Can CBD or THC Be Used to Treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition which affects the eyeball, and that can lead to blindness and damage to the optical nerve, especially if it is left untreated. In the USA, there are more than three million people who are living with glaucoma, and around the world, the total is closer to sixty million. The condition is known to be one of the leading causes of blindness today, and blindness that is caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed.
Since the 1980s, medicine has advanced, and there are new procedures and treatments that can reduce the risk of blindness by nearly 50 percent. However, there are still limits to the types of drugs that are available. In states where medical marijuana is offered, glaucoma is often on the list of medicines for which the condition can be provided, but is it worthwhile?
The existing glaucoma treatments have improved a lot, which gives rise to questions about whether the benefits of medical cannabis outweigh the side effects and the risks. The body’s endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in helping to fight disease, but is it worth using it in this instance? What are the other options, and what else cold CBD and THC help with?
What Is It That Causes Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is now thought of as a condition that is neurodegenerative, and it has links to other conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Around one in four Alzheimer’s patients have glaucoma, and glaucoma is considered to be a predictor of Alzheimer’s. It is still unclear exactly what causes Alzheimer’s to happen, though.
How do We Treat Glaucoma?
Intraocular Pressure is one of the things that marks the onset of glaucoma, and one of the primary treatments for glaucoma is to lower that pressure. This can help to prevent vision loss and blindness. Depending on the severity of the condition and the way it is progressing, treatments may involve eye drops or even surgery.
Cannabis as a Treatment
Cannabinoids have been found to have neuro-protective actions, and they ca reduce intraocular pressure as well. Ingesting cannabis can lower intraocular pressure by up to 30 percent.
So far, however, ophthalmologists are reluctant to recommend the use of medical marijuana in patients with early stage glaucoma because cannabis can lead to unstable intraocular pressure, which can lead to vision loss. The impact of marijuana is only short term, and glaucoma needs to be treated 24 hours a day. This means that to deal with the condition, a patient would need to be smoking every three or four hours, and taking in far higher levels than typically recommended for medical use. There are concerns that this kind of treatment could lead to a cannabis use disorder, and it could result in other side effects. While marijuana is thought to be safe, it has not been tested as well as other drugs, and there are some concerns already surfacing.