoma Symptoms Treated by Medical Marijuana?
Cannabis can control IOP and is neuroprotective. It also has painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties that can go a long way toward relieving your symptoms. Some strains of medical pot also work against nausea and vomiting associated with a glaucoma attack.
Medical pot is a good alternative if you’ve tried conventional glaucoma treatments and feel you need something gentler, yet still effective at reducing your eye pressure. You’re more likely to find relief from your everyday symptoms without provoking any unwanted effects in the process, too. 
How to Get Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma
Your ability to access medical marijuana for glaucoma will vary considerably based on where you live. Not every U.S. state has an approved medical marijuana program and those that do have varying eligible conditions. Be sure to check with your state’s medical marijuana laws before pursuing a cannabis treatment plan for your glaucoma.
If medical marijuana is permitted for glaucoma patients in your region, you need to consult with a state-certified doctor who will determine your eligibility. They will provide you with a diagnosis and authorize your use. Once you enroll as a medical cannabis patient with the state, you will likely need to wait for your medical I.D. card in the mail. In many states, a medical I.D. card serves as verification of your authorization to purchase and use medicinal marijuana.
Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma
Smoking: This is the method that often offers the quickest relief from symptoms — a detail which is important for patients with glaucoma.
Vaporizing: Also called vaping, this is another inhalation method that brings you almost immediate relief. However, unlike smoking, it’s less likely to provoke throat discomfort or irritation. Bear in mind that you need to keep your vaping unit charged at all times. Also, the vaping kits can be expensive.
Edibles: Today, edibles are available in a variety of flavors and forms. Edibles take a little time to kick in but provide a longer and more lasting effect. Many people like to take these, as they are discreet. You can either make your own or purchase these ready-made.
Juices: You can blend fresh, raw pot leaves with some fruit juice. Taking a drink every four hours or so will keep your symptoms at bay.
Sprays: Sprays come in a variety of pleasant flavors and are also discreet to use.
Tinctures: Tinctures can be placed directly into your food and drinks, but can be expensive to buy.
Pills/Tablets: Pills and tablets allow users to ingest their necessary cannabis supply in a discrete and accessible way
Useful glaucoma strains based on what symptoms you want to relieve:
Glaucoma & Eye Pressure
Suffering from pressure behind the eyes can lead to optic nerve damage and even blindness. Thankfully, there are various cannabis strains that may be able to help relieve this. These include:
Blueberry MMJ Strain:
Blueberry is a potent indica hybrid. It’s best to use at night, as it can make you feel sluggish. Not only does this strain relieve eye pressure, but it also provides pain relief, helping you to get a good night’s sleep.
Maui Waui Cannabis Strain:
A commonly used and popular s It treats eye pressure, pain, anxiety and depression. You feel happy and uplifted when you take this strain.
Cherry Kola MMJ Strain:
A potent indica strain that treats eye pressure.
CBD and THC in cannabis can relieve nerve pain. They reduce brain inflammation and regulate pain signals in your body. The following strains have good levels of neuroprotective terpenes and should help with your pain:
An indica strain that’s filled with terpenes. It’s said to have almost narcotic effects and can also boost your brain.
Jack Herer Medical Marijuana:
a sativa-dominant hybrid. The strain is full of natural painkillers and reduces tissue inflammation and stress.
Sour Grape MMJ:
Sour Grape is a hybrid strain that works on many levels. It can be used to treat nausea, pain and eye pressure, too.
Are There Other Symptoms To Glaucoma?
Can Medical Marijuana alleviate Nausea and Vomiting symptoms?
Nausea and vomiting attacks can be debilitating when you have glaucoma. The following medical pot strains can alleviate these symptoms:
Durban Poison: Durban Poison is a sweet sativa strain. You get an energetic and uplifting experience and can feel quite upbeat and creative. Your symptoms of nausea and/or vomiting subside, and you can go about your day as usual.
Trinity: Trinity relieves depression and stops you feeling nauseated. You may feel drowsy after having a creative and focused initial effect from this sativa strain. Try it out and see how Trinity affects you.
Sour Diesel: Sour Diesel is an energizing sativa. It’s a good replacement for a morning coffee and will make you feel focused and positive.
Side Effects of Marijuana for Glaucoma
Certain drawbacks are associated with the use of (smoked) Cannabis to treat glaucoma
Cannabis has a short duration of action (only 3-4 hours), meaning that to lower the IOP around the clock it would have to be smoked every three hours;
- Cannabis’ mood-altering effects, almost exclusively via THC, would prevent the patient who is using it from driving, operating heavy machinery, and functioning at maximum mental capacity; and
- Marijuana cigarettes also contain hundreds of compounds that may damage the lungs. In addition, the deleterious effect of chronic, frequent use of Cannabis upon the brain is well established, as noted in K. Green’s 1998 publication “Marijuana smoking vs. cannabinoids for glaucoma therapy.”
- Cannabis administered systemically may cause long-term glaucoma damage
- Although Cannabis does lower the IOP temporarily, IOP lowering is only one consideration in slowing the optic nerve damage of glaucoma. For instance, there is a growing body of evidence that inadequate blood supply to the optic nerve may also contribute to glaucoma damage. Since THC given systemically is known to lower blood pressure, it is possible that such an effect could be harmful to the optic nerve in glaucoma, possibly reducing or eliminating whatever beneficial effect that would be conferred by lowering IOP. For this reason, Cannabis, or its components administered systemically, is not recommended without a long-term trial that evaluates the health of the optic nerve.