Scientific evidence: Cannabis and Glaucoma

Over multiple decades, scientific research has proven that cannabinoids are effective at decreasing intraocular pressure (Nadolska & Gos, 2008) (Pinar-Sueiro, Rodriguez-Puertas & Vecino, 2011). In addition, the compounds found in cannabis feature neuroprotection and vasodilation properties, which further assist in the conservative treatment of glaucoma (Nadolska & Gos, 2008) (Nucci, et al., 2008). The cannabinoids found in cannabis, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), activate endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 (Pinar-Sueiro, Rodriguez-Puertas & Vecino, 2011). The endocannabinoid receptors located in the structures of the eyes are responsible for the formation and outflow of aqueous humor (Nadolska & Gos, 2008) (Nucci, et al., 2008). Smoking cannabis has demonstrated through numerous studies that it can be effective at lowering intraocular pressure. After inhaling THC, participants with open-angle glaucoma in one study had their blood and intra-ocular pressures decrease for three to four hours (Crawford & Merritt, 1979). Another study found that smoking marijuana lowered blood pressure, which led to a decrease in intra-ocular pressure within 60 to 90 minutes of inhalation (Merritt, et al., 1980). Yet another study found that glaucoma patients experienced a lowering of orthostatic blood pressure, but in just five minutes after smoking marijuana (Merritt, Cook & Davis, 1982).

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