Marijuana Works As a Treatment for Glaucoma, But…

Let’s get this out of the way.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinoid, the active compound in marijuana, reduces the production of fluid within the eye (known as the aqueous fluid).[1] The problem, however, is that it only works for a few hours during the time someone is “high”[2]. Among those people I know who enjoy the feeling of being “high I doubt any of them would want to spend every waking hour of their lives in that state of mind. Even if they did want such a thing it just wouldn’t be practical.

There is also the challenge of standardizing marijuana treatment. Different strains of marijuana vary in their concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinoid. Additionally, smoking a joint or taking a hit from a bong does not produce a “metered dose” or consistent amount of the active ingredient. Finally, smoking any plant-based material can destroy lung tissue and increase the risk of developing (and dying from) lung cancer.

So, does marijuana work to lower the IOP? Yes. Is it a practical treatment option? No.

  1. Porcella A, Maxia C, Gessa GL, Pani L. The human eye expresses high levels of CB1 cannabinoid receptor mRNA and protein. Eur J Neurosci 2000;12:1123-7.
  2. Flach AJ. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the treatment of end-stage open-angle glaucoma. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc 2002;100:215-22.
  3. Green K. Marijuana smoking vs cannabinoids for glaucoma therapy. Arch Ophthalmol 1998;116:1433-7.

Don’t delay getting checked for glaucoma.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area now.  If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and would like Dr. Richardson to evaluate your eyes for glaucoma call 626-289-7856 now. No referral required. Appointments are available, Tuesday through Saturday.

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