420 FILE - Attitudes towards cannabis have certainly softened in recent years, along with cannabis laws. This is partly due to the fact that recent studies have revealed the vast range of medicinal benefits of cannabis and its components, but can cannabis use have positive or negative effects on eye health? This guide will debunk a few common myths on this topic.
What Is CBD and its Health Benefits?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid, a natural compound found within the cannabis plant matter. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, but CBD is one of the best-known and most-research examples, famed for its therapeutic benefits and medicinal abilities to soothe pain, ease inflammation, and reduce stress by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
CBD for Eye Health
As the legality of cannabis continues to expand and a multitude of reputable cannabis dispensaries become readily available, the widespread acceptance of cannabis use for medicinal purposes has become commonplace. Amid this trend, questions often arise about whether the well-documented benefits of CBD for conditions such as chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and inflammation can also extend to promoting better eye health. However, it's essential to note that while CBD can be effective in mitigating inflammation associated with specific ailments, it is typically not the most suitable choice for enhancing overall eye health or treating glaucoma.
Common Myths About Cannabis and Eye Health
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions floating around regarding cannabis and eye health. It’s important to avoid believing these myths and inadvertently making a poor choice for your own health in the future. In this section, we’ll highlight some of the most common myths and explain why they’re false and shouldn’t be trusted.
Cannabis Improves Vision
One of the most common myths going around is that cannabis somehow improves visual ability, letting people see more clearly or in greater detail. It’s likely that this myth originated due to the fact that cannabis users can have a slightly altered mental state, which may lead them to see things differently and give the impression that their vision has improved.
In reality, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that cannabis can enhance visual ability in any way.
Cannabis Cures Glaucoma
It would be wonderful if cannabis could cure glaucoma, one of the most common eye conditions affecting many people all over the world. Unfortunately, even though cannabis can help with a lot of different health conditions, it isn’t much use in treating this one.
This myth most likely originated when certain studies came out to show that THC could ease the intraocular pressure in the eye, which could have beneficial effects for glaucoma patients. However, a slight easing of pressure is not a cure, and studies also show that the effect is only temporarily, providing mild, short-lived relief, at best.
Cannabis Prevents Macular Degeneration
Another myth suggests that cannabis can stop macular degeneration, which is the gradual, age-related weakening and breakdown of part of the eye. This myth may have originated due to the fact that recent years have revealed many possible health and therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant.
Unfortunately, macular degeneration is an age-related process and cannabis cannot simply stop or prevent it. Some studies suggest that it could help to slow the process a little, but much more research will be needed before any proper conclusions can be drawn.
Actual Effects of Cannabis on Eye Health
So, if cannabis and CBD can’t cure glaucoma or make you see better, what impact does it actually have on the eyes? Well, as stated earlier on, studies and research are still ongoing on this subject, but here's what we know so far about the usage of cannabis and its impact on the eyes:
Impact on Intraocular Pressure: Medical studies have found that CBD in marijuana can actually raise intraocular pressure, which is why it's certainly not a good choice for use in patients with glaucoma, who already have high pressure levels. However, other cannabinoids, like THC, may help to reduce the pressure instead.
Dry Eyes and Redness: It’s a common stereotype that those who smoke and use cannabis can have red or bloodshot eyes. But there is some truth to that stereotype. Indeed, using cannabis can often leave a person with drier eyes and distinct redness. This is due to THC lowering the blood pressure and dilating the vessels of the eye.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Eye Health: Despite the downsides, there is potential for cannabis to provide genuine benefits for eye health. Some studies have shown that CBD’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, for instance, may be of use in treating certain conditions. Consultation with a medical marijuana doctor can provide personalized guidance on using cannabis for specific eye health issues.
It’s easy for myths and misconceptions to spread, especially on a subject like cannabis, which we’re studying and learning more about all the time. But, as this guide shows, the research so far reveals that cannabis is currently not the best option for treating eye issues like glaucoma, but may have interesting potential for future medical applications.